This Article is From Aug 14, 2020

Adverse Effect Of Stress On Thyroid Function: Here's What You Need To Know

Stress can have a negative effect on your body weight, mental health and thyroid function too. Read here as expert explain how stress is affecting your thyroid function.

Adverse Effect Of Stress On Thyroid Function: Here's What You Need To Know

Stress can negatively affect your health in several ways


  • Stress can affect secretion of hormones
  • Stress can affect your health in various ways
  • Regular exercise can help you best stress effectively

Stress can affect your health negatively in several ways. From weight gain to higher risk of heart disease, stress is harmful to your health in several ways. Several factors can contribute to day to stress but uncontrolled and prolonged stress is more harmful than you think. But many are not aware of the bad effect of stress of thyroid function. Thyroid is an important gland of the human body responsible for secretion of vital hormones. Several diseases can affect the functioning of this gland. In this article Dr. Dheeraj Kapoor, head of Department of Endocrinology at Artemis Hospital explains how stress can affect the functioning thyroid function.

Effect of stress on thyroid function

Dr. Kapoor explains, "Stress is a part of everyday life these days which not only impacts your mental wellbeing but also disrupts physical health. While, stress alone won't be a cause for thyroid disorder but may contribute to worsening of symptoms. The thyroid works in synchrony with the adrenal glands which release the flight and fight hormones and can, therefore, handle small amounts of stress."

"Thyroid in addition also plays an important role in the metabolism and regulation of vital body functions. Under stress, the body releases cortisol, a hormone from the adrenal; the excess of which can interfere with thyroid hormone production," Dr. Kapoor adds.

Also read: Everything About Hypothyroidism 


Stress can lead to hormonal imbalance
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Effect on body

The impact of stress may result in slowing down the body's metabolism which also reflects the interconnection of stress and weight gain. Besides, high cortisol levels in stress impact the hypothyroid or euthyroid conditions by lowering T3 (triiodothyronine).

During stress, the active T3 level decreases, and the production of reverse T3 increases which may contribute to hypothyroidism, as well as weight gain, fatigue, and anxiety. In fact, it is not at all uncommon to find low T3 levels in chronically ill patients.

Also read: Too Stressed? These Habits Might Be Stressing You Out

It has also been observed that excess stress leads to a decrease in optimal immune system function, possibly as a result of increased cortisol level. Thus, it is important to have an apt balance between stress hormones and thyroxine for proper thyroid function.


A healthy diet and lifestyle can help in controlling stress
Photo Credit: iStock

How to control this?

While most thyroid conditions can be controlled or treated with medication, but unfortunately, stress requires lifestyle changes. To maintain optimal thyroid balance with medications or otherwise and to keep other health problems at bay, one needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle with mind-body therapy like yoga or meditation. Healthy eating habits along with exercise can go a long way in keeping these hormone levels in check, explains Dr. Kapoor.

Also read: 5 Causes Of Hypothyroidism You Should Know

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.