Our gut health is so important in shaping the way our bodies function and how we feel each day. But solving problems with our gut health can be complex and confusing….especially since your thyroid and gut health are so intertwined!
Most of us don’t think about our thyroid gland when thinking about digestion and gut issues.
But your thyroid, which is an important gland that controls your muscles, heart, digestion, and metabolism, impacts your physical and mental health in so many key ways.
Thyroid issues are way more common than you’d probably guess. But unfortunately, most people who have a thyroid problem have no idea that’s what’s going on! Since so many symptoms overlap (and interact) it’s easy to miss out on the true cause of those symptoms.
Being aware of the thyroid and gut health connection helps you focus on implementing the right changes. That way, you’ll feel so much better!
How Are Your Thyroid and Gut Health Connected?
There are so many points of connection between your thyroid and gut health. Let’s explore some common issues, why this link even matters, and the interconnectedness between these two areas of your health.
Common Thyroid Issues
Your thyroid primarily impacts your gut because it creates hormones that directly affect your digestive system! Thyroid issues disrupt healthy hormone production, which can impact your digestion, too.
One of the most common thyroid issues is hypothyroidism, which happens when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough of those essential hormones.
Without enough of those hormones, your digestion will slow down. The muscles in your digestive system won’t contract and move food along your digestive tract, which leaves you feeling constipated!
On the other hand, we have hyperthyroidism, another super common thyroid issue. With hyperthyroidism, your thyroid produces an excess of those hormones. This causes its own set of digestive problems, like diarrhea, a lack of nutrient absorption, and excess stool frequency. It can even make you have difficulty swallowing foods.
Clearly, thyroid symptoms have a huge impact on your gut and digestion.
Why Your Gut Health Is So Important
Your gut is made up of a community of bacteria called the microbiome. When your gut’s microbiome is disrupted—which happens when your thyroid becomes imbalanced—too much bacteria starts to grow. This can cause gut symptoms like bloating, gas, and discomfort.
Your thyroid and gut are also connected because your gut metabolizes the hormones your thyroid produces. In order for that metabolization to take place, you need to have a healthy microbiome.
These Two Areas Of Your Health Continually Impact Each Other
As you can probably tell by now, there’s a cycle of interconnectedness between your thyroid and gut health.
So far, we’ve mostly discussed how your thyroid impacts your gut health. But it actually goes both ways!
As previously mentioned, your gut is responsible for metabolizing essential hormones produced by your thyroid gland. That means that if your gut health isn’t perfect for whatever reason, like IBS or celiac disease, it won’t properly metabolize the hormones that your body truly needs.
This leads to a cycle of issues as your thyroid and gut health continue to impact each other. Thyroid issues can lead to poor gut health, and poor gut health can lessen the impact of treatments for thyroid issues.
All of this just means that it’s incredibly important to focus on your overall health and wellness. Keeping your gut happy (and your thyroid healthy) makes sure that everything in your body is balanced.
What To Do If You’re Concerned About Your Thyroid and Gut Health
Before we explore what you should do if you’re concerned about your thyroid and gut health, here’s an important note. Not all gut health issues are tied to thyroid issues. If you’re struggling with one, it doesn’t automatically mean that something is wrong with the other.
But it’s worth asking your doctor to run a thyroid test if you’re experiencing consistent digestive issues. Alternatively, you can purchase and run a thyroid hormone test yourself to get a basic idea of what’s going on in your body.
Once you run an at-home test, it’s important to consult with your doctor. Your physician will be able to help you analyze the at-home test results and create an effective, individualized treatment plan if needed. This is powerful because your doctor has a fuller picture of your health and individual needs, so treatment needs to be unique to you!
The most important takeaway is that your gut health is so important, and is largely unexplored in modern medicine.
Your gut microbiome can impact every other area of your health, including your mental health! That’s why you need to focus on maintaining a well-rounded diet as well as your overall health and wellness.
Although you may be unfamiliar with the link between your thyroid and gut health, there are so many points of connection between the two. Learning about your thyroid and your gut health means you can properly consult your doctor and make any necessary lifestyle changes.