Why Do We Often Need Less Thyroid Medication in Warmer Months?
It’s all to do with our thyroid gland (as you probably guessed!), thyroid hormones, and how our metabolism works. With this sudden warm weather here in the UK, I felt it appropriate to explore why we may need less thyroid meds at this time of year.
The main purpose of thyroid hormones, produced by the thyroid gland (or input via thyroid medication), is to ensure that the metabolism is running properly. People with an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism (and often not properly medicated for it) will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism, such as feeling cold a lot of the time.
We need the correct amount of thyroid hormones in our bodies to burn calories in order to create heat and fuel, which is important, in particular for your body temperature and energy levels.
In the winter, we have a greater need for thyroid hormones, in order to create extra heat and fuel, to keep us warm and energised in the harsher months. When it’s the colder time of year, we have a greater need for these hormones to produce the extra heat and energy that we need to feel well.
In the warmer months, due to the body not needing to work as hard to keep us warm, we don’t need as much thyroid hormone, and it is for this reason, that some thyroid patients lower their thyroid medication slightly in the summer or when they go on holiday to a warmer country.
It’s because of this that patients also often experience less hypothyroid symptoms in warmer climates.
In simple terms, our body needs less thyroid hormone (present in thyroid medication) to keep us feeling well when it is warmer, as the metabolism isn’t needing to work as hard to generate body heat and energy. – Two things we often struggle with as hypothyroid patients!
It’s definitely worth talking to your doctor about this if you notice that you feel particularly worse in the colder months, and think you could do with a slight medication change to get through the harder time of year for your body.
If you’re still feeling cold in summer when everyone else is stripping off the layers, you definitely need a full thyroid panel doing ASAP to check all levels.
You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given, but more reading and references can also be found at:
Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
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