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Hypothyroidism and Weight Loss

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Hypothyroidism is defined as a condition where the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones for the body. A person said to have hypothyroidism has an “underactive thyroid” gland.

The American Thyroid Association lists the common causes of hypothyroidism as autoimmune disease, thyroid removal and radiation treatment. Less common causes are congenital hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, some medicines, too much or too little iodine, damage to the pituitary gland and some rare disorders such as amygloidosis or sarcoidosis.

As a person continues to suffer from hypothyroidism, they will experience fatigue, dry skin, forgetfulness or depression, constipation, and yes, weight gain. Of course, the only way to find out if you have hypothyroidism is to be tested. Once tested and hormone levels are regulated, weight loss may occur naturally, but what if it doesn’t?

For some, it took a long time to get a diagnosis of hypothyroidism because the symptoms appear slowly and over an extended period of time. In such a case, a person would end up having more weight gain. Remember, the thyroid hormone affects the metabolism -– slowing it down drastically. Therefore, a person is burning fewer calories and doing less as a result of fatigue and achiness.

So, it is important to keep a few things in mind. First, make sure that you are prescribed the proper amount of medicine for treatment. If you are not, your hormones will not level out as normal and you will maintain excess weight. This may mean adding T3 (a secondary thyroid hormone) if necessary. Next, be mindful that some supplements can block thyroid drugs. This includes supplements such as calcium, vitamins with iron and even some antacids or calcium-fortified orange juice. Additionally, break your meals into smaller and more frequent ones. This gives your system time to do its job at a healthier pace.

In regards to meal planning, it is good to decrease breads, pastas and starches in general. Try to limit refined sugars to the bare minimum. On the other hand, do increase your veggies.

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Thanks for the excellent reminders about symptoms of hypothyroidism. There are so many of them and they can occur over such a long period of time that many women just don't realize that that's what could be going on.

For those who want to learn more about hypothyroidism:


January 14, 2010 - 8:53am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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