The Relationship Between Thyroids and Bariatric Surgery

Bariatric surgery is the most effective obesity treatment, as bariatric surgery can effectively aid in weight loss treatment on patients with thyroid abnormalities. The thyroid and its functions play an important role in regulating body weight, this can affect how your body metabolizes food and can lead towards weight gain or weight loss. 

bariatric surgery and thyroid issues

What does the thyroid do?

The thyroid gland is an organ that resides in the front of the neck, being part of what is also referred to as the anterior triangle because of its position. The thyroid’s functions affect the whole body. Many of these can be, such as how fast your heart beats, the deepness of your breaths, whether you gain weight or lose weight, control of your temperature, your cholesterol levels, etc. 

The thyroid’s functions are essential for your overall health, as it is an important gland that secretes hormones that aid your body in many ways:

  • Heart rate regulation
  • Body temperature
  • Healthy skin
  • Metabolism

Patients with thyroid issues have a hard time regulating the thyroid gland and keeping itself regulated and can show up as fluctuations in mood and energy levels. The imbalance of the energy that is expended and stored is regulated and plays a role in metabolic disorders such as obesity. 

The impact of thyroid issues

Obesity is associated with several illnesses or problems, many of these include thyroid issues. Among obese patients, bariatric surgery was associated with greater improvements in several comorbidities and lowered the cause of mortality-related risk factors. Because of the effects of hormone levels on the thyroid, many individuals who suffer from this find that weight loss is a struggle. Trying to shed the extra pounds becomes the hardest thing to get rid of, even with a proper diet and an exercise routine.

Some thyroid issues like hypothyroidism can make you feel as if you have low energy, and if your body isn’t metabolizing food and using it efficiently, it can lead to weight gain and obesity, it’s often the most distressing symptom. Being overly fatigued is also one of the symptoms that may feel like one of the most bothersome, even how much you tolerate cold and warm temperatures can be difficult because of a thyroid hormone imbalance. 

How does the thyroid affect my weight?

The thyroid can become either overactive or underactive. Since the thyroid affects the hormone levels in your body, many individuals that have hyperthyroidism struggle with weight loss and they find it difficult to shed those pounds even with a proper diet and exercise. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism are: 

  • Dry skin
  • Dry hair
  • Hair loss
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Slow heart rate 
  • Fatigue

Moreover, obesity is linked to many abnormalities, including thyroid dysfunction and many other endocrine diseases. The thyroid regulates energy, your metabolism and it plays a critical role in food intake, expending that energy, glucose, and fatty acids. 

Thyroid dysfunction is associated with changes in the body relating to its weight and composition, body temperature, and energy expenditure. Some studies suggest that the slight variations in thyroid function levels, as indicated by lab tests, contribute to obesity and individuals tend to gain weight, aside from the many other symptoms that appear with the condition. 

Can individuals with thyroid issues undergo bariatric surgery?

Individuals suffering from thyroid problems can undergo bariatric surgery. Bariatric surgery won’t have any negative impact on your health, and it’s one of the most effective treatments that are long-term for obesity and other conditions, relating to weight gain. 

Previous studies have reported improvements in thyroid and its hormone levels following gastric bypass surgery in obese patients. Also, there was a decrease in thyroid-related medications in such patients, as they did not require the same amount, making bariatric surgery a very effective form of permanent treatment. 

What you expect from treatment

Bariatric surgery is important to consider for thyroid problems that often impact mood and cause energy imbalances. While undergoing a procedure such as bariatric surgery, brings about major lifestyle changes that have a direct effect on your health. Research has found that patients with thyroid hormone imbalances will lose more weight after bariatric surgery than others.

Drastic lifestyle changes, like choosing what to eat, how much, maintaining a diet after bariatric surgery, can help bring balance to the thyroid and how the body metabolizes food and expends energy. This includes improvements in thyroid function, reduction of thyroid medications, and treatment following their bariatric procedure. These numerous improvements can continue even a year in, from when the procedure was done. 

The impact of thyroid issues

Thyroid issues are characterized by a wide range of physical and also psychological symptoms that can affect your biological functions, and with this also your emotional and social life. These alterations affect not only the organism biologically but can also have an impact on certain aspects of your life, like emotions, relationships, social and work life. When your body has a small amount of thyroid hormone, it can make you feel tired, and you may experience a “weighted down” feeling, you might also gain weight and find yourself unable to deal with colder temperatures. 

Obesity is one of the most common health risks. It has increased to worldwide status and is associated with an increase in many medical conditions and illnesses. However, there is a favorable effect of bariatric surgery on the bariatric population that suffers from thyroid-related conditions or imbalances. This includes improvement of thyroid function and reduction of thyroid medication dosages. 

Those individuals whose morbid obesity is because of thyroid function-related conditions have found that fortunately, bariatric surgery helped in achieving a significant decrease in the thyroid levels of production of hormones. Patients experience a greater improvement when submitting themselves to weight loss treatments such as bariatric surgery. Even so, the decreasing levels are significantly greater and continue to improve in the coming months after the procedure. 


Also Read: What Can I Expect After Bariatric Surgery? 


Dr. Gabriela Rodriguez specializes in General and Laparoscopic Bariatric Surgery. She brings to VIDA Wellness and Beauty a wealth of experience in bariatrics. Dr. Rodriguez is a founding associate of the Mexican College of General Surgeons. A world-class bariatric surgeon with double certification in the US and Mexico.