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Originally published on 9th May 2016 Last updated on 10th April 2019
Why may some thyroid patients need less thyroid medication in the warmer months?
It can be to do with our thyroid gland (as you probably guessed!), thyroid hormones, and how our metabolism works.
What Thyroid Hormones Are Used For
The main purpose of thyroid hormones, produced by the thyroid gland (or put in manually via thyroid medication), is to ensure that the metabolism is running properly. People with an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism (and often not optimally medicated for it) may have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism, such as feeling cold a lot of the time.
We need the correct amount of thyroid hormones in our bodies to burn calories in order to create heat and fuel, which is important, in particular for your body temperature and energy levels.
In The Warmer Months
In the warmer months, due to the body not needing to work as hard to keep us warm, we may not need as much thyroid hormone, and it is for this reason, that some thyroid patients find they actually need to lower their thyroid medication slightly in the summer or when they go on holiday to a warmer country, with the guidance of a doctor of course. I definitely do not suggest you do this on your own!
It’s often because of this that patients also often experience less hypothyroid symptoms in warmer climates.
In simple terms, our body needs less thyroid hormone (present in thyroid medication) to keep us feeling well when it is warmer, as the metabolism isn’t needing to work as hard to generate body heat and energy. Two things we often struggle with as hypothyroid patients!
Talk To Your Doctor
It’s definitely worth talking to your doctor about this if you notice that you feel particularly worse at a certain time of year, and think you could do with a slight medication dosage adjustment. You may also feel hyperthyroidism symptoms if you require a slight decrease of thyroid medication in warmer months.
Related Article: Signs Your Thyroid Medication May Need Adjusting
You should aim to have your thyroid levels (the full panel) tested twice a year if possible; once in the warmer months and once in the cooler months, so your doctor can adjust your dose as soon as possible. You don’t want to be over or under medicated.
If you’re still feeling cold in summer when everyone else is stripping off the layers, you definitely need a full thyroid panel doing ASAP to check all levels.
Have you experienced this? Let me know in the comments.
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Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate” and “You, Me and Hypothyroidism”.