I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at age 54, and fibromyalgia at age 55. I was symptomatic for both for years before my diagnoses, and have wondered if there could be a connection between the two conditions.
Hypothyroidism is characterized by an under-active thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of your neck. Symptoms can be similar to those of fibromyalgia, and range from depression to widespread muscle pain and stiffness, and problems sleeping.
An article by the for-profit website Fibromyalgia Treating, titled “The Relationship Between Hypothyroidism and Fibromyalgia,” states that “fibromyalgia is thought to originate from an increase in pain sensitivity caused by neurochemical imbalances in the brain and spine. The link between fibromyalgia and hypothyroidism has some basis in that. They may have a link because of how the thyroid hormones work. Since the thyroid hormones actually set the body’s sensitivity thresholds to other hormones, it’s believed the alteration of the brain’s and spine’s neurochemicals may cause this to happen.”
According to this article, our thyroid hormones affect serotonin levels in our brain, which is also one of the chemicals in the brain affected by FM. As a side note, I was diagnosed with chemically related depression about four years prior to be being diagnosed with hypothyroidism. Now that diagnosis makes more sense to me.
The different research I’ve found online appears to show a connection between FM and hypothyroidism. I’m sure more research and future studies will help to confirm a link between the two conditions.
If you’ve never had your thyroid tested, you may want to discuss doing so with your doctor. Be sure they test your T3 and T4 levels. Most physicians just test the TSH levels, but that’s not the best indicator.
TSH stands for thyroid stimulating hormone. It’s secreted by the pituitary gland. If your TSH is too high then you’re considered hypothyroid. TSH acts on your thyroid gland to produce the hormones T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). T3 and T4 will be low if you’re hypothyroid. Kind of a mouthful, I know.
After having been on a T4 medication for years, my new functional medicine doctor checked my T3 level as well, and added a T3 medication to my daily regimen. It is really helping me to feel better in so many ways. As long as I don’t overdo things and fibromyalgia doesn’t start kicking my butt, I have less brain fog and a bit more energy. I’ve only been on this combo for three months, an I’m excited to see what the long-term results will be.
Have you had your thyroid tested?
Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.