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The Gut and How Thyroid Controls Digestion

The Gut and How Thyroid Controls Digestion

The thyroid, found in the throat, is a gland which produces hormones that keep the body’s engine going optimally. Too much or too little thyroid produced hormones affect every aspect of daily life. If your thyroid is out of sync with your other organs symptoms and the extenuating consequences change everything. Your gut health is important to digestion, absorption of nutrients, and require thyroid hormones to sustain a healthy body. How the thyroid controls digestion is important in understanding what to do about the problems affecting the gut.

Thyroid hormones fuel the Gastrointestinal System

Without a definitive test to determine if gastrointestinal problems are directly connected to over of under production of thyroid hormones it makes it tricky to make a diagnosis with further tests. However, it is a common thought to include a simple blood test to check for thyroid hormones, T1 T3 and TSH, to either rule out or identify thyroid disease.

It makes sense that the digestive system is affected by thyroid hormones when too little or too much thyroid hormone slows or speeds up metabolism.


Digestive issues are usually is usually the first symptom to drive a patient to seek medical help when hyperthyroidism is the underlining issue. Many other symptoms brought about by hyperthyroidism take longer to manifest due to the fact that is in association to the digestive system malfunction. Too much Thyroid hormone leads to overactive or hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism is responsible for weight loss, rapid heartbeat, chronic diarrhea, increased appetite, liver disorders, esophagus spasm and muscle spasms.

Disorders associated with Hyperthyroidism

  • Grave’s Disease is an auto-immune disease associated or entwined with hyperthyroidism. Often called thyrotoxicosis, key symptoms observed are bulging eyes and lack of resistance to heat.
  • Celiac disease is manifested as a continuation of Grave’s disease and the ill effects of slowing digestion, food sensitivities and the changes in the digestive environment.
  • Myopathy or weakness of muscles and increased muscular pain.
  • Anxiety disorders manifest or are aggravated by the hyper-nervous state of patients with hyperthyroidism.


Underactive thyroid and low thyroid hormones, T1, T3, and TSH, result in hypothyroidism. The most common hypothyroid disorder is Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease. Hashimoto’s is an auto-immune disease thought brought on by and in association with another underlying auto-immune disease. Digestive problems are associated with hypothyroidism but are more of a secondary symptom than in hyperthyroidism.

Disorders associated with hypothyroidism

Diabetes (type 1), Lupus, Grave’s Disease, Pernicious Anemia, Addison’s disease and Hashimoto’s Disease are all connected to hypothyroidism.

Treatment of hyperthyroidism often leads to hypothyroidism. It is important to understand that the disorders associated with hypothyroidism are metabolic in nature and the associated digestive problems are no different. Low thyroid hormones slow the metabolism, slows digestion, and severely disrupts absorption of critical nutrients. The bodily organs, kidneys, liver, and heart are affected by the slow metabolism and lack of vital nutrient and effect the brain’s alert status and ability to function optimally.

Thyroid hormones Controls the Digestive System

Whether it is over or active thyroid causing you digestive problems it is sure to make you feel awful. It starts with the esophagus with spasms, heartburn, or spasm. The stomach produces too little acid and digestion slows down and creates an unfriendly environment to break down and expel nutrients and constipation create bloat. The stomach produces too much acid and heartburn, stomach aches and diarrhea which leads to weight loss and malabsorption of nutrients.

Digestive problems brought about by thyroid hormone imbalance lead to more serious digestive problems like Celiac Disease or irritable bowel syndrome and cancer of the thyroid, stomach, and colon. Seeing your doctor, endocrinologist and nutritionist regularly are vital in maintaining overall health.

Diagnosis and Treatment

  • A simple blood test detects thyroid hormone levels of T1, T3, and TSH.
  • Treatment for hypothyroidism is a daily pill dose of hormone.
  • Treatment of hyperthyroidism is more complicated. Anti-thyroid medication, beta blockers, radiated
    iodine and removal surgery result in reduced or complete eradication of thyroid hormone production and leads to hypothyroidism.

Treatment of Thyroid Disease and Relief of Digestive Symptoms

Many patients with a dysfunctional thyroid work with a nutritionist or dietician for natural and dietary options to reduce thyroid disease symptoms. Digestive complications associated with thyroid disease, treated with thyroid-friendly foods in a balanced diet reduce and make the patient more comfortable.

There is no definitive cure for all thyroid disorders, but early detection, regular treatment, and a proper diet are essential for living with thyroid disease. The best treatment is a proactive collaboration with your doctor, endocrinologist, and nutritionist.

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