Stress and Hyperthyroidism: A Relationship That You Should Be Aware of

It's important to control stress in all illnesses. When it comes to the thyroid gland this is especially important, since it's possible to worsen the situation and cause hyperthyroidism.  We'll show you what you can do to improve these situations.
Stress and Hyperthyroidism: A Relationship That You Should Be Aware of
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 January, 2023

Stress and hyperthyroidism share a common link that we all need to know.

As we already know, illnesses associated with the thyroid gland are fairly common. However, what’s not so well known is the possibility that common factors like stress produce a change in the type of hormone produced by the thyroid.

In the following article, we’ll talk more about the relationship between stress and this condition.

Stress and Hyperthyroidism

Stress and hyperthyroidism are related through our suprarenal glands. To better understand this link, we’re going to look deeper into our stress mechanism.

Stress and our immune system

Believe it or now, stress alone can change our thyroid gland when the stress is chronic. Chronic means that we have bouts of stress for three months to a year. This includes nervousness and agitation, which leads to vital psychological distress.

  • When this happens, the first thing that stress does is stimulate the hypothalamus and the hypophisis.
  • These two cerebral parts stimulate the suprarenal glands.
  • What happens next is the following: our immune system not only becomes weaker, but also changes.
  • Cytokines and inflammatory processes appear. This means that our own system of defense attacks us because it perceives a threat. It doesn’t know where it’s coming from and reacts in the worst way: it attacks itself.

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Stress and hyperthyroidism

What tends to occur with frequency is that the thyroid gland is another object that attacks our own immune system.

  • In this case, we should talk about a concrete clinical condition: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, or autoimmune hypothyroidism.
  • Likewise, we should not forget that stress causes some people to slow down.
  • This is something that doesn’t occur in all cases and it’s important to explain this.

While some people lose weight when they have stress, some people experience the opposite. They gain weight because the thyroid slows down and the hormone levels of triodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) decrease.

Read: 9 Habits That Cause Us to Have Anxiety

Stress and hypothyroidism: what can we do to avoid both conditions?

Stress and hypothyroidism: what can we do to avoid both conditions?

Change in the function of the thyroid gland is a condition associated with various factors. One of them, as we already know, is stress.

This being true, how can we avoid hypothyroidism associated with stress?

Here are some strategies:

Watch your diet

Besides a balanced diet, it’s important that you don’t skip a meal. If you don’t eat breakfast or lunch, for example, your metabolism can change.

In addition, you should regulate your consumption of caffeine, sugar, alcoholic drinks, sodas, chocolate, etc.  These are foods that tend to intensify your stress.

Plus, experts recommend that you include the following vitamins and minerals in your diet:

  • Selenium
  • Sodium
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Copper
  • Vitamins A,B,C. and E

Sleep from 7 to 9 hours

Sleep from 7 to 9 hours

As we all know, stress affects the quality of your rest. At the same time, a poor night’s sleep changes your health and our metabolism. Because of this, we need to change habits to rest better:

  • Your need to have regular hours: always eat and go to bed at the same time.
  • Eat no less less than 2 hours before going to bed.
  • In the afternoon, you should be conscious of something very simple: slow down. At first, you can just lie down, but mentally, once at home, your body andy our mind should decelerate. This is essential.
  • Two hours prior to sleeping, you should put your computer and cell phone aside.

Manage emotions

We all know that managing our emotions isn’t easy. However, it’s good to prioritize a little more. Here are some keys to do this:

  • Don’t put off for tomorrow what bothers or worries you today.
  • Stress and hyperthyroidism are related. Confront your small problems before they become big problems.
  • Focus on the present. Instead of worrying about what could happen tomorrow, you can apply a simple strategy: What can I do to solve this problem today?
  •  Try to find emotional relief:  speak with people you trust about what worries you. Keep a diary, exercise,  and let go of this anxiety on a daily basis.


Mindfulness is a meditation technique and a way of connecting the body and mind.

  •  Practicing mindfulness at least an hour a day is recommended. Remember that this practice extends to the diet and other areas of your life.
  • It simply means to be more present and enjoy everything that we do. It also means listening to yourself and living your life slower and more responsibly.

Since stress and hyperthyroidism are related, applying these simple strategies will be a great way to help you take better care of yourself.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • AD Kanner , JC Coyne , C. Schaefer , RS Lazarus. Medición del estrés y salud: emociones, tiroides y problemas psicosociales. Journal Behavior. Medicina. 4 ( 1981)
  • A. Matos-Santos , EL Nobre , JG Costa , P.J. Nogueira , A. Macedo , A. Galvão-Teles , J.J. de Castro. Relación entre el impacto de los acontecimientos vitales estresantes y el inicio de la enfermedad de Graves y el bocio nodular tóxico. Revista  de Endocrinología. 55 ( 2001 ) pp. 15 – 19

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.