Headaches connected to low thyroid hormonesBy: Suzy Cohen, Dear Pharmacist
I like saying I told you so, because it means you got my help years ahead of everyone else. And in this case, it’s about headaches and migraines, and how this condition is tied to hypothyroidism and thyroid hormone insufficiencies. Because headaches and thyroid disease is not life-threatening, there isn’t a lot of focus or research on it, but either condition can leave you disabled, impair relationships and reduce your ability to work or play with your children.
Six years after I told you this, we have a new and very large study that was printed in the September 2016 issue of a highly respected publication, “The Journal of Head and Face Pain.” I’ll nutshell it for you here.
Researchers followed over 8,000 people for 20 years. They tracked vital statistics such as frequency of headaches and migraines as well as biomarkers of thyroid disease. What they found is exactly what I told you in two of my books, “Thyroid Healthy,” and “Headache Free,” that people with migraines, clusters and tension headaches almost always have hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism is when your body fails to produce adequate amounts of thyroid hormone, or perhaps it produces it, but your cells can’t take it in and put it to use. Symptoms of low thyroid include anxiety, mood swings, weight gain or inability to lose weight, dry skin, hair loss, poor eyebrow and eyelash growth, irregular menstrual cycles and the feeling of always being cold. Your hair may be thinner than it used to be, and you’re clean out of energy. Maybe you look pale, sleep fitfully or not at all, or you eat like a bird and still gain weight.
If you have these symptoms, you might have low thyroid hormone levels regardless of what your lab tests say. If you take a medication for cholesterol, for example a statin, those drugs may raise your risk for hypothyroidism, so then after a few months of taking a statin your cholesterol numbers look good, but you feel tired, weak, and heavier. I told you about that little problem 7 years ago.
Anyway, researchers from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine did a great job monitoring these folks, and what they’ve noticed could help you. People with pre-existing headaches have a 21 percent higher risk of having hypothyroidism, if you have migraines, your risk for thyroid disease is about 41 percent greater than the norm.
If you have headaches or migraines, your thyroid levels need to be checked properly. The labs I want you to take and a better set of reference ranges (because the ones on your lab report are old) can be emailed to you if you sign up for my free newsletter at SuzyCohen.com.
If you live in chronic pain or despair I really want to assure you that there is help out there, it’s often something simple, and regardless of your headache, there are solutions. Please don’t give up.
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