Your thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ in your throat. It releases hormones that perform various functions, from regulating your metabolism to directing your heartbeat.
However, when something goes awry with this gland, you won’t always experience symptoms in your neck. Instead, you may manifest signs elsewhere in your body, even your behavior. Here are seven body pains that can be related to your thyroid.
Many people suffer the occasional headache. However, some people lose significant quality of life. Migraine disease is the sixth most disabling condition globally, affecting millions of people each year.
The problem for some may lie in the thyroid gland. Some doctors believe that thyroid disorders can promote the triggering of a migraine attack. They cause decreases in hormones tied to blood pressure and metabolism, affecting head pain conditions. Additionally, chronic pain produces an ongoing immune response, meaning the dynamic may work in reverse — frequent migraines could lead to thyroid problems.
2. Heart Trouble
Your thyroid influences many of your heart’s mechanisms, including pulse and blood pressure. An imbalance of hormones can increase your risk of several different types of ticker trouble:
- Shortness of breath: Both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can lead to shortness of breath upon exertion. You might find exercise more challenging than usual.
- Changes in heart rate: People with hyperthyroidism tend to develop high heart rates, whereas the hearts tend to beat too slowly in those with hypothyroidism.
- Heart arrhythmias: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is particularly common in those with hyperthyroidism. Your doctor should check for this condition if they can’t explain your AF through other factors. People with hypothyroidism can also develop this symptom.
- Heart failure: Both hypo and hyperthyroidism increase your risk of heart failure. While thyroid problems alone are unlikely to cause the condition, they can accelerate any underlying disease.
- Blood pressure problems: Those with hyperthyroidism tend to have a high systolic (top number) pressure. Those with hypothyroidism are more prone to diastolic hypertension, where the bottom number is low.
- Angina: Chest pain is more common, and those with pre-existing heart disease may experience more frequent pain as thyroid disorders progress.
Heart disease remains the number one killer of men and women worldwide, so please take heed of symptoms like shortness of breath and see your doctor. Many thyroid disorders are treatable with inexpensive hormone replacement that is a fraction of the cost of coronary problems.
3. Bloating and Stomach Pain
Do you have heartburn? If so, the issue could lie in your throat. Evidence suggests that Hashimoto’s disease, hypothyroidism’s most common cause, could be associated with an esophageal motility disorder.
Furthermore, low thyroid function can delay gastric emptying. Constipation can result and even cause an obstruction in extreme cases. Conversely, those with hyperthyroidism often suffer diarrhea as the increased metabolism speeds up food transit time.
4. Extreme Fatigue
Both hyper and hypothyroidism can result in fatigue. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may find yourself restless and unable to sleep. What rest you do get is broken, resulting in extreme daytime fatigue.
In hypothyroidism, your depressed metabolism leaves you feeling tired and cold all the time. You may find it particularly hard to get out of bed in the morning. You might fall asleep early or take a nap during the day.
Both hyper and hypothyroidism can impact your fertility, affecting your ability to become pregnant and carry the child to term. They cause an issue with progesterone, one of the hormones responsible for helping the egg implant.
However, the problem isn’t exclusive to females. Thyroid dysfunction in men can disrupt sperm motility and make it more difficult to enter the egg for fertilization.
If you also have one of the forms of diabetes, you might be familiar with neuropathy — that feeling of tingling or numbness in your extremities. However, this condition can result from other causes.
Thyroid dysfunction causes swelling or edema in your extremities. This enlargement puts pressure on your peripheral nerves, causing damage. Your wrists are most frequently affected by carpal tunnel syndrome, although the tingling and numbness can strike your lower limbs as well.
7. Mental Health
Finally, a dysfunctional thyroid can put you at risk of mental health disorders, particularly anxiety and depression. Hypothyroidism is generally associated with feeling blue. Your lack of energy strips you of much of the joy you feel in things you used to love, leading to anhedonia. You may also become more anxious if you find it difficult to manage the activities necessary to support your life.
Hyperthyroidism can increase anxiety, depression and suicide risk. People with an overabundance of thyroid hormones are more prone to panic attacks. Mental health providers should screen for the contribution of this organ towards various disorders.
Body Pains That Can Be Related to Your Thyroid
If you experience any of the symptoms above, you may want to check your thyroid. Ignoring these body pains related to dysfunction in this organ can have severe ongoing health risks.