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Does Overactive Thyroid Cause Weight Gain

What Are The Risk Factors For Thyroid Nodules

Freda: “Underactive thyroid causes weight gain, depression, painful periods”

Risk factors for developing thyroid nodules include:

  • Family history. Having parents or siblings who have had thyroid nodules or thyroid or other endocrine cancers increases your chance of developing nodules.
  • Age: The chance of developing nodules increases as you get older.
  • Gender: Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid nodules.
  • Radiation exposure: A history of radiation exposure to the head and neck increases your risk of developing nodules.

Risk factors for developing cancerous thyroid nodules include:

  • Family history of thyroid cancer
  • A nodule that is hard or is stuck to a nearby structure
  • Male gender

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 â 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 isnât directly to blame for it.

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

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I Have A Lump On My Thyroid Now What

Thyroid cancer diagnoses have increased from 17,000 in 2002 to 57,000 in 2012. Even so, it’s still relatively uncommon and has a high survival rate 97 percent after five years, says Jose C. Dutra, M.D., director of the thyroid surgical clinic at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

Dutra and other experts believe that the spike in diagnoses is due to the wider use of MRI and CT scans, which can detect tiny lumps that can’t be touched. “Ninety percent of all enlargements are not cancerous,” he says.

Finally, about six months ago, one of her doctors heard about a new type of thyroid drug and sent Kruger to Mark Lupo, M.D., a thyroid specialist in Sarasota. He prescribed Tirosint, a liquid gel cap form of levothyroxine sodium, the thyroid hormone replacement pill commonly used to treat hypothyroidism.

Although drugs can work differently in each individual, Tirosint’s liquid form seemed to do the trick for Kruger: She dropped 20 pounds in six months. “And when I get up in the morning, I don’t feel like someone has beat me with a stick,” she says. More importantly, her heart problems have improved.

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How Can I Control My Thyroid Weight Gain

If you have hypothyroidism, taking levothyroxine may help you lose any weight you gained as a direct result of your underactive thyroid. Otherwise, losing or maintaining your weight requires the same things as a person with a normal thyroid: lifestyle changes, and sometimes, counseling and medical help.

How Many Of These Signs And Symptoms Do You Have

10 Signs and Symptoms that You Have an Underactive Thyroid ...


Dry, pale, and cool skin Moist, velvety, and warm skin like a babys Dry skin with deep cracks and scale Deep, noticeable lines on your palms and soles Yellowish-orange color on your palms and soles Doughy and swollen face, especially on your eyelids, lips, and tongue Widening nose Sweating less than before Goiter Protruding eyes Flushing on your face and red palms Darker skin in the creases of your palms, on your gums, or elsewhere in your mouth Rashes, especially in the creases of your skin Painless lumps and patches of scaly, discolored skin, and the affected skin feels hard and waxy Reddish spots on the skin that come and go

Protruding eyes

When eyes protrude, its often a sign of thyroid disease.

Painless lumps and patches of scaly skin feel hard and waxy

Lumps on discolored skin that feel hard and waxy can be a sign of thyroid disease.


Thinning eyebrows on the outer edge Coarse, dull, dry, and brittle hair that breaks easily Soft and fine hair with lots of shedding Thinning hair or balding patches Growing more slowly Dry, itchy scalp and dandruff Less hair on your legs, arms, and other areas


Thick, dry, and brittle with visible ridges Soft, shiny, and easily crumble Growing more slowly Peel, crumble, or break easily Lift up Curved with swollen fingertip and thickening skin above the nail

Curved nails with swollen fingertip


Itchy skin without a rash Untreatable and itchy hives

Existing skin disease

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Weight Gain After Thyroidectomy And Radioactive Iodine Ablation & Taking Medications

Let’s take a minute to talk about the various therapies and treatments for hyperthyroid patients so we know what they are doing and how we might be able to intervene.

In most cases, patients with hyperthyroidism eventually undergo either a thyroidectomy or radioactive iodine ablation therapy.

What’s unfortunate is that studies have shown that regardless of what treatment you use for hyperthyroidism you will gain weight after.

Researchers have found that patients who undergo radioactive iodine ablation, thyroidectomy or take hyperthyroid medication will gain on average anywhere from 10-25 pounds within the first 3 months of therapy.

This occurs regardless of whether or not the patient gets thyroid hormone replacement after these therapies .

Much of this is due to a lack of understanding of thyroid hormone function in the body, and I have written many articles that you can learn from.

Let’s talk about these various therapies and how they work.


Methimazole works by preventing your body from producing thyroid hormone and it also promotes the conversion of T4 into the inactive thyroid metabolite reverse T3.

Now, this is obviously necessary if you have high circulating levels of thyroid hormone, to begin with, but this medication is difficult to fine tune.

That means it’s easy to either over treat or undertreat .

Because of these issues, methimazole generally isn’t used long term which leads to thyroidectomy or RAI .


Radioactive iodine ablation:

Final Thoughts + Your Next Steps

The bottom line?

An overactive thyroid is a potentially serious disease that results from too much thyroid hormone production in your body.

This production is usually caused by an autoimmune disease such as Graves’ disease, but it can also be caused by other less common conditions as well.

Occasionally, some patients may experience transient bouts of an overactive thyroid with disease states such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

It’s important to identify an overactive thyroid so that you can undergo proper treatment to prevent long-term damage to your heart and bones.

Natural therapies for hyperthyroidism may work for some people, but be careful when using these therapies.

If you suspect you have an overactive thyroid your next step should be to consult with your physician and get some basic thyroid labs.

Labs such as your TSH, Free T3, and Free T4 can easily identify hyperthyroidism in the majority of patients.

Now I want to hear from you:

Are you suffering from the symptoms of an overactive thyroid?

Do you have a diagnosis of Graves’ disease or hyperthyroidism?

Are you undergoing treatment and suffering from weight gain?

Leave your comments below!

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What Exactly Is An Overactive Thyroid

An overactive thyroid is exactly as it sounds.

It’s the medical condition in the body which results in the overproduction of thyroid hormone from your thyroid gland.

Does having a little bit extra thyroid hormone in your body really promote a problem for you?

Won’t it lead to weight loss?

Well, maybe, but that doesn’t mean it’s something that you actually want to happen!


Your thyroid helps to control very important functions in your body such as metabolism regulation, adrenaline release, heat, and energy production, cholesterol synthesis, heart rate, and so on.

The overstimulation of these important systems may result in some weight loss, but at the cost of several other potentially damaging symptoms as well.

Because of this, you will most definitely want to have your thyroid evaluated and treated .

Your thyroid is also important because it acts as the master hormone which helps regulate other hormonal systems in the body.

Small changes in thyroid serum levels may result in big changes in other hormones as well.

This is why patients with thyroid disorders often present with multiple symptoms all across their body.

The good news is that if you have an overactive thyroid you will present with symptoms which can clue you into what is happening.

These symptoms often cause patients to seek medical care which results in diagnosis and treatment.

How you approach treatment is a different story and one which we will discuss below.

What Is A Thyroid Disorder

Weight Gain-Thyroid Problems

Thyroid disorder is experienced when the gland is either overactive or underactive, and it is not able to perform its basic functions aptly. Several health issues can crop up when the thyroid gland starts to dysfunction and release too little or too much of those hormones. While the former is called hypothyroidism, the latter is referred to as hyperthyroidism. Out of these two, the former is more commonly prevalent and, for some reason, affects females way more than men. In fact, statistics suggest that women, especially those in their 20s and 30s, are ten times more likely to experience thyroid gland dysfunction. The likelihood as well as the severity, of course, increases as they age.

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What Complications Of Hyperthyroidism Can Affect My Body

Hyperthyroidism can impact many parts of your body. Different systems, ranging from your vascular system to your skeletal system can all be affected if you have an overactive thyroid.


When you have hyperthyroidism, it may feel like your heart is beating very quickly. This rapid heartbeat is a symptom of the condition thats caused by your fast metabolism. The body is running faster than normal when you have hyperthyroidism, making you feel like your heart is racing. Having an irregular heartbeat can increase your risk of different medical conditions, including stroke.


The bones are the support structure for your body. When you have unchecked high levels of thyroid hormones, your bones can actually become brittle. This can lead to a condition called osteoporosis.

Eyes and Skin

Hyperthyroidism can be caused by a medical condition called Graves disease. This disease can affect both your eyes and skin. It can cause you to have several eye problems, including:

  • Bulging eyes.
  • Double vision and light sensitivity.
  • Redness and swelling of the eyes.

Graves disease can also cause your skin to become red and swollen. This is particularly noticeable on the feet and shins.

Another complication of hyperthyroidism is something called a thyroid storm . This is a sudden and dramatic increase in your symptoms. When this happens, your heart may beat even faster than normal and you may develop a fever. A thyroid storm is an emergency situation.

Tricky To Diagnose Treat

Diagnosing and treating an underactive thyroid can be challenging, he says, especially when a patient’s thyroid hormone levels test in the borderline-normal range. In most cases, a hormone level between 4 and 10 is the accepted range for treatment. When patients experience symptoms with a hormone level of 3, doctors are faced with the question of whether or not to treat. And it’s a tricky question, because treatment is not just a matter of taking a little pill that immediately cures all your symptoms. Finding just the right amount of hormone replacement medication to keep levels stable can be a difficult balancing act.

In Kruger’s case, it took her nearly 20 years to finally feel like “I got my life back.” During that time, despite being on medication, her thyroid levels were still problematic. She continued to feel tired and to gain weight, her cholesterol levels shot up and she began developing heart disease, a consequence of insufficient thyroid.

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Why And How Does Mitochondrial Destruction Happen

Mitochondria as we discussed before is your energy power house.

It consumes fuel and converts into energy to power our whole body. Now mitochondria are very efficient machine and it can consume glucose or fatty acids and break them down to produce energy in the form of ATP.

During this energy production process, there are some waste products that are also formed which are called Reaction oxygen species .

In people with thyroid dysfunction, this mitochondrial machinery starts to break down and which causes metabolic dysfunction. This metabolic dysfunction is the reason people start to gain weight.

Now let us understand why does mitochondrial destruction happen.

So the underlying process that causes destruction of mitochondria is inflammation.

The inflammation inside our body causes mitochondrial destruction. It is well known now in the medical community that patients with a thyroid disorder have a high level of inflammation markers present.

So this underlying inflammation first destroys your mitochondria and then destroys your thyroid gland.

Destruction of the thyroid gland further slows down the mitochondria. So you see its a vicious cycle which forms and makes it very challenging for people to lose weight.

The More Medication Myth

Thyroid Disorders

You may have heard that thyroid hormones can be used to lose weight, even in people without thyroid disease. While synthetic thyroid hormones have been used this way in the past, research has shown that most people gain all the weight back once they stop using them. Worse, being on thyroid hormones unnecessarily can result in serious side effects.

For people who are already using levothyroxine, increasing the dose above what’s needed can lead to more weight loss, but it’s usually not significant and those pounds are often gained back once the dose is decreased again. This is also an unhealthy way to lose weight as an increased dose is also associated with adverse reactions, including heart issues, insomnia, headaches, menstrual irregularities and skin rash.

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Can A Thyroid Problem Cause A Dog To Gain Weight

Weight gain can be a sign that your dog has hypothyroidism, a condition that occurs due to decreased production of thyroid hormones. These hormones regulate important bodily functions, including metabolism, heart rate, brain development, temperature, breathing, cholesterol levels, and muscle strength.

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Why Hypothyroidism Causes Weight Gain

Hypothyroidism has been correlated with individuals having a higher body mass index and a higher incidence of obesity. Though there appears to be a link between an underactive thyroid and weight gain that leads to obesity, the exact reasoning behind this is unclear.

However, one clear area is that hypothyroidism can cause minor weight gain.

One major responsibility of the thyroid gland is to regulate ones metabolism. Your metabolism is essentially how the body breaks down food and uses it for energy. When it comes to an underactive thyroid, ones metabolism slows down.

A slow metabolism can result in weight gain. The weight gain from hypothyroidism is typically only between 5-10 pounds. However, the more severe hypothyroidism one has, the more weight one may gain.

The weight that is gained from an underactive thyroid may be fat, but it is mostly from excess salt and water being accumulated.

So, as it has been made clear, unexplained weight gain is one symptom of hypothyroidism. Other symptoms of an underactive thyroid include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pain and stiffness in joints
  • Impaired memory

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Weight Gain After Hyperthyroidism Treatment Is Common: What To Know

With Kristien Boelaert, MD, PhD, and Reshmi Srinath, MD

After successful treatment for her overactive thyroid , the patient , not only gained all excess the weight she had lost while her thyroid gland was in overdrive, but the weight continued to creep up.

This is common complaint repeated by many people who visit the discussion board on EndocrineWeb. Understandably, June was so distraught with the undesirable weight gain, so she stopped taking the medication meant to normalize her thyroid levels.

Losing Weight With An Underactive Thyroid

Do Thyroid problems cause weight gain? – Dr. Karthik Prabhakar

Hypothyroidism slows down your metabolism, making it more difficult to lose extra pounds and maintain a healthy body weight. But weight loss is still possible with hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland, which produces hormones that regulate a number of body processes, becomes underactive and doesnât produce enough thyroid hormone to allow the body to function properly. One of the key processes these hormones help to regulate is metabolism that magic word we all know due to its connection to diet and weight-loss. It seems like everyone is trying to speed up their metabolism with the right mix of foods and exercise to help shed pounds. So when your body is working against you and slowing your metabolism down even more, weight loss becomes an even bigger challenge.

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How Does Lakeside Allergy Ent Treat Thyroid Nodules

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, you may have thyroid nodules. Our board-certified ENT doctors and specialists will first diagnose your condition and then suggest treatment options, which include suppression therapy and surgery. Visit us at our three convenient locations in Rockwall, Forney, and Wylie TX for the best thyroid nodule treatment.

Request an appointment using the form on this page, or learn more about thyroid nodules and the treatments we offer below.

Treatments For An Underactive Thyroid

Luckily hypothyroidism is usually easy to treat. Your doctor will likely prescribe a synthetic version of the thyroid hormone. The most popular medication for this is called levothyroxine. You will need to take this medication for the rest of your life. Once you are medicated, your symptoms and complications may reduce greatly or go away completely.

If you are taking medication for an underactive thyroid, it’s important to visit your doctor for all follow-up appointments. The amount of medication you need to take may change throughout your life. So, your doctor will check your hormone levels periodically to make sure your current dosage is correct.

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