Hypothyroidism and What It Shares with MS

Hypothyroidism and What It Shares with MS

Faith of the Mustard Seed
In 2004, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid is underactive and doesn’t product enough important hormones. Six years later, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). Naturally, I became curious as to whether a link might exist between between hypothyroidism and MS.

I am sure that there many people living with layers of health issues in the world. For those of us with MS, who have been diagnosed with other diseases or complications, I wonder: Is there a connection, or is it just a random occurrence?

According to a Mayo Clinic list, hypothyroidism may be accompanied by these symptoms:

• Fatigue
• Increased sensitivity to cold
• Constipation
• Dry skin
• Weight gain
• Puffy face
• Hoarseness
• Muscle weakness
• Elevated blood cholesterol level
• Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
• Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
• Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
• Thinning hair
• Slowed heart rate
Depression
• Impaired memory

Hypothyroidism results from the thyroid gland not producing enough hormones. The disease, however, may be due to many factors, including an inflammatory disorder known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is the most common cause of hypothyroidism. Autoimmune disorders are when your immune system creates antibodies that attack your body, including the thyroid gland. This can be due to a virus, bacterium, or a genetic flaw. Most likely, autoimmune diseases result from more than one factor.

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Regardless of how such a disease may develop, it always seems as if inflammation is involved in some way.

The Mayo Clinic also lists the following risk factors for hypothyroidism:

• Being a woman older than age 60
• Having a family history of thyroid disease
• Having an autoimmune disease
• Having been treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications
• Having received radiation to the neck or upper chest
• Past thyroid surgery (partial thyroidectomy)
• Have been pregnant or delivered a baby within the past six months

It is very apparent to me that the similarities between hypothyroidism and MS are undeniable. Inflammation is a powerful contender to deal with, and it appears to be a key player in many diseases, especially autoimmune ones.  In an upcoming column, I will examine the beast known as inflammation, researching on what contributes to inflammation, and what we can do to combat it.

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Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

29 comments

    • Debi Wilson says:

      Hi Nick,
      I agree Vitamin D deficiency seems to be a big part of chronic illness as well. I cannot ignore though all I been reading and discovering about inflammation and the huge impact it has on our health. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject! Debi

  1. Mimi Corby Sprague says:

    I have been reading The Medical Medium by Anthony Williams … He correlates both diseases to Epstein Barr Virus.

  2. Gloria says:

    I have hyperthyroidism and am treating it with a gluten-free, noninflammatory diet and supplementation, as described in Izabella Wenzt’s book: Hashimotos Thyroiditis Lifestyle Interventions for treating the Root Cause. Seems to be working as TPO aby levels and other markers are way down and my Vitamin D is 86 ng/mL even after a winter up north.

  3. Ursula says:

    I have hypothyriodism and take Tecfidera for P.P.M.S. After reading about the claims re – biotin & M.S. I started self-medicating biotin with diasterous consequences. As biotin is basically a vitamin I thought that I would not require input from my doctor. How wrong was I! My throid levels became dangerously high. It has taken 6/8 months to get back on track.

    • Debi Wilson says:

      I’m very sorry that happened to you Ursula! It is always very important to consult with your Doctor before starting anything new! I was told recently that with high dose Biotin you can get false lab readings especially thyroid. They suggest stopping Biotin 1 week before having lab tests. Yours took 6-8 months to correct so it doesn’t sound like a false reading. Best wishes Debi

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I have hypothyroid, MS and still having hormone problems years after the change. I’m in a wheelchair majority of time. I’ve known for years in my heart they’re tied together.

  5. Jacquie says:

    I have MS & underactive thyroid, my daughter has fibromyalgia and ME I’m sure there is a connection there also, thank you for your research
    Regards Jacquie

  6. Jaclyn Picone says:

    Hello. I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism years ago after taking prednisone it threw my thyroid levels off. I am very sensitive to all medications. In 2014 I was diagnosed with MS. I feel like these are related in someway however I don’t believe one causes the other. Since both are related to autoimmune I think that you must be careful with what medications you take because I know I have sensitivities and allergies to many things, which throws my thyroid off. Just going to the dentist Lidocane threw me off and I’ve had heart palpitations ever since. So be careful everyone and pay close attention to what your body tells you.

  7. Peta McIntyre says:

    Thyroidism is prevalent in both sides of my family. I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease aged 16. Twenty years on and it became underactive. I have since been diagnosed with M.S. and Parkinson’s Disease. A cousin in my paternal family, was the first diagnosed with M.S., then last year, one of my daughter’s was diagnosed with M.S. Neither have thyroid problems…so far.
    My mother was one of six children, four of whom were female. All bar one of them, was diagnosed with underactive thyroids in their early 60’s. The one who wasn’t died of Parkinson’s Disease, in 1970. She lived in New York at the time, and was on the first trials for dopamine.

  8. Donna says:

    I was diagnosed first with MS &fibromyalgia. A few years later, a heart attack. Next I was told I, “ no doubt “ had generalized Dystonia. Now I have hypothyroidism. Are they all somehow connected?
    Smad4 and HHT also run in the family, as well as cancerous polyps and various other types of cancer, stomach,colon, liver and lung

  9. Christine says:

    Hi, I had 3 uncles on my dads side and one Aunty with MS, my brother died at 52 with MS. I have FB and ha hashimotto, 14 month ago had thyroid cancer, they rent the whole thyroid part of the parathyroid and 8 lymph nodes. Parpillary cancer. My health is just deteratatimg and I am so weak and exhausted and have memory loss etc … I think I have MS pretty sure I do- but just get told it’s FB and I need to take it seriously. I can’t keep pushing, I’ve decided when I got diagnosed with FB at 32 I wasn’t going to stop me- I have pushed and pushed myself- I can’t anymore I’m 56 …. I can’t do it anymore. My dr thinks it’s too hard for me to get disability support. Really I can’t. I’m a Tafe teacher, my brain gets lost, my balance goes, students thought I was going to faint last week. My vision is crazy my hands and arms are crazy my little fingers are changing direction ( lol best way of explaining it) I don’t know what to do or what to ask for when is see the dr.

    • Bonnie says:

      Christine it would be very wise for you to get a second or even 3rd Drs opinion. Or find a good Thyroid specialist and ask for a referral to have thyroid antibodies blood test. Even though you had thyroid removed It would still be wise to have thyroid antibodies test done. Also there is a test called a Reverse T3 blood test. Most importantly You need to have a brain scan done as MS often will show up on scan. ALWAYS ask for a copy of any test results you get. Please take special care.

      Bonnie

      • Jennifer says:

        I would also recommend getting a consult with an actual Multiple Sclerosis Specialist, not just a Neurologist and see if you need a lumbar puncture/Spinal Tap to see what your opening CSF pressure is that information in combination with any brain MRI’s could be very vital in the possible diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis, in my opinion.

    • Heather Green says:

      I’d ask for a MRI of at least your brain, they do brain, cervical and thoracic MRIs on me every 6 months, then if there are lesions the can test further from there. I was dx’d with Fibromyalgia in 2008, also at 32, CFS in 2010,then hypothyroidism in 2012, Chronic pain in 2012,and finally MS in 2016. I currently have some crazy infection in my thyroid that has made it huge. The doctor doing the imaging for the bx I was meant to have of a large nodule in there thought I was a completely different patient and had to ho back and check the images from my prior scan again. My thyroid hurts so, so bad and I deal with pain from nerve damage, neck injury and back injury, the thyroid pain makes the rest of it look like nothing. Now I’m on steroids and a beta blocker for the dumb acute thyroiditis! It’s all so irritating. I’m the only one in my family with all these crazy health issues.

  10. Bob says:

    I also have MS, induced by damage caused by Agent Orange, as well as many of the major health issues associated with that “safe” defoliant. I also suffer from Hypothyroidism. I have used natural supplements for decades to help stave off the affects. Diet alone has not been enough.
    I wonder if all the hormones and all the pesticides and such, once considered safe, are major contributors to having a generation of people suffering from so many auto immune related illnesses? That coupled with mis/ under-diagnoses?

    The medical community has recommended to the VA Secretary that Thyroid issues be added to the list of things attributed to AO. Of course the Secretary said he would consider it after assessing the financial and political ramifications.

    With things such a Roundup,( similar to AO) still being used despite overwhelming evidence that it is a real threat, I suspect that in the future, we will see a much larger percentage of the population dealing with Autoimmune deceases and Thyroid issues.

    • Dee says:

      Bob,
      My husband also has MS, that we attribute to Agent Orange. It was well controlled by Tysabri until he was forced off it 2 years ago. This opened a floodgate of symptoms. He then tried Tecfidera, but apparently it was not strong enough for it. So, he is now completely paralyzed. His thyroid levels have changed and they recently upped his thyroid medication. He is now without MS medication, and is SPMS. We’ve consulted several neurologists, all of which say palliative care. I am encouraged by the investigation into sobetirome, which I think may help if it is released in time. It is a thyroid hormone mimic, (as I understand it) that would stimulate remylination, without adverse side effects.
      Until then, I’d like to know what natural supplements you have been using to help with your MS, since you’ve had some success and my husband is no longer being prescribed MS medicines. We are using 2000 IUs of Vitamin D. I’ve heard of lipoic acid and wondered if you had tried it.

  11. KIM says:

    I was DX in 2012 with MS. Just this week I had an ultrasound on my thyroid. My Dental Hygienist noticed it was swollen and asked my Dr to have it checked( Small town bonus) Well, it appears I have goiters on my Thyroid, I have to go for a biopsy to rule out Cancer. Yay me.

  12. Arlene Kashishian says:

    I have graves disease.i have been dealing with this since 1979.i was 14 when diagnosed. I ended up with rapid heart beat.i had lived in New Jersey and pennsylvania for 30 years.in 2016 I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.i am sure these 2 autoimmune diseases are related.i was exposed to alot of radiation due to X-rays and living near three nuclear power plants have they made any new links between these co-occuring auto Immune diseases?

  13. Carri Milosz says:

    Im 39. I have hypothyroidism since i was 12 and MS was diagnosed last year after 10 years worth of documented symptoms not caused by thyroid.let me tell you that was one hell of a fight to get someone who finally believed me and not tell me it was all in my head. I have tried every possible treatment and cure all out there and gone through book and article on both diseases. Heres what i know… flouride is your enemy.i dont know why but just get it out of your life right now. Adding vitamin d to your system is a bandaid and your going to build up an immunity to it.so heads up on that.it stops helping after 10 or so years. Tea tree oil is a cure all ! start putting 3 drops in some water and rinsing your mouth with it. 100’s of your minor issues just go away. Rub it on your numb arms or legs daily. Slowly feeling will return over time in can take months but it works. add it to your moistureiser. Your muscles and skin will start … regenerating for lack of a better term. 3 drops on the back of your neck will cure your migrains. 1 drop in you ear rather than ear drops will improve hearing issues and get rid of an infection if used for one week once a day… this list goes on and on. The only thing i have changed is my attitude. I am not a victim. Nothing anyone has done has helped me.but this is not anyone elses fault or problem. Its mine.stop blaming drug companys for your issues you took those drugs willingly stop blaming agincies that fed you the wrong foods or genetics. I keep hearing were all unique but it runs in my family. So are you unique or are you the same as your parents? Which is it? I am me this is what works for me and nothing in my past is due to anyones choices but my own. I am a prouduct of my own making and not the result of someone elses desisions or opinions. If you choose to stop being a victim you will get better sooner. I make no promises of a cure. But its your attitude and that weird tree and its oil that work. I dont know why tea tree oil works. Or how it does all the things it does. But i have yet to get someone to try it and have it not work so….. thats what i know. And i spent 25+ years having doc after doc tell me it was all in my head. Good luck to you all. Just dont give up and stop being a victim. Its your life and your choice to live it or not
    I still have days i have to remind myself of that.but it truly changes everything once you get it.

  14. Natalie says:

    Carrie, did you find a way to use it for memory? I’m struggling with my memory the most right now.

    Im 33, was diagnosed with Hashimotos in 2015, just diagnosed with essential tremors last week even though I’ve been shaking since high school. The tremors finally got so bad I sometimes have difficulty eating. The neurologist also wants to keep an eye on me for MS and do another MRI in a yr but I want a second opinion. I’m too active and too young to give up.

  15. Neil says:

    I am 36 diagnosed with hyperthyroidism at 26 after legs went numb.
    Just diagnosed with ms, not sure how it’s related but feel it is. Worries me that my kids could get ms one day. Some say its not hereditary but others say it is. All so confusing. I currently have shooting leg pains and pain in arms with face tingling and legs. Have not started therapy yet. Am on medicare and looking for medigap plans and prescription plans if anyone has a helpful suggestion on plans

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