Thyroid dysfunction is such a headache! It’s hard having to cope with the extremely long list of symptoms and being unable to find relief. The symptoms of thyroid dysfunction aren’t just headaches; did you know that it can actually cause and intensify headaches? Yes, headaches are on the long list of symptoms associated with thyroid dysfunction.
First and foremost, what are headaches? That seems like a very easy question considering that most of us have experienced a headache at some point, but it may be more detailed than you think. Headaches are classified as pain located not only in the head, but also in the upper neck. The pain stems from the tissues that surround the skull or brain. Any of the surrounding tissues or muscles can become inflamed causing a headache which can range in severity from a dull ache to sharp pain.
While this definition gives us a general picture of headaches, it doesn’t expound on the various types of headaches that can be experienced.
The most common type of headache is a tension headache. These are caused from muscles contractions that result in mild to moderate pain. Another common form of headaches is the dreaded migraine. Migraines tend to be a result of blood vessel contractions in the brain, but the exact cause is still debated. Migraines cause pounding pain that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days. They also can result in altered vision, sensitivity to noise and odor, nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite.
The most severe type of primary headaches are cluster headaches, thankfully they are also the least common. The pain is described as intense and even a burning or piercing sensation normally located in the eye region. These headaches tend to come in groups, hence the name “cluster” headaches. They can be experienced multiple times per day and can last anywhere from a few days to a few months.
Other forms of headaches include sinus headaches, acute and chronic headaches, as well as hormone headaches. Thyroid dysfunction and headaches are typically referred to as a comorbid conditions, meaning that these are two separate conditions that simply coexist. That being said, comorbid conditions also tend to make the diagnosis and treatment process more difficult, as well as intensify the symptoms of the other condition.
The intensifying condition in this case is thyroid dysfunction and it can cause headaches or make them more severe. Research is still being conducted on the connection between headaches and hormones. Headache and pain management expert, Dr. John Clause Krusz, states, “Thyroid and other endocrine hormones can play a notable role in the development of headaches and migraines, and in their failure to respond to treatment.”1
This is a warning for all people, but especially women because women have a higher risk for thyroid dysfunction: if you are exhibiting some hypo or hyperthyroid symptoms and you have noticed that you tend to experience headaches, it is best to get your thyroid checked. Those headaches you’re experiencing may be an indication of an underlying condition.