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When you have hypothyroidism, you may not realize that your underactive thyroid gland can significantly affect your digestive system and trigger various related conditions that result in nausea. Ahead, let’s look at the causes of nausea in hypothyroidism and review the positive effects of ginger as a natural remedy for gastrointestinal problems.
Hypothyroidism can slow down and interfere with many aspects of your digestive and gastrointestinal system. Several conditions can result from hypothyroidism.
Indigestion, also known as dyspepsia, can cause nausea, as well as pain and burning in the stomach, bloating, gas, and belching.
Gastric dysmotility, also known as intestinal dysmotility, is a condition where the digestive system muscles are impaired, and food is not moved through the system smoothly. Symptoms include nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, and constipation.
With delayed gastric emptying, also known as gastroparesis, food moves too slowly through the gastrointestinal system. Signs and symptoms can include nausea, bloating, pain, acid reflux, and vomiting.
Achlorhydria is the medical name for low stomach acid. When you have achlorhydria, your stomach does not produce hydrochloric acid, which is essential for not only the digestion of food but plays a role in protecting you against pathogens in your food and drinks. Symptoms of low stomach acid include nausea, indigestion, bloating, reflux, and diarrhea.
Constipation is a known symptom of hypothyroidism. Constipation is having fewer than three bowel movements a week and/or painful or difficult bowel movements. Constipation can cause nausea and abdominal pain.
Finally, hypothyroidism is also associated with diarrhea. Symptoms of diarrhea can include nausea and abdominal pain, and cramps.
For any unresolved thyroid symptoms, including nausea, an important step is to work with your thyroid health care provider to optimize your hypothyroidism treatment and ensure that you have the best possible thyroid function. Optimal hypothyroidism treatment includes periodic testing of your thyroid hormone level and treatment of your hypothyroidism with thyroid medication to restore levels to not just the “normal” reference range but to levels that safely and best relieve your symptoms.
If you have a chronic problem with nausea and gastrointestinal issues after optimal thyroid treatment, it’s time to see a specialist like a gastroenterologist for a more thorough evaluation. Your physician will evaluate whether you have any gastrointestinal diseases associated with hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, such as irritable bowel disease (IBD), ulcerative colitis, or celiac disease.
Your gastroenterologist can also recommend medications and supplements to help treat nausea, indigestion, motility problems, delayed gastric emptying, low stomach acid, constipation, and diarrhea.
One natural option for nausea and gastrointestinal issues is the herb ginger or ginger root. Also known as Zingiber officinale, ginger has been used as a food, spice, and treatment for digestive and gastrointestinal symptoms for thousands of years.
Ginger is increasingly being studied for its therapeutic benefits for various health concerns due to its ability to improve gastric motility and relieve indigestion, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Specifically, some of the proven health benefits of ginger include the following:
- Ginger helps prevent or relieve nausea, vomiting, seasickness, and motion sickness.
- Ginger can provide pain relief, including arthritic, menstrual, and migraine pain
- Ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
- Ginger can improve metabolic function and reduce insulin resistance. Specifically, ginger reduces fasting blood sugar, hemoglobin A1c (HA1c) and reduces C-reactive protein (a marker for inflammation), and increases insulin sensitivity.
- Ginger may help you reduce body weight and body mass index (BMI).
Ginger is available in many different forms. Dietary ginger includes freshly grated or sliced ginger, pickled ginger, crystallized ginger, or candied ginger. Ginger is also processed into a powder, and you can put the powder in capsules and tablets. You’ll also find ginger available as a liquid extract, tincture, or tea.
Many human studies on the potential health benefits of ginger list 1000 mg of ginger as a recommended dosage. Here are the equivalents in some other forms:
- One teaspoon (5 g) of freshly grated or sliced ginger
- One-half teaspoon of liquid ginger extract
- Four 8-ounce cups of commercial ginger tea
- Two teaspoons of ginger syrup
- Two 1-inch pieces of crystallized ginger
The US Food and Drug Administration has indicated that ginger consumption of up to 4 grams daily is “generally recognized as safe.”
However, you should be aware that ginger can interact with some medications. According to Mt. Sinai Hospital, you should talk to your doctor before taking ginger if you are taking:
- Blood-thinners like warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix), apixaban (Eliquis), or aspirin.
- Any medications to treat diabetes because ginger can lower blood sugar and increase your risk of low blood sugar.
- Any high blood pressure medications because ginger may lower blood pressure.
Adverse effects from eating or taking supplemental ginger are rare but can include mild symptoms such as heartburn, reflux, or belching.
A note from Paloma Health
If you’re a thyroid patient with unresolved gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, periodic thyroid monitoring is essential to your ongoing hypothyroidism care. The Paloma Complete Thyroid Blood Test kit lets you test at home for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH), Free Thyroxine (Free T4), Free Triiodothyronine (Free T3), and Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies (TPO). The affordable and convenient at-home thyroid test kit from Paloma comes with everything you need, with an option to add on tests for Reverse T3 (RT3) and vitamin D.
You can also get high-quality hypothyroidism care from Paloma’s top thyroid doctors, who provide comprehensive diagnosis, prescriptions for thyroid hormone replacement medication, and optimal treatment of hypothyroidism from the convenience of your home.