Problems with the gallbladder are just one problem that may be in evidence when the thyroid is not performing normally. The symptoms you could experience may be wide-ranging and gallstones could be just one of those many unpleasant problems.
While gallbladder disease could be the result of simply leading a sedentary lifestyle with lots of fast food, it also could be caused by hypothyroidism, a condition that means that the thyroid is not producing enough of the right thyroid hormones. Since these hormones affect many of your bodily processes, an insufficient amount affects everything from digestion and bowel movements to the speed of your ability to process thoughts.
When the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones (T4, which is later converted to T3, the active form), this causes the gallbladder to reduce its output, too. It slows down the flow of bile, causing poor metabolizing of fats with symptoms of gas, bloating, constipation, indigestion and even pain. This stagnation can also end up in the formation of gallstones. Since 20% of the T4 made is converted to T3 in the gut, inflammation in the gut can result in lower amounts of active T3 available for use by the body. Research shows that there is a relationship between low thyroid and gallstone formation, especially in males. (1.)
Gallbladder Pain and Its Causes
Gallstones can develop in different sizes and shapes, as well as in degrees of hardness. They are most often formed from cholesterol and bile. Oftentimes, they may not even be noticed because they do not always cause pain. At other times, even a small gallstone may cause a lot of pain.
Women will be the ones that most likely have hypothyroidism, although the ratio of women to men is about four to one, and it is most common in women between the ages of 35 to 60. The likelihood of gallstones increases with age. Even young children and teens, however, can develop problems with their thyroid.
Pain from a gallbladder attack can be extremely painful, making it difficult to walk upright, or do more than very lightly touch the spot over your gallbladder, which is right below your rib cage on the right side of your stomach. Only about a third of people with gallstones will ever have pain from them – most do not.
Your thyroid gland provides regulation for many different bodily functions. This is why there can be such a wide range of symptoms when hypothyroidism is present. Some of the symptoms that may be experienced include:
- Foggy brain
- Loss of memory
- Chronic fatigue
- Hair thinning/loss
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
- Dry skin
- Low body temperature and intolerance to cold
- Morning headaches that wear off later in the day
- Gallbladder problems including gallstones and delayed emptying
The thyroid, when functioning properly, will help to reduce and possibly even eliminate many health problems. If you have a problem with gallstones, or gallbladder disease, you may want to have your thyroid checked. Sometimes even receiving a negative result from a blood test can be misleading. The test for Hashimoto’s Thyroid Disease, for example, can give a false negative three times before coming back positive.
Gallstone problems can often be helped with natural solutions, and you can find the pain relief you need. Even if a diagnosis has so far eluded the medical professionals, you can still find the relief you need from foods that are all around you.
1. Henry Völzke, Daniel M Robinson, Ulrich John, Association between thyroid function and gallstone disease, World J Gastroenterol