Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) linked to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation

hypothyroidism-underactive-thyroid-linked-to-irritable-bowerl-syndrome-ibs-constipationHypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is linked to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and constipation. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid does not produce enough hormones in order for the cells in the body to operate properly. Although there is not a direct relationship between hypothyroidism and IBS, many patients find they have complications with both conditions simultaneously.

Hypothyroidism can affect many parts of the body, including the digestive system. Because of this, hypothyroidism can contribute to constipation and bloating. Diarrhea can also be affected by hypothyroidism, but it happens as a result of small intestine bacteria overgrowth. Furthermore, individuals with Hashimoto’s disease (one of the common causes of hypothyroidism) are at a higher risk for celiac disease.


In order to better manage IBS with hypothyroidism, it is important to keep on top of your condition and adhere closely to the treatments that your doctor has set out for you. This can help ensure your IBS symptoms do not worsen due to hypothyroidism.

Thyroid gland and its effect on your digestion

Hormones produced by the thyroid work to help cells in the body function properly. Your metabolism is one of those processes that heavily rely on the thyroid hormones.

Constipation and diarrhea result from the lack or excess of hormones, which can negatively impact digestive juice exertion, rate, and strength of peristalsis, T4 to T3 conversion, and gut flora’s role in the thyroid hormone levels.

T4 is created in response to the brain sending out a chemical known as thyroid stimulating hormone. T3 is the hormone the cells require, and both hormones are made from iodine. If there is minimal iodine in the body, they cannot be created.

Constipation can be a result of hypothyroidism, because there are fewer cells to help control the metabolism, which creates slower and fewer waves, decreasing mobility and thus contributing to constipation.

Hypothyroidism constipation remedies


It is important to treat hypothyroidism in order to treat constipation. Your doctor can prescribe medications to improve thyroid function in order to produce normal levels of hormones, so that your metabolism does not become sluggish.

There are many remedies aside from medications you may also wish to try as means to aid in hypothyroidism-induced constipation. These include:

  • Sticking to a gluten-free diet, as gluten has been found to slow down the thyroid.
  • Increasing your fiber intake
  • Taking a daily probiotic
  • Increasing your magnesium intake, as its deficiency is quite common in hypothyroidism
  • Drinking warm water with lemon
  • Removing fluoride from your diet as it competes with iodine
  • Speaking to your doctor about boosting your iodine levels

By following some of these tips and talking to your doctor about your symptoms, you can have better success in treating IBS and hypothyroidism together.

Author Bio

Mohan Garikiparithi got his degree in medicine from Osmania University (University of Health Sciences). He practiced clinical medicine for over a decade before he shifted his focus to the field of health communications. During his active practice he served as the head of the Dept. of Microbiology in a diagnostic centre in India. On a three-year communications program in Germany, Mohan developed a keen interest in German Medicine (Homoeopathy), and other alternative systems of medicine. He now advocates treating different medical conditions without the use of traditional drugs. An ardent squash player, Mohan believes in the importance of fitness and wellness.



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