The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ in the neck that produces thyroid hormone. This hormone controls how we make energy and use oxygen. This article explores what the thyroid is and how it can affect the body including your gut.
It's pretty essential: thyroid hormone affects almost every organ and function in our bodies, including our brain and nervous system, mood and emotions, weight and metabolism, muscles and bones, fertility, skin health, cholesterol levels… and gut health!
Thyroid symptoms may include:
Thyroid issues can cause a broad range of symptoms, so a thyroid-related condition may be present even if you don't have any obvious thyroid problems.
A poor thyroid creates less thyroid hormone, which reduces its ability to fight infections and allergies by dampening the immune system. This slower immune response means that you get sick more often with things like colds, sore throats, or sinus infections—and these illnesses will last longer too. In some cases, this lack of thyroid hormone also increases your risk for certain types of cancer through increased susceptibility to DNA damage from oxidative stress caused by free radicals.
Your thyroid controls how your body makes energy. When thyroid hormone levels are low, this slows down the metabolism, which in turn causes symptoms like constipation and weight gain. A sluggish thyroid can also trigger bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or alternating bowel habits (IBS). Thyroid issues can cause these symptoms, or they may indicate poor thyroid function. So if you've tried all the usual "fixes" for IBS symptoms without success, it may be time to get your thyroid checked out!
Absolutely! Restoring health to the gut (with diet changes, supplements, and probiotics ) helps thyroid issues by increasing thyroid hormone levels. Bacteria in the gut convert thyroid hormone into its active form to regulate metabolism, so replenishing these bacteria helps thyroid function. Gut health may also improve thyroid symptoms by improving immune function—thyroid hormones stimulate immunity, which increases inflammation throughout the body. Research indicates thyroid problems could be contributing to your IBS symptoms!
Your thyroid is an integral part of how your whole body works, including your gut! Improving gut health can help thyroid issues because toxins can decrease thyroid hormone production or disrupt thyroid hormone signaling. If you've got thyroid issues, you may want to look into your gut!
To learn more about what your gut health may be telling you or if you’d like to be seen by a physician, contact us today. We treat all gastrointestinal issues and disorders with quality, comprehensive care.