does thyroid cause headaches

Mariah Brown

written by

Mariah Brown

update on

does thyroid cause headaches

Greetings reader! Are you curious about whether thyroid issues can cause headaches? You’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will explore the connection between the thyroid gland and headaches. As someone who has experienced the impact of thyroid-related headaches, I understand the desire to seek answers and find relief. So, let’s dive in and shed some light on this topic, shall we?

The thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck, plays a crucial role in regulating various bodily functions. When the thyroid gland is not functioning correctly, it can lead to a condition called hypothyroidism, which is characterized by an underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism can manifest in several ways, and headaches are one of the possible symptoms. Let’s take a closer look!

1. Understanding Hypothyroidism and Headaches

When the thyroid gland fails to produce sufficient thyroid hormones, it can impact numerous bodily functions, including metabolism, body temperature regulation, and energy levels. These hormonal imbalances can potentially trigger headaches in some individuals.

Although not everyone with hypothyroidism experiences headaches, it is not uncommon for thyroid-related headaches to occur. The exact mechanisms underlying these headaches are not yet fully understood, but researchers believe they may be a result of disrupted neurotransmitter function and altered blood flow to the brain.

Headaches and Migraines Linked to Hypothyroidism

Within the realm of hypothyroidism, two types of headaches are commonly associated: tension headaches and migraines.

Tension headaches: These headaches typically present as a dull, constant pain that can be felt on both sides of the head. They are often described as a tight band or pressure-like sensation. Tension headaches may be triggered or exacerbated by stress, muscle tension, and hormonal imbalances, including those caused by an underactive thyroid.

Migraines: Migraines are more severe and intense than tension headaches. They are usually characterized by a pulsating, throbbing pain on one side of the head, accompanied by nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual disturbances. While migraines have various triggers, including hormonal imbalances, some individuals with hypothyroidism may experience migraines as a result of their thyroid condition.

Although the relationship between thyroid disorders and headaches is not fully understood, it’s essential to be aware of the potential connection. If you are experiencing persistent or severe headaches, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

2. The Impact of Hypothyroidism on Headaches

Hypothyroidism affects numerous bodily functions, and its impact can extend to headaches as well. Let’s explore how an underactive thyroid can influence headaches and what you can do about it.

Changes in Hormonal Balance

One of the primary functions of the thyroid gland is hormone regulation. Thyroid hormones directly influence various bodily processes, including metabolism and the release of neurotransmitters. When the thyroid is underactive, it can disrupt the delicate balance of hormones and neurotransmitters, potentially leading to headaches.

Estrogen, a hormone that fluctuates throughout the menstrual cycle in women, can also be affected by hypothyroidism. The interplay between estrogen and thyroid hormones can contribute to the development of headaches, especially in women during reproductive years.

Compromised Blood Flow and Oxygen Supply

Hypothyroidism can adversely affect blood flow and oxygen supply to the brain. Inadequate blood flow can result in oxygen deprivation, leading to headaches. Additionally, the altered blood flow may impact the release of vasoactive substances, such as serotonin and nitric oxide, which are involved in pain perception and can contribute to headaches.

Furthermore, the thyroid hormone triiodothyronine (T3) helps regulate the elasticity and integrity of blood vessels. When T3 levels are low, vascular function may be compromised, potentially increasing the likelihood of headaches.

Addressing the Thyroid-Headache Connection

If you suspect that your headaches may be related to thyroid dysfunction, it’s essential to undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a healthcare professional. They will consider your symptoms, medical history, and potentially order blood tests to assess your thyroid function.

Treatment for thyroid-related headaches involves managing the underlying thyroid condition. Depending on the severity and underlying cause of the hypothyroidism, treatment typically involves thyroid hormone replacement therapy. This therapy aims to restore normal thyroid hormone levels, which in turn can help alleviate headaches.

It’s crucial to note that each individual’s experience with thyroid-related headaches may vary. While some may find relief from headaches once their thyroid hormone levels are optimized, others may require additional headache-specific treatments or lifestyle modifications.

3. Frequently Asked Questions about Thyroid-Related Headaches

Q: Can an overactive thyroid cause headaches?

A: Yes, an overactive thyroid, known as hyperthyroidism, can cause headaches. Hyperthyroidism accelerates bodily processes, including metabolism and heart rate, which can trigger headaches or migraines in some individuals.

Q: How do I know if my headaches are caused by a thyroid problem?

A: If you suspect your headaches may be related to a thyroid issue, consulting with a healthcare professional is crucial. They will evaluate your symptoms, medical history, and potentially order blood tests to assess your thyroid function.

Q: Can thyroid medication worsen headaches?

A: While it is rare, some individuals may experience headaches as a side effect of thyroid medication. If you notice an increase in headaches after starting thyroid medication, consult with your healthcare professional for further evaluation and potential adjustments to your treatment plan.

Q: Can thyroid-related headaches be prevented?

A: Preventing thyroid-related headaches primarily involves effectively managing your thyroid condition. It is crucial to work closely with a healthcare professional to optimize your thyroid hormone levels, as this can contribute to reducing the frequency and severity of headaches.

Q: Are there any natural remedies for thyroid-related headaches?

A: While natural remedies may provide relief for some individuals, it’s important to discuss any complementary or alternative treatments with your healthcare professional. They can help assess the potential benefits and risks, and guide you in making informed decisions about your treatment plan.

Q: Can stress worsen thyroid-related headaches?

A: Stress is not a direct cause of thyroid-related headaches, but it can exacerbate them. Stress management techniques, such as relaxation exercises, mindfulness, and regular exercise, may help reduce the frequency and severity of headaches.

Q: Are there any dietary recommendations for thyroid-related headaches?

A: Nutritional choices can affect overall health and potentially impact headaches. While there is no specific diet for thyroid-related headaches, maintaining a balanced diet, staying adequately hydrated, and avoiding known trigger foods (such as caffeine or processed foods) may help manage symptoms.

Q: Can hypothyroidism cause migraines?

A: Yes, migraines can be associated with hypothyroidism. Hormonal imbalances, alterations in blood flow, and other mechanisms related to hypothyroidism can contribute to the development or exacerbation of migraines.

Q: Are there any complementary therapies for thyroid-related headaches?

A: Certain complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, massage, and relaxation techniques, may provide relief for some individuals with thyroid-related headaches. It’s important to consult with your healthcare professional to determine the appropriateness and safety of these therapies for your specific situation.

Q: Can thyroid-related headaches go away on their own?

A: Thyroid-related headaches can improve or resolve once thyroid hormone levels are optimized. However, individual experiences may vary, and it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure proper management of your thyroid condition and associated symptoms.

Q: What other symptoms should I watch out for if I suspect thyroid-related headaches?

A: In addition to headaches, other common symptoms of hypothyroidism can include fatigue, weight gain, sensitivity to cold, muscle weakness, hair loss, dry skin, depression, difficulty concentrating, constipation, and menstrual irregularities. If you experience any of these symptoms along with headaches, it may be worth discussing thyroid function with your healthcare professional.


As we’ve explored, there can indeed be a connection between the thyroid and headaches. When the thyroid gland is underactive and causing hypothyroidism, headaches can be one of the possible symptoms. Understanding the underlying mechanisms and seeking appropriate diagnosis and treatment are essential for managing both the thyroid condition and associated headaches. Remember to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.

If you found this article informative, feel free to explore our other articles for more insights into thyroid-related topics. We wish you well on your journey to better health and relief from headaches!

Table Breakdown: Thyroid-related Headaches

Condition Headache Type Frequency and Severity Treatment Approach
Hypothyroidism Tension Headaches, Migraines Varies; may range from occasional to chronic Optimizing thyroid hormone levels with medication, lifestyle modifications, and headache-specific treatments
Hyperthyroidism Tension Headaches, Migraines Varies; may range from occasional to chronic Addressing and managing hyperthyroidism, lifestyle modifications, and headache-specific treatments

External Sources:

Leave a Comment