It is not unusual for people who have this condition to see their symptoms of hypothyroidism improve after cutting out alcohol from their diet. Avoiding drinking alcohol when you are suffering from hypothyroidism can do wonders for your overall health and may even help prevent many other diseases in the future. Hypothyroidism is a condition caused by an underactive thyroid gland which leads to lower-than-normal levels of certain hormones. It mostly affects women over 40 and men of the same age range, but it can happen at any time in life, it does not discriminate against age.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a decrease in the production of thyroxine by the thyroid gland. This hormone is responsible for maintaining metabolism and energy levels in the body. Thyroxine controls temperature, weight, heart rate and more. When thyroxine levels decrease you feel tired, sluggish and generally not well.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, feeling cold all the time, low mood, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, dry skin, hair loss (females), constipation and depression among many others.
Can drink alcohol cause hypothyroidism?
Alcohol does not cause hypothyroidism but can make it worse. Alcohol is broken down into a toxin by the liver which causes many problems for the body, including hormone imbalance. Long-term exposure to this toxin can also cause damage to the liver, kidneys and brain. If you have autoimmune thyroidism and alcohol (Hashimoto’s disease) then alcohol in moderate amounts may actually help with your symptoms but it is still important to cut back if you have been heavily drinking as your immune system may be compromised so much that it will take longer than normal for your thyroid hormone levels to return to normal and you could feel very sick until they do return.
How do I know if I have hypothyroidism?
You should see your doctor if you have been feeling unwell enough to see a doctor and they found that your thyroid gland is underactive (hypothyroidism). Your GP will run some tests, including measuring TSH, T3 and T4 in the blood. If your levels are low then you will be diagnosed with hypothyroidism. If you have symptoms but your levels are normal then you may be experiencing ‘subclinical’ hypothyroidism. This means that although the symptoms of lowered thyroid hormone levels are there they are not enough to push the level below the normal range.
Does drinking alcohol affect hypothyroidism?
Alcohol has a number of effects on the body and it is important to remember that not all people will react the same way when they drink alcohol. Factors such as age, gender, weight, lifestyle and genes all play a part in how their reaction is to alcohol. Some people are very sensitive to the effects of alcohol while others can drink more than a glass of wine without any ill effects. For example; you may feel tired or lethargic and have low moods but not feel ill at all.
High doses of alcohol can be toxic to the body. Alcohol can interfere with the metabolism of thyroid hormones and lead to hypothyroidism, especially in women over the age of 30. Alcohol consumption also reduces appetite, affecting weight loss or gain. Alcohol also increases estrogen levels in males and females. Estrogen levels are already high in overweight people and may increase symptoms of hypothyroidism such as weight gain, breast tenderness, headaches, bloating and irregular periods. It is best not to drink if you have a thyroid condition but those who do consume alcohol should only drink small amounts 2-3 times per week at most.