The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland responsible for producing the T3 and T4 hormones, which contribute to our basal metabolic rate. T3 and T4 are often referred to as the “metabolic hormones” because of this, though they do play other important roles in our body. For instance, we need sufficient levels of them to develop and grow tissues from when we’re developing fetuses through adulthood. They’re also important in the production of proteins, and are especially important to the healthy development of our nervous systems and its continued support throughout adulthood. Additionally, T3 and T4 have a complex relationship with our reproductive hormones. Imbalances in T3 and T4 can, then, affect our sex drive, fertility, and other reproductive behaviors.
Thyroid disorders tend to stem from dysregulated amounts of T3 and T4 in the body. When someone develops a thyroid disorder–this generally entails the over- or under-stimulation of the organ–it can lead to a host of symptoms, including hair loss.
Another such symptom, which can be caused by hypothyroidism (a condition caused by an underactive thyroid), is joint pain. According to the Mayo Clinic, other, similar side effects that hypothyroidism could cause include:
- Muscle tenderness, stiffness, and general aches, often in your hips and shoulders
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Joint stiffness
- Swelling of the small joints in your feet and hands
While generic pain medications like acetaminophen (Tylenol) and ibuprofen (Advil) may help ease the pain, the primary treatment doctors will often turn to is the appropriate thyroid replacement therapy, which can often yield dramatic improvement in those suffering from these undesirable symptoms.
The Mayo Clinic suggests that you follow up with your doctor if your current treatment course is not yielding results in joint swelling, pain, and stiffness you’re experiencing; this is important because those who have hypothyroidism are often predisposed to developing a host of other autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.