What illnesses can cause thyroid problems? - Thyroid UK

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What illnesses can cause thyroid problems?

miklaw0402 profile image

Hello - my son has been ill for years but has never had a formal diagnosis.

Over a period of time, his neck thickened & enlarged on one side, but was painless. It went down but, when it looked normal again, he often had trembling hands, massive anxiety, sweating, worsening hair loss, difficulty sleeping and weakness.

His FT4 was slightly up at 22.9, but his FT3 & TSH were normal. His FT4 had always been about 17 up to this point.

Is it possible that whatever is wrong with him has impacted the thyroid, without the thyroid being the actual problem? Are there other illnesses that can cause an enlarged thyroid or raised T4?

Thanks very much.

14 Replies

After reading so many reports over the years concerning the ignorance of GP's and endocrinologists of the thyroid gland, I am now prepared to believe anything. I am convinced that incorrect treatment caused by too little/much of the 3 available treatments (levothyroxine, liothyronine and NDT) is enough to cause an assortment of problems and that each patient is different and there is no "one pill suits everybody" solution.

In my case, as well as the usual fatigue and various undefinable rotten feelings, I developed Kidney cancer and the usual carpal tunnel by taking levothyroxine rather than NDT. I now have no thyroid gland at all.

I am convinced, but cannot prove it of course, that my benign goitres were caused by overexposure to iodine and nuclear waste from fishing on my local beach decades previously. Windscale nuclear processing plant is just a few miles away.

No GP, endocrinologist or surgeon seems to take my words seriously, but none of them can explain how I developed goitres and cancer.

You need to take great care as a goitre, if that is what it is, can squash your trachea, cause breathing difficulties and pneumonia, which can kill unless treated with antibiotics.

Hot weather can also cause multiple problems with a goitre as I know very well.

Ruby1 profile image
Ruby1 in reply to Panda321

That must be worrying. It reminds me of the Erin Broknavitch film which was based on a true story. Perhaps it is something you could explore? A message on local community boards/ paper or social media?

I think whenever people suffer ill health we look for a cause, but I’m afraid it is futile to think anyone can explain it. Doctors won’t have time to explore why you developed kidney cancer, but if they saw a prevalence of it locally, then they might make a connection.

I always think it really sad when you hear of childhood cancers. Those parents must be wracked with why it is happening to their child.

There are plenty of people on here more knowledgeable than me, but I do believe that ill health can cause your thyroid levels to become out of balance, and that they can return to normal afterwards.

Presumably you got the doctors to check his neck thickening?

You don’t mention how old he is? Perhaps he needs to see a pediatrías specialist?

miklaw0402 profile image
miklaw0402 in reply to Ruby1

Hi Ruby.

Sorry, I omitted to mention the fact that he's 32. He'd send this himself but he gets quite unsettled (adrenaline increase) using computers, any noise around him including me & his mother just chatting, radio etc).


Ruby1 profile image
Ruby1 in reply to miklaw0402

Ah best not to see a paediatrician then :)

Best of luck getting to the bottom of his ill health

Marz mentioned the vagus nerve in a recent post reply, and I agree that it plays a crucial role as it passes close to the thyroid.. It may be that stimulation of the nerve can increase t4 release.



ling profile image
ling in reply to HLAB35

Wow this is really interesting.

Could it be a potential cause of thyroid storm when there's a sudden increase of thyroid hormones?

HLAB35 profile image
HLAB35 in reply to ling

That would not surprise me - it could explain why Epstein Barr is often cited as a trigger as it causes a lot of localised swelling. But, a bad cough due to a chest infection could aggravate it possibly??

ling profile image
ling in reply to HLAB35

Sorry, aggravate what?

HLAB35 profile image
HLAB35 in reply to ling

Over and under stimulation of the vagus nerve causes thyroid issues according to the links I found: My son once suffered from mildly hyper then hypo symptoms after a chest infection ... and, yes, it is possible he could have Hashi's and he is allergic to milk and is gluten intolerant. He also has some cognitive issues due to being on the autistic spectrum which became more pronounced at the time.

ling profile image
ling in reply to HLAB35

Thank you for sharing.

Stress stimulates the vagus nerve?

HLAB35 profile image
HLAB35 in reply to ling

I think it was the hacking cough through the night that did it as his throat became inflamed and he lost his voice, but that was obviously stressful.

Has he been checked for Hashimoto's, Graves and thyroid nodules?

What symptoms did u experience?

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