Mizokami et al 2004 reports that most of the recent case-control studies have supported stress as a factor that affects the onset and clinical course of Graves’ disease. On the other hand, there have been few reports concerning the possible relationship between stress and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
So these most common thyroid disorders are autoimmune disorders where the body attacks its own tissue, in this case the thyroid gland.
Graves’ disease causes the thyroid to be overactive, also known as hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto’s causes it to be underactive, also known as hypothyroidism. Stress alone will not cause a thyroid disorder, but it can make the condition worse.
So if your thyroid is not happy then you will struggle with your hormonal balance. This is especially true at times of hormonal flux, puberty, post-natal and peri-menopause.
According to NHS UK an overactive thyroid can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:
• nervousness, anxiety and irritability
• mood swings
• difficulty sleeping
• persistent tiredness and weakness
• sensitivity to heat
• swelling in your neck from an enlarged thyroid gland (goitre)
• an irregular and/or unusually fast heart rate (palpitations)
• twitching or trembling
• weight loss
Whilst the symptoms of an underactive thyroid include
• weight gain
• being sensitive to the cold
• dry skin and hair
• muscle aches
These signs can be easily missed and the only accurate way to know for sure if you have a thyroid problem is to be tested.
However, by practising self care and managing your stress levels you can help your thyroid health.