8. Unpredictable Bowel Function
Many patients with thyroid disease complain of unpredictable and dysfunctional bowel habits. Hypothyroidism is often linked with constipation because slowing of metabolism also diminishes the digestive process: motility of the gut is compromised, which then makes it difficult to achieve a bowel movement. With hyperthyroidism, conversely, overactive metabolism may lead to very quick passage of food in the gut, thus preventing proper digestion; this may cause diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements, with the urge to visit the bathroom being particularly strong after consumption of a meal. Over-the-counter medications for these conditions can provide temporary relief, but it is important that the underlying thyroid disease is treated.