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Can Thyroid Issues Cause Weight Gain

Types Of Thyroid Cancer

How Thyroid Disfunction Can Cause You Weight Gain

There are 4 main types of thyroid cancer. They are:

  • papillary carcinoma this is the most common type, accounting for about 6 out of 10 cases it usually affects people under the age of 40, particularly women
  • follicular carcinoma accounts for around 3 out of 20 cases of thyroid cancer and tends to affect older adults
  • medullary thyroid carcinoma accounts for between 5 and 8 out of every 100 diagnosed cases unlike the other types of thyroid cancer, medullary thyroid carcinoma can run in families
  • anaplastic thyroid carcinoma this is the rarest and most aggressive type of thyroid cancer, accounting for less than 1 in 20 thyroid cancers it usually affects older people over the age of 60

Papillary and follicular carcinomas are sometimes known as differentiated thyroid cancers, and theyâre often treated in the same way.

The Role Of Metabolism

Your metabolism involves a series of processes that break down food and convert it into the energy your body needs to run. It also determines how quickly your body uses calories. Some of how efficiently your metabolism runs is determined by genetics.

You burn calories through physical activity and by performing your daily activities. Your body also uses energy when you’re resting, and the efficiency at which it does this is called your basal metabolic rate . Whenever you have excess energythe result of eating more food than your body can usethis energy gets stored in fat cells and you gain weight.

Breast Tenderness And Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a complex endocrine system disorder that can evoke various physical and psychological responses in the body. As such, when a symptom such as breast tenderness arises in women who suffer from hypothyroidism, many may wonder if there is a connection.

Continue reading to learn more about breast tenderness and hypothyroidism, including if breast pain is due to thyroid dysfunction and what can be done for ultimate relief.

Read Also: Can Thyroid Nodules Cause Weight Gain

S You Can Take Today To Lose Weight And Boost Thyroid Function

There are several things YOU can do to optimize your thyroid function.

These steps should be taken in addition to the steps outlined above for best results.

Whenever I treat patients I often employ multiple therapies at once for the multiplicative effect that it provides on metabolism and thyroid function.

Follow these steps below to naturally boost your thyroid function and reset the metabolic conditions that favor T4 to reverse T3 conversion:

1. Optimize T4 to T3 Conversion

One of the easiest things you can start with right away is making sure that you have all of the right nutrients for proper thyroid conversion.

You can read more in this post about the 13+ nutrients required for proper thyroid creation, metabolism and conversion but I will go over the most important below.

The two primary nutrients involved in the conversion pathway are zinc and selenium.

It also happens that MANY patients are deficient in both of these nutrients due to a variety of reasons, which creates a great opportunity for most patients.

Let me go over the benefits of each of these…

Benefits of Zinc Supplementation on thyroid function:

  • Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent
  • Acts as an anti-oxidant in the body

How to supplement with Zinc and Selenium:

  • Zinc: Take up to 60mg per day
  • Selenium: Take up to 50mcg to 200mcg per day
  • Look for supplements which contain both Zinc and Selenium such as this one.

2. Optimize your Adrenal Function and Cortisol Levels

Cortisol and thyroid function are linked.

What Is Causing Weight Gain After Antithyroid Drug Therapy

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Dr. Boelaert still cant say for sure why individuals who are treated with antithyroid drugs to reverse their hyperthyroidism show a tendency to gain back the lost weight plus more. “It appears something in the disease process or perhaps from the treatment makes them end up heavier.” Clearly, more research is needed for us to understand the specific mechanisms behind the shift upward in body weight as a result of non-surgical treatment for overactive thyroid, she says.

Also, we know that appetite signals get disturbed when the thyroid goes out of whack, she says. When patients come in for treatment, ”lots of patients say, ‘I am losing weight although I feel like am eating like a horse.'” After the antithyroid treatment begins, at least some people may continue to eat the same larger amounts that they have grown accustomed to, and this may contribute to the weight gain, she says.

Do appetite signals return to normal once treatment begin? “We don’t know, but we hope to study this,” Dr. Boelaert says.

She worries about the adverse effects that are associated with overweight. “People with an overactive thyroid already have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease,” she explains. “If they then become overweight or obese, that is a further ‘hit.”’ So recognizing your increased risk for heart disease, and concerns about weight gain should be discussed with your doctor, and incorporated into your treatment plan.

Address Weight Gain from Antithyroid Drug Therapy

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Thyroid And Your Weight

Your thyroid gland sends hormones into the bloodstream that help keep your metabolism in check. When you donât make enough of these hormones, that process slows down.

That puts the brakes on body functions. You might feel cold, tired, or sluggish. Your body may also hang on to salt and water. That causes bloating.

You might put on a few pounds — a few. Only about 10% of your total weight gain is likely due to the water and salt that your body keeps because of hypothyroidism.

If extra weight is the only symptom left after thyroid medication brings your hormone levels back to normal, hypothyroidism probably isn’t directly to blame for it.

“People with hypothyroidism often have gained quite a bit of weight before their diagnosis,” says nutrition coach Cheryl Harris, RD. “They may experience fatigue, and that makes it harder to have the energy to eat well and exercise regularly.”

Levothyroxine And Synthroid Are Both T4 Only Medications

So here is the primary problem:

Levothyroxine and Synthroid are both T4 only medications.

Most Doctors will prescribe T4 medication under the assumption that your body will have no problem converting T4 into T3.

And in a perfect world, a world without stress, inflammation or other hormonal imbalances – it would.

But that’s not the world we live in…

Nowadays it’s VERY uncommon if someone has their stress managed, has no issues with blood sugar/insulin/leptin, has a normal menstrual cycle, is not overweight, has never done yo-yo diets, or has normal adrenal function.

Do any of these symptoms or situations sound familiar?

Chances are high that you are dealing with 1 or more of them.

And in states such as these, your body will turn T4 into reverse T3 as a way to “put on the brakes” and slow down your metabolism and cause symptoms of hypothyroidism.

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Weight Loss With Treatment

There aren’t many scientific studies regarding how much weight is gained or lost once hypothyroid people are treated with the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine, but the limited evidence that is available indicates that not everyone loses weight with treatment and in the ones who do, it’s limited.

Once your hormone levels are within the normal range, you may lose a small amount of weight that mainly consists of the extra water and salt your body has built up. However, weight gain has multiple factors and yours is more than likely not all due to your thyroid’s slowdown. One way to tell is if treatment has helped all of your other thyroid symptoms but not your weight. This indicates that your thyroid very likely isn’t the only factor behind your gain.

Whats The Difference Between Hypothyroidism And Hyperthyroidism

Weight Gain-Thyroid Problems

In hypothyroidism, the thyroid doesnt make enough thyroid hormone.

The difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism is quantity. In hypothyroidism, the thyroid makes very little thyroid hormone. On the flip side, someone with hyperthyroidism has a thyroid that makes too much thyroid hormone. Hyperthyroidism involves higher levels of thyroid hormones, which makes your metabolism speed up. If you have hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down.

Many things are the opposite between these two conditions. If you have hypothyroidism, you may have a difficult time dealing with the cold. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may not handle the heat. They are opposite extremes of thyroid function. Ideally, you should be in the middle. Treatments for both of these conditions work to get your thyroid function as close to that middle ground as possible.

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Other Causes Of Hypothyroidism

In some cases, hypothyroidism results from a problem with the pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain. This gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone , which tells the thyroid to do its job. If your pituitary gland does not produce enough TSH, levels of thyroid hormones will fall. Other causes of hypothyroidism include temporary inflammation of the thyroid or medications that affect thyroid function.

Arent I Too Young For Thyroid Issues

Thyroid dysfunction is more common in women during midlife, but it can impact women of any age. Natural hormonal fluctuations during certain times of your life can mean that thyroid issues are more likely to surface. Thats why its so important to pay attention to symptoms you are experiencing, rather than just dismissing them as normal. Any time you are having symptoms that make life uncomfortable, you should explore whats causing them rather than simply living with them!

Your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, perimenopause and full menopause can all make thyroid issues more likely. Chronic stress that impacts your adrenal glands may also quickly lead to thyroid imbalances. And even if none of these factors are present, if you suddenly experience weight gain with no explanation, looking at the possibility of thyroid disease or imbalances is a good idea.

Also Check: How To Tell If My Thyroid Is Underactive

Muscle Aches And Trouble Swallowing

Muscle aches throughout the body are sometimes associated with abnormal thyroid levels. If your muscle aches have recently onset without any other obvious causes, a thyroid disorder is one likely cause. Rarely, muscle breakdown can also occur. If you find that you are unable to build toned muscle, reach out to your physician.

On a similar vein, because the thyroid is located in the neck, the neck muscles are usually the first to experience these symptoms. This includes the muscles associated with swallowing. If you are struggling to swallow, this could be another signs of thyroid problems.

How Does My Thyroid Work


The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of your neck just under the voice box . Picture the middle of the butterflys body centered on your neck, with the wings hugging around your windpipe . The main job of the thyroid is to control your metabolism. Metabolism is the process that your body uses to transform food to energy your body uses to function. The thyroid creates the hormones T4 and T3 to control your metabolism. These hormones work throughout the body to tell the bodys cells how much energy to use. They control your body temperature and heart rate.

When your thyroid works correctly, its constantly making hormones, releasing them and then making new hormones to replace whats been used. This keeps your metabolism functioning and all of your bodys systems in check. The amount of thyroid hormones in the bloodstream is controlled by the pituitary gland, which is located in the center of the skull below the brain. When the pituitary gland senses either a lack of thyroid hormone or too much, it adjusts its own hormone and sends it to the thyroid to balance out the amounts.

If the amount of thyroid hormones is too high or too low , the entire body is impacted.

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How Much Weight Can I Expect To Lose Once The Hypothyroidism Is Treated

Since much of the weight gain in hypothyroidism is accumulation in salt and water, when the hypothyroidism is treated one can expect a small weight loss. As in the treatment with hyperthyroidism, treatment of the abnormal state of hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone results in a return of body weight to what it was before the hypothyroidism developed. Since weight gain may have many causes and develops over a long period of time, it is fairly common to find that there is not a large amount of weight loss after successful treatment of hypothyroidism. Again, if all of the symptoms of hypothyroidism other than weight gain resolve with thyroid hormone treatment, it is unlikely that the weight gain was solely due to the thyroid. Once hypothyroidism has been treated and thyroid hormone levels are in the normal range, the ability to gain or lose weight is the same as in individuals who do not have thyroid problems.

Additional Steps To Improving Weight Management

After going on a treatment plan to assist with managing a condition such as Hypothyroidism, it is only natural to think that the increase in Thyroid hormones will make weight loss happen automatically.

Unfortunately, this is a misconception that many people have once they opt for synthetic Thyroid hormones in order to assist with the management of Hypothyroidism. Even though levels of Thyroid hormones are restored to normal through such a treatment plan, it is vital for a person to take into consideration that weight loss will now only be easier for them it will not magically happen.

Weight loss efforts still need to be exerted by the individual who is obtaining the treatment. The primary method of losing weight after restoring normal Thyroid hormone levels would be to start following a caloric deficit diet.

This, in basic terms, means that you will have to eat fewer calories daily than you exert. There is no need to starve yourself, however, as you need to start participating in exercises, which means your daily caloric requirements will be going up.

It is highly advisable to participate in a healthy amount of exercise on a regular basis. This will not only promote weight loss but will also assist with further alleviating the problems that Hypothyroidism has caused.

Once your daily caloric expenditure has increased through these exercise plans, it is time to look at what you consume.

Additionally, eliminating processed foods from your diet can be very beneficial for you.

Read Also: What Does A Thyroid Nodule Look Like

Myth 3 People With Hypothyroidism Shouldnt Eat Cruciferous Vegetables

Although cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, kale, and Brussels sprouts may interfere with how your thyroid uses iodine, the effect is minimal, and you would need to eat a LOT to have any significant impact. Cruciferous vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet and may help you lose weight compared to higher-carbohydrate foods.

Thyroid Weight Gain How Thyroid Issues Affect Weight Gain

Soy Harms the Thyroid and Can Cause Weight Gain

When I talk with women suffering with unexpected weight gain, often one of the first questions I am asked is Is it my thyroid?

Sometimes, my answer is yes after all, our thyroid hormones play a huge role in regulating our metabolism and how we use nutrients.

And research shows that even small changes to the thyroid function can cause weight gain. In fact, many women who have been told their thyroid test results are normal may still have a reduced thyroid function thats enough to cause weight gain and other bothersome symptoms.

At the Women to Women clinic, I work with women suffering from a wide range of thyroid issues from those just starting to suspect they have a thyroid problem to those already taking medication. And I tell each and every one of them how they can benefit from natural thyroid support and a holistic approach that considers thyroid function as part of overall hormonal balance. With that in mind, lets learn how thyroid weight gain occurs and what options you have to rebalance your thyroid health.

Read Also: How To Fix Thyroid Gland Problems

Surgery For Thyroid Disorders

Removing the thyroid gland can cure hyperthyroidism, but the procedure is only recommended if antithyroid drugs don’t work, or if there is a large goiter. Surgery may also be recommended for patients with thyroid nodules. Once the thyroid is removed, most patients require daily supplements of thyroid hormones to avoid developing hypothyroidism.

How To Lose Weight With Hypothyroidism

Unexplained weight gain is a common sign of hypothyroidism, especially if you start gaining weight without making any major changes to your diet or activity level.

Weight gain increases the risk for a wide range of serious health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, managing your condition and losing excess weight is essential to reducing your risk for related complications and health problems.

Continue reading to learn more about why hypothyroidism can cause weight gain and how to lose weight with hypothyroidism.

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Weight Loss Tips For Hypothyroidism

Maintaining a healthy weight can be a struggle when youre living with hypothyroidism. These tips can help you shed unwanted pounds and keep them off.


Healthy foods, controlled portion sizes, and regular exercise these are key components to losing weight. But if you have hypothyroidism, your underactive thyroid gland may also play a role.

If hypothyroidism is inadequately treated it can be harder to lose weight, since the thyroid is a large regulator of metabolic function. The most important thing you can do for weight loss and for your overall health is to get proper treatment for your hypothyroidism. However, making a few dietary changes may help boost weight loss success. Losing weight is never easy, but people who have well-controlled hypothyroidism shouldnt struggle to lose weight more than anyone else, says Leonor Corsino, MD, an endocrinologist at the Duke Center for Metabolic and Weight Loss Surgery in Durham, North Carolina.

Use these six strategies to jump-start weight loss with hypothyroidism.


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