Living with Hashimoto’s and IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
IBS, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a common digestive disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. It is characterized by abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. While the exact cause of IBS is unknown in conventional medicine, there are many potential triggers, including stress, diet, and certain medications.
Hashimoto’s disease is an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid gland. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease include fatigue, weight gain, depression, and dry skin.
So, Can Hashimoto’s Disease Cause IBS?
While there is no direct link between the two conditions, some research suggests that Hashimoto’s disease may be a potential trigger for IBS. One study found that people with Hashimoto’s disease were more likely to have IBS than those without the condition. The study also found that people with Hashimoto’s disease were more likely to have IBS symptoms, such as abdominal pain and bloating.
Symptoms of Hashimoto’s
The manifestations of Hashimoto’s are alike to those observed in other circumstances wherein the thyroid is not functioning properly.
These symptoms include:
- Cool and dry skin
- Irregular menses
- Loss of body hair
- Hoarse voice
- Hair loss
- dry skin
- joint pain
- Weight gain
A blood test can display changes in thyroid hormones, where TSH levels are increased, and Free T4 and Free T3 are decreased. To diagnose Hashimoto’s, elevated thyroid autoantibodies (TPOabs or anti-thyroglobulin antibodies) must be present.
Functional Causes of IBS
There are several potential functional causes of IBS, including:
1. Altered gut motility: Abnormalities in the contractions of the digestive tract muscles can cause prolonged digestion and lead to IBS symptoms.
2. Altered gut microbiota: Changes in the types and quantities of bacteria in the gut can cause inflammation and other symptoms of IBS.
3. Stress: Anxiety and stress can trigger digestive symptoms and worsen existing IBS symptoms.
4. Food intolerance: Certain foods can cause inflammation in the gut and trigger IBS symptoms.
5. Hormone changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels can cause changes in gut motility and symptoms of IBS.
Hashimoto’s and Gut Health
Research has shown that a deficiency of thyroid hormones produced by the thyroid gland can cause decreased energy levels throughout the body, including the digestive system. This can result in gut problems such as IBS, slow transit time, constipation, and even bile stone formation. Studies further demonstrate that individuals with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have a higher rate of gallbladder removal than the general population.
Moreover, the microbes in the gastrointestinal tract affect the amounts of essential nutrients necessary for a healthy thyroid and the production of thyroid hormones. These consist of iron, iodine, copper, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D. This link between the digestive system and the thyroid is known as the thyroid-gut axis. It has resulted in investigations into the use of probiotic supplements to maintain thyroid health.
Maintaining gut health is essential for those with Hashimoto’s as it can help reduce inflammation and improve malabsorption (the body’s ability to absorb nutrients from food). Focus on eating a diet that is high in fiber and includes a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, including probiotic-rich fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi can help to support the gut microbiome and strengthen the gut barrier. Finally, avoiding foods that may be triggers for inflammation, such as gluten, dairy, and sugar, can help to reduce symptoms and promote better overall health.
It is also important to note that there are many potential triggers for IBS, including stress, diet, and certain medications. In summary, while there is no direct link between Hashimoto’s disease and IBS, some research suggests that Hashimoto’s disease may be a potential trigger for IBS.