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Is It True That Hypothyroidism Causes Weight Gain?

is-it-true-that-hypothyroidism-causes-weight-gain

Hypothyroidism is a hormonal problem in which the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough thyroid hormones. These thyroid hormones perform many important functions in the body including maintaining the body’s metabolism and weight. Therefore it is true that hypothyroidism can be a likely cause of weight gain in a person. 

What are the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism?

General signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are:-

  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Tiredness
  • Skin dryness
  • Weight gain
  • Swollen face
  • Constipation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hair thinning
  • Reduced heart rate
  • The rise in blood cholesterol level
  • Problems related to memory
  • Depression
  • Enlarged thyroid gland

How hypothyroidism causes weight gain?

The exact mechanism by which hypothyroidism causes weight gain is unclear as yet. The thyroid hormones interact with several other tissues in the body including fat cells, brain cells, the liver, muscles and the pancreas. It is believed that hypothyroidism helps to regulate appetite as well as the metabolism of the body. Low levels of thyroid hormones slow down the metabolism of the body. This makes the body burn fewer calories while resting or meeting energy needs during work. This eventually leads to weight gain.

Apart from this, it is seen that around 40% of people who have hypothyroidism feel fatigued more easily than normal people. This will lead to a decrease in physical activity and turn more contribution to weight gain. 

However, it is important to keep in mind that though weight gain is often seen in hypothyroidism, an excess weight gain of 20 pounds or more is not solely found to be due to thyroid problems. Usually, in such cases, other factors such as diet, decreased physical activity or high-stress levels are also found to be the contributing factors.

Also Read Is Homeopathic Treatment Effective For Thyroid?

What are the causes of hypothyroidism?

Some of the causes that lead to hypothyroidism are:-

  • Autoimmune disease- In this, the immune system erroneously produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland and disrupt its functions.
  • Thyroid surgery– At times a surgery conducted on the thyroid gland reduces or halts the synthesis of hormones by the thyroid gland.
  • Radiation therapy– Radiations targeted to treat cancerous cells can also adversely influence the thyroid gland.
  • Congenital disease- At times due to an inherited disorder the thyroid gland is defective or even absent since birth.
  • Certain medications such as those containing lithium can produce an imbalance in the secretion of thyroid hormones.
  • Stress– Prolonged mental and physical stress can lead to hormonal dysfunction.

What are the diagnostic tools for hypothyroidism?

Common tests to diagnose hypothyroidism are:-

  • Thyroid function tests- These tests measure levels of TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone, T4 or thyroxine and T3 or triiodothyronine. 
  • Thyroid antibody test to rule out the presence of autoimmune thyroid problem.

How to lose weight due to hypothyroidism?

It is seen that starting treatment for low thyroid levels only helps to stop further weight gain. It is not having any significant role to reduce the weight one has already gained.  There are certain tips that can help to lose weight and also promote good thyroid health.

  • Eliminate refined carbohydrates and sugars from the diet- Food items that have a low glycemic index i.e. those food items that have the least chance to spike the blood sugar levels, are seen to help in weight loss. Food items with low glycemic index include beans, whole grains, meat, fish, berries and non-starchy vegetables. 
  • Avoid processed food 
  • Have nutrient-rich whole foods- It is important to have a nutritious diet to meet the daily recommended value. Also, it is seen that certain vitamins and minerals especially zinc and selenium even lead to healthy thyroid function. Improving thyroid function is essential to maintain optimum metabolism and weight.
  • Monitor fasting blood glucose levels- It is seen that at times hypothyroidism is associated with metabolic syndrome. This means increased fasting glucose levels in the blood and in turn an increased risk of developing diabetes. This can make weight loss even more difficult.
  • Get adequate sleep- Inadequate sleep has been linked with weight gain. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine at least 7 hours of sleep is needed each night and a sleep schedule must be maintained consistently. 
  • Restrict alcohol intake- Alcohol adds excess calories to the diet and thus it has been associated with weight gain in some people. Therefore reducing the intake of alcohol is important to lose weight.
  • Avoid gluten- A celiac disease in which the body shows an immune reaction to gluten has been associated with autoimmune hypothyroidism. In such cases, a gluten-free diet is shown to help improve the function of the thyroid gland and this in turn can help to reduce weight. 
  • Adequate exercise- According to the centers for disease control at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity each week is recommended to promote ideal mental and physical health.

Also Read Homeopathic Medicine for Thyroid

What is the homeopathic treatment for hypothyroidism?

Homeopathy has a significant role to play in the treatment of hypothyroidism. Homeopathic medicine not only helps to manage the signs and symptoms caused by an underactive thyroid gland but it helps to stimulate the thyroid gland and revitalize it too. This enables the thyroid gland to produce enough thyroid hormones by itself instead of relying on synthetic thyroid hormones as prescribed in conventional treatment. The best homeopathic medicine to treat hypothyroidism and related disorders is constitutional medicine.  

Common homeopathic medicines for thyroid problems

Calcarea carbonica– It is suitable to treat patients who are fair, fat and have flabby muscles. They are tired easily, especially from ascending stairs, have sensitivity to cold, profuse sweat on the head and heavy menses from the least excitement. They desire eggs a lot and have a tendency to get constipated.

Graphites– It is suited to treat people that are obese, constipated and sensitive to cold. They tend to be timid, indecisive and weep even from listening to music and have a very strong tendency to develop unhealthy nails and skin problems, especially in the folds of the body with sticky discharges. 

Kali Carbonicum– It is suited to treat people who get tired easily, sweat profusely and tend to suffer from backache. The onset of complaints is related to the time of pregnancy or labor. They desire sweets and have sleeplessness worse from 2-4 am. They have characteristic swelling of the upper eyelids.

Sepia– It is suited to people who suffer from weakness, yellow complexion, bearing down sensation, leucorrhoea, frequent headaches with hair fall and sensitivity to cold even in a warm room. As a people, they get irritated easily and have indifference even towards family members.

CONCLUSION

Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid gland affects adversely affects the metabolism of body. This leads to many signs and symptoms. It is true that hypothyroidism leads to weight gain. Hypothyroidism slows down the metabolism of the body as well as leads to easy fatigue. Due to this the number of calories that the body burns while at rest or during physical activity gets reduced significantly which eventually leads to weight gain.

Apart from changes in diet and lifestyle homeopathy has a significant role to play in the treatment of hypothyroidism and associated weight gain. It is recommended to refer to a trained homeopathic physician for the treatment of this problem. One can buy Dr Wilmar Schwabe’s authentic and best-quality homeopathic medicines for hypothyroidism online in India.

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