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09AM to 05PM EST

Can Thyroid Problems Cause headaches? Uncover the Truth

Headaches are a universal ailment, we all have experienced once in our life. 

But its connection with thyroid problems is phenomenal!

To your concern, Can thyroid problems cause headaches; Yes, thyroid problems may cause headaches. But it’s not always so. As headaches can also have other reasons for the occurrence. Hence, it is better to visit a primary care clinic to have a proper diagnosis of the cause and its early treatment.

Want to learn details?

We have prepared a complete guide for you about the intriguing connection: headaches and thyroid

 Read further and find out!

Understanding the Thyroid Gland

The thyroid gland is a crucial component of the endocrine system. Its fundamental task is to make and deliver hormones essential to metabolism-the process by which the body transforms food into energy.

Knowing the proper functioning of the thyroid gland is very important. As it ensures an optimal endocrine system and good health in general. Regular examinations and medical treatment are crucial to managing thyroid-related illnesses.

Where is a Thyroid Headache Located?

Thyroid headaches originate in the head around the brows and temples. It may also spread to the neck and shoulders. However, the feeling of aches in these areas can signify some other ailment. So, it is critical to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Common Thyroid Problems

If you want to know, can thyroid problems cause headaches? You should first know the common types of thyroid problems to identify which ones cause headaches. Thyroid diseases are common these days. They greatly impact the health of a person. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are among the two most common types of thyroid problems.

Can Thyroid Problems Cause Headaches

Hyperthyroidism

The excessive production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.

Symptoms

Hyperthyroidism increases the metabolic rate of a person. It results in a variety of symptoms which may include,

  • Weight loss
  • Anxiety and nervousness 
  • Shaking in fingers and the hands
  • Issues with sleep
  • Changes in bowel movements 
  • Heat intolerance and sweating

Prevalence

Hyperthyroidism impacts fewer people than hypothyroidism. It majorly affects females around the age of 20-40. Hyperthyroidism affects around 0.5-2% of the population each year.

Hypothyroidism

The underproduction of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland.

Symptoms 

Hypothyroidism shows mild symptoms. And they vary among people. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cold sensitivity 
  • Constipation 
  • Dryness of skin and hair
  • Pain and discomfort in the muscles 

Prevalence

Hypothyroidism impacts people of all ages. It is more widespread than hyperthyroidism. It mostly affects women and the condition gets worse over age. According to a research study, hypothyroidism affects around 1-2% of the population across the globe.

Can Thyroid Problems Cause Daily Headaches?

Yes, thyroid issues can cause headaches. It happens due to changes in hormonal levels, blood flow, and metabolism. If you are suffering from persistent headaches. You must visit a doctor for accurate detection of the cause and its treatment.

Migraines vs Headaches

Migraine and usual headaches have distinct features and effects on individuals.

Migraine is a brain disorder. It causes severe pain around one side of the head. The pain lasts for a few hours to a couple of days. Migraines cause nausea, vomiting, and eyesight problems.

On the other hand, typical headaches which include tension-type headaches are mild. They affect both sides of the head and last for a shorter period. Also, these headaches don’t show any particular symptoms.

What Does a Thyroid Headache Feel Like?

Thyroid headaches cause dull, and persistent discomfort in front of the head. A person may also experience responsiveness to heat and light. However, headaches can have other underlying causes. So, it is vital to visit a physician to have a proper diagnosis of the cause.

Symptoms of Thyroid-Related Headaches

Several symptoms might signify thyroid-causing headaches. The most frequent signs include: can thyroid problems cause headaches

Can Thyroid Problems Cause Headaches

 

  • Severe headaches that don’t go away
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Weakness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Weight changes
  • Alterations in mood and appetite

If you possess any of the symptoms. It is advised to visit a healthcare professional for proper detection and treatment.

How Do You Stop Thyroid Headaches?

It is important to address the underlying cause to treat thyroid-related headaches. Consult a healthcare advisor and follow good lifestyle practices to manage headaches.

Can Thyroid Problems Cause Headaches

Hypothyroidism Headache

Hypothyroidism can cause headaches due to several closely related factors. The thyroid hormone regulates metabolism, produces energy, and balances hormones throughout the body. When it fails to work properly it can disturb a variety of physiological activity. That leads to headaches.

  • Hormonal Imbalance is another important cause of headaches. The amount of T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine) reduces in hypothyroidism. The diminished hormonal concentration interferes with neurotransmitters, responsible for brain activity. As a result, headaches occur.
  • Vasoconstriction: Thyroid hormone deficiency can cause vasoconstriction. It results in less blood flowing through the brain and causes oxygen deficiency in brain tissue. Which leads to the onset of headache with thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism Headache

When the thyroid gland becomes overactive, the rate of metabolism accelerates. It causes a variety of physiological changes in the body that may cause headaches.

  • High Metabolism Rate: The high level of thyroid hormone raises the body’s metabolism. Which in turn generates more heat and increases energy consumption. The increased metabolic rate allows more blood to flow through the brain. That causes a headache.
  • High Blood Pressure: Hyperthyroidism increases blood pressure. That further increases cardiac output. Hence, more chances of headaches.
  • Muscle Tension: Hyperthyroidism increases muscle stress around the neck and head region. It initiates headaches.
  • Stress and anxiety: Stress, restlessness, and anxiety are common triggers of migraine, and tension headache with thyroid.

Autoimmune Thyroid Disorders and Headaches

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Graves’ disease are two important thyroid-related autoimmune disorders. They occur when the body’s immune system misidentifies the thyroid gland and attacks it. Let’s dig into each disorder and look at how it might cause headaches.

Can Thyroid Problems Cause Headaches

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and Headache

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis takes place when the immune system attacks the thyroid gland. It causes inflammation and slow death of thyroid tissues. Another important symptom of headache can be changes in blood flow to the brain due to hypothyroidism.

Graves Disease and Headaches

Graves disease causes hyperthyroidism. The increase in thyroid hormones can have a variety of outcomes on the body including, heart rate, metabolism, and blood pressure. All these outcomes contribute to headaches.

What Thyroid Disorder Causes Headaches?

Thyroid disorders such as Graves disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can cause headaches. Hashimoto’s disease causes headaches due to low hormone levels. While Graves disease causes headaches due to abnormalities in metabolism. But medical advice is a must.

Existing Research on Thyroid Headache Connection

Several research studies demonstrate a thyroid-headache connection and suggest a clear link between thyroid dysfunction and headaches.

  • According to a research study published by The Journal of Headache and Pain. People with thyroid problems have a greater incidence of headaches than people with no thyroid problems. This study showed the role of the thyroid in headache development.
  • Another review article proposed that levels of thyroid hormones can affect neurotransmitter activity. That further causes headache symptoms.

Thyroid Headache Treatment

We hope till now you have got the answer of can thyroid problems cause headaches. Now, it comes to treating thyroid-related headaches. Healthcare practitioners often employ a thorough strategy to treat the symptoms. The following factors could become part of the treatment plan.

  • Thyroid Management: Effective thyroid management is important. Levothyroxine and anti-thyroid medications can also help to bring thyroid levels back to normal.
  • Painkillers: You can use over-the-counter medications like paracetamol or ibuprofen to relieve headaches. Use medications according to doctors’ advice to minimize side effects.
  • Change in Lifestyles: Leading a healthy life assists in minimizing headaches. This involves participating in regular exercises, managing stress, having a healthy diet, and acquiring sufficient sleep.
  • Identifying Triggers: Must recognize and avoid headache triggers, such as particular foods, environmental factors, and stressors. It can prevent headaches from occurring.
  • Migraine-Specific Drugs: If you have been diagnosed with a migraine. Take migraine-relieving drugs to treat the symptoms.
  • Resolving Hormonal Imbalance: In case of hormonal imbalance use suitable hormonal therapies
  • Regular Check-ups: Attend regular follow-up sessions to assess thyroid function. It is also essential to adjust the dosage and check the efficiency of treatment strategies.
  • Patient Education: It is important to educate patients regarding their ailments. It will help them thoroughly understand their disease, the importance of medications, and lifestyle improvements.

How to Diagnose Headache with Thyroid

An entire medical evaluation is usually required to diagnose headache with thyroid. The diagnosis may involve the following steps:

Can Thyroid Problems Cause Headaches

  • Medical History: The doctor will inquire about your symptoms, medical history, and family history. It will help in getting the patient’s disease progress.
  • Physical Examination: It helps to examine your overall health and seek signs of thyroid issues.
  • Thyroid Function Tests: Thyroid hormone tests such as T3, T4, and TSH are important to detect thyroid dysfunction.
  • Thyroid Imaging: X-Rays and Ultrasound are essential techniques to check the anatomy of the thyroid gland.
  • Headache Testing: The evaluation of headache patterns and features can help in detecting thyroid-related headaches. 

Parting Words

  • Can thyroid problems cause headaches? It is informed that not all headaches are thyroid related.
  • Stress, drug side effects, hormonal imbalance, and migraine among other factors can contribute to headaches. 
  • It is important to consult a healthcare specialist to identify the underlying cause of the headache. 
  • You can also consider our primary care specialists at Prime Health of New Jersey.
  • Several low-level headaches easily go away using painkillers. 
  • However, some require proper treatment and therapies.  
  • The therapy includes lifestyle changes, trigger detection, and correcting thyroid hormone levels. 

Regular check and patient education is also important to manage headaches and thyroid issues.


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Our Team

Dr. Farhan Malik Primary Care Physician
Dr. Shoaib Malik Primary Care Physician

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