Your Eating Disorder Can Have Long-Term Consequences On Your Thyroid

Energy is not just something we need to keep our computers and smartphones charged. If an electronic device can fail to function without sufficient power, imagine what energy deprivation can do to a living organism like the human body. If the body is deprived of energy due to anorexia, an eating disorder, it won't be long before systems begin to shut down.

The body doesn't have to be stressed for long before the thyroid begins to slow down. Once that happens, it can be challenging to get the gland functioning again.

What Does the Thyroid Do?

Hormones are the substances that stimulate your cells and tissue to do their job. The thyroid is a gland that releases hormones that control many of your body's most essential functions.

One function regulated by the thyroid is your metabolism. The metabolism is responsible for breaking down food and transforming it into energy.

How Anorexia Affects the Thyroid

When your body is not getting enough fuel, it becomes stressed. This stress causes the brain to panic. The brain tries to do some damage control by slowing down any non-essential functions so that it can divert the little energy you have to more important things, like keeping your heart beating.

The brain sends a message to the thyroid to slow down your metabolism. A slow thyroid is known as hypothyroidism. The longer you deprive your body of energy, the slower the thyroid will function until it is operating at the bare minimum level.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can cause fatigue, weakness, aches, tenderness to the touch, and may cause your joints to get stiff or swollen. You may find your hair is thinning, your skin is drying out, and you get cold more easily.

Your cholesterol level may go up, and your heart rate may get lower. You may suffer from constipation and, if you're a woman, your menstrual cycle may get thrown out of whack.

Mentally, you may find yourself struggling with depression and struggle to remember things when your thyroid is slow.

Ironically, a slow thyroid can cause weight gain due to a slower metabolism. Your body is trying so hard to conserve the little energy it has that it will resist when you try to do things that would burn calories.

Once the Damage Is Done

Hypothyroidism due to anorexia may be reversible, but it may take a long time, and you may require medications to help your body get back to normal. Don't allow the problem to persist, or recovery will be even more difficult. If you suffer from anorexia, seek help from a medical professional.

Sources: The Recovery Village, Mind Body Green, Healio,

Photo: Pexels

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