Many people who are either overweight or underweight have problems with their thyroid. But what is the thyroid and how does it regulate weight? The thyroid is a gland that creates hormones, which are chemicals that run through your body communicating messages to your organs. The hormones secreted by your thyroid are responsible for keeping your metabolism (or body energy) intact and regulating body temperature and regulating your hormones.

If you have an overactive thyroid, you may metabolize too fast because you have too many hormones coming out of your thyroid forcing your body’s energy to increase. If you have an underactive thyroid you may not have enough hormones produced, your metabolism may be too slow and you could find yourself gaining weight.

Thyroiditis occurs when you are inflicted with any one or more of a group of thyroid disorders, all of which cause your thyroid to become inflamed and cause possible pain. You may also be overly tired, have weight gain, experience swelling in the legs, constipation and depression.

There are many different types of thyroiditis, but the most well known are postpartum thyroiditis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and drug induced thyroiditis. Postpartum Thyroiditis occurs after a baby has been delivered and can produce high levels of hormones from the thyroid. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a permanent form of hypo (or under active) thyroidism, and drug induced Thyroiditis is a result of certain drugs taken by the patient.

Interestingly, thyroiditis affects women much more often than it does men. You might already realize this to be true in the case of postpartum thyroiditis but it is not limited to that gender specific problem. Treatment for thyroiditis generally relies on hormone replacement therapy to compensate for the under active thyroid gland. Some thyroiditis go away after bed rest and anti-inflammatory drugs, and still others may need beta blockers (high blood pressure medications that block receptors) in order to get better.

One of the major problems with contracting any of the disorders that result in thyroiditis is that they are relatively hard for the average person to notice. If you happen to feel sluggish, tired and start gaining weight you might first ascribe the symptoms to laziness. Most people however, when feeling these feelings, do not go to the doctor until they have been experiencing them for a number of weeks, months or years. And this is understandable; after all, what do you think your primary care physician would say if you walked into his or her office complaining of fatigue, weight gain and constipation? They might suggest you change your diet, begin to exercise and drink more water.

That is why it is so important that you insist on lab tests to test the function of your thyroid before you suffer too much cell damage. If you are not someone who complains to their primary care physician often and you do not have a tendency to request rounds of expensive lab testing, he or she may be more than willing to complete the tests for you. If not, you may need to go to another physician for a second opinion.

Your health is the most important asset that you have. If you think you are suffering from thyroiditis and your physician will not run the tests and the change to your diet and exercise routine has not helped alleviate the symptoms, then you should not feel wrong in going for a second opinion. Just make sure you check with your insurance company to make sure the physician you get the second opinion from is in your network and that it is an insurable event before you go.

Last updated on Nov 30th, 2010 and filed under Endocrine System. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed