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Thyroid and Migraines

Everything’s easy when you know how.

In many instances it’s easy to cure migraines so they don’t come back.

The secret is very often in normalizing low body temperatures. This is the connection between thyroid and migraines.

The thyroid system is supposed to maintain normal body temperatures. Low body temperatures can result in recurrent migraines, though it’s not clear how. It may be that the low temperatures lead to relaxation and dilation of the blood vessels which results in more fluid leaking into the tissues. The swelling brain tissues inside the closed space of the cranium would explain the characteristic throbbing pain experienced by migraine sufferers.

One thing that is clear is that migraines often correlate quite closely with body temperatures and that migraines often resolve when low body temperatures are normalized.

Success Story:

…I used to have a continuous migraine headache which required the maximum dose of Imitrex, 24 hours a day, to keep under control. After three T3 cycles (which took a total of three months), the migraines stopped. (I haven’t had a migraine headache for over a year.) After two more cycles (another two or three months), my bad sinus headaches stopped.

Best wishes,
John

Many doctors dislike treating migraines because the migraines recur and the pain often calls for pain medicine. That can be a prescription for addiction and the doctors don’t want to be censured for overuse of pain medications. Likewise, migraine patients dislike being looked upon as drug addicts when all they want is relief from their pain.

On the other hand, migraine headaches are one of the favorite symptoms to treat for doctors that treat Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome because of how debilitating the condition is and because of how well it responds to treatment.

Even though the body temperature is the connection between thyroid and migraines, the body temperature is probably the most important reading doctors rarely check!

Under stress, the body temperature tends to drop as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, the temperature can tend to stay down even after the stress has passed, even though thyroid blood tests are normal. This is known as Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome, or Wilson’s Syndrome for short. This occurs most frequently in women and is especially common in people whose ancestors survived famine such as Irish, and American Indian. The good news is that when the temperature is normalized the body can often maintain normal temperatures on its own again.

But there is hope! Great hope. If you have migraines you owe it to yourself to start checking your body temperatures by clicking here: How to measure body temperatures.

Sometimes people can normalize their body temperatures on their own with lifestyle changes such as healthy diet, rest, exercise and eliminating stress.

On the other hand, some people are able to respond well to a prescription T3 medicine protocol (WT3 protocol) to get their temperatures up. You can check our list to see if there is a doctor near you.

You can use the tabs at the top of this page to learn more.

And be sure to sign up for our free weekly newsletter for success stories, news, encouragement, tips, and questions and answers.

About the Author:

Denis Wilson, MD developed the concept of Wilson 's Temperature Syndrome in 1988 after observing people with symptoms of low thyroid and low body temperature, yet who had normal blood tests. He found that by normalizing their temperatures with T3 (without T4) their symptoms often remained improved even after the treatment was discontinued.

28 Comments

  1. […] a registered physician in this case. The spokesperson at Wilsons Temperature Syndrome says, “Your low thyroid symptoms might go away when you get your body temperature to normal (98.6 degree […]

  2. Matt Lane May 4, 2015 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    I have been told many different things are wrong with me.
    1. CSF leak after a cervical steriod epidural. They waited 5 months to start blood patches, no relief.
    2. My cervical spine at C4567 are bad and I need surgery ACDF, headaches, pain will go away.
    3. My thyroid numbers are good, they don’t ask how I feel.
    4. I ask them. If my body is converting the medicine, they say yes of course.
    5. Diagnosed 13yrs ago by primary care as having hypothyroidism. Taking synthroid ony, have had dose
    Changed once since then
    6. Symptoms: headache, fatigue, muscle/joint pain, facial pain, eye pain, neck pain, constipation, low
    Or no energy, addicted to sweats, cakes, pies, ect. Only 55yrs old. Please advise

    • Dr. Denis Wilson May 13, 2015 at 2:24 pm - Reply

      A low body temperature can explain the symptoms you describe and wilsonssyndrome.com explains options you have for correcting a low body temperature. Best wishes.

  3. Tracey Ryan August 8, 2015 at 5:58 am - Reply

    Oh my gosh.I don’t know why I haven’t connected the two till now. I have been on synthroid since I was 21 and have had terrible migraines ever since. I’ve suffered for over 30 years with this. I’m now being told I have rheumatoid arthritis, Raynauds Syndrome, Connective tissue disease and a host of other things. Could the problem be as simple as low body temp? If so, I need to investigate and seek treatment right away.

    • Dr. Denis Wilson August 20, 2015 at 8:48 am - Reply

      Yes :)

  4. daniel September 14, 2015 at 9:54 am - Reply

    My wife is 34 years old with graves disease. She had a total thyroidectomy 5 weeks ago. The last 3 weeks she has had almost daily migraines and severe leg pains.She has been put on 1000mcg t4 daily. She is always freezing now even when its completely normal temperature in a room. Could these symptoms be from having a lower then normal body temp? Also would the inclusion of T3 added to the T4 treatment possibly help raise the temp if that is the issue and maybe resolve some of the symptoms like the bad headaches? thank you if you are able to offer any guidance.

    • Dr. Denis Wilson September 20, 2015 at 8:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Daniel :)

      Certainly, your wife may have low body temperatures which could easily explain her migraines and leg pains. It may be that her doctor will need to give her T3 alone, for a while, in order to get her temperatures up. Simply adding T3 to T4 may not be enough, her doctor may need to stop the T4 and use T3 alone. The stress of Graves and thyroidectomy are often enough to throw people into WTS.

  5. Andrea Dewhurst October 15, 2015 at 5:55 am - Reply

    Hi, I wonder if you could help me. I have had terrible migraines for the past 5 years, they started when I was told my thyroid had gone underactive and I started taking levothyroxine. I had two thirds of my thyroid removed when I was 18 and I have been fine until 5 years ago when it went underactive. The migraines are awful qnd I am sick for 24 hours I have been struggling along but I am getting very depressed with it.

    My doctors say its the menopause that is causing the problems, but I think it could be my thyroid and yes I am cold all the time. Is there any help in the Uk. or someone I could talk to?

    many thanks

    • Dr. Denis Wilson October 15, 2015 at 2:51 pm - Reply

      Hi Andrea :)
      Low body temperatures can certainly contribute to migraines and can often be normalized.
      You can try Jean Haining in East Sussex but the last I heard she was so busy she closed her waiting list temporarily: Jean M Haining, MD Tel:789-091-1409

  6. Abigail Masek October 25, 2015 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    Hello,
    I have suffered through migraines for the past 10 years, ever since my first pregnancy. I currently take Topamax to try to keep bay but I’m still getting at least 4 a month . I have had my thyroid tested several times all coming back with “normal” results, and I’ve also been diagnosed with clinical depression since the age of 15 (currently 28), and have taken a myriad of anti depressants that have all failed to help, most just seeming to contribute to my endless weight gain. I’ve just suffered an allergic reaction to my latest anti depressant and I am really at my wits end. I know there is something medically wrong with me but doctors just look at the test result and say it’s fine, it must be in your head then. I’m exhausted, please help me!

  7. katherine November 12, 2015 at 10:55 am - Reply

    There are no Dr . listed in my area. Is there another way to get T3 ?

    • Dr. Denis Wilson November 15, 2015 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      You can talk to your local doctor and I can consult with your doctor for free about how to help you get better. Your doctor can call 800 420 5801 to set up the call. Good luck!

  8. Chloe Gardner November 20, 2015 at 8:54 am - Reply

    Hi Dr Wilson,
    I have had migraines for most of my life, ranging in severity. I have been diagnosed with an underachieve thyroid, hoffmans syndrome and i am currently going through the menopause. I have been to neurologists and specialists all over scotland but fail to feel better. I have had a migraine and constant nausea everyday for 18 months now, and i am struggling to cope any longer. I have been on T4, and tried T3 for my thyriod but i did not agree with me. is this the same T3 you suggest? i am running out of options and mu doctors don’t know how to help me anymore, but i cant carry on living like this! Do you have anymore advice?

    Thanks

    Chloe

    • Dr. Denis Wilson December 5, 2015 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Chloe, I advise you to find some medical assistance in normalizing your body temperature. I’d be happy to speak to your doctors for free.

  9. Karen sbitri January 7, 2016 at 2:09 am - Reply

    I am 43 and over the last 5 years have suffered with puffy eyes and swelling of fingers, feet and legs and arms – infact my whole body feels slightly fatter at times and my weight goes up by 3-4lbs
    I have raynauds and often feel cold – I take water retention tablets , eat healthy and exercise at least 3 times a week – I have recently been suffering with headaches – I also have endometriosis – the minute I stop the retention tablets I swell – please help –

    • Dr. Denis Wilson January 9, 2016 at 6:37 am - Reply

      Yes Karen, Low body temperatures can explain fluid retention and Raynaud’s and the low temps can often be corrected (see wilsonssyndrome.com)

  10. Natalie Alvarez February 4, 2016 at 8:14 am - Reply

    Hi Dr. Wilson,
    I am confused, I was under the impression that with a lower temperature our blood vessels constrict. With an increased body temperature our blood vessels dilate in order to cool the body. I have suffered from migraines on and off for about 25 years along with Graves Disease for 15. I was told by my physician that the migraine pain is caused by the blood vessels in my brain vasodilating. My goal is to correct whatever is causing these debilitating migraines. Thank you for your time!

    • Dr. Denis Wilson February 7, 2016 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Natalie :)
      Yes, I have heard what you have heard. The vessels on the surface of the body are supposed to dilate when people get hot in order to dissipate calories, to keep their temperatures normal. However, we aren’t necessarily talking about the vessels on the surface of the body and the effect you’re mentioning would likely kick in when the temperature is above normal. We are talking about the body temperature being below normal. I’m not exactly sure of the mechanism but I have seen that when people’s temps are low, they tend to retain fluid. That happens from fluid leaving the vascular system and staying in the tissues. I’ve seen that migraines are more common when people are retaining fluid. I hope that helps :)

  11. Charlaine Exall February 15, 2016 at 8:42 am - Reply

    What is WTS?
    My 32 year old daughter has Graves disease! Manifested during first pregnancy 3 years ago! Thyroid radiation followed. Now in”burn out” according to drs. Terrible bache ache and migraines. They did an emergency hysterectomy in 2014 – ruptured ectopic with complications.

    • Dr. Denis Wilson February 21, 2016 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      WTS is Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome. It’s characterized by normal TSH test and low body temperature and symptoms of hypothyroidism. It is often reversible. Tends to come on with stress. WilsonsSyndrome.com

  12. Maggie February 25, 2016 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Temperature over the past 4 days of 95.4, 96.4, 95.6, 94.1……lifelong health problems, fibromyalgia label (I know it’s only a symptom), sinus/head pressure/brainfog, fingers, hands locking up, overwhelming fatigue, multiple pelvic surgeries in past and so many other symptoms. I feel it may all be related to WTS but it’s so hard to find a practitioner who gets to the bottom of things. Would you be willing to speak with my Naturopath and Family doctor, if need be? Could I call you? Thank you.

    • Dr. Denis Wilson April 10, 2016 at 5:34 pm - Reply

      Absolutely, I would be happy to discuss your case for free with the medical provider of your choosing. He/she can call 800 420 5801 to arrange a free consultation. It wouldn’t be productive for me to speak with your directly since I won’t be providing your medical advice.

  13. Samantha Rei April 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    I’m someone who’s got retinal migraines periodically since I was a child due to my vision. Ive always been a healthy weight, but ever since I had surgery to remove my gallbladder two years ago I’ve gained 40 pounds, despite being a very healthy eater, and my migraines have skyrocketed. It was also recently discovered that i have scoliosis and a neck that curves completely the wrong way, but chiropractic care doesnt seem to help the migraines like I’d hoped. I recently realized my temperature drops to 95-96 degrees every time. I’m very curious as to what my doctor will say about the correlation.

    • Dr. Denis Wilson April 10, 2016 at 2:37 pm - Reply

      It will be interesting to see what your doctor will say. However, I think most doctors are not familiar with the connection between migraines and low body temperature but I’ve seen it a lot. I’ve seen migraines go away many times once the body temperatures are normalized.

  14. Felo April 26, 2016 at 2:21 am - Reply

    I am a 45year old lady. I have had severe headaches since teenage but manageable. In the last few years there have been debilitating migraines to the point of passing out and vomiting. It exacerbates upon exposure to heat, sunlight and I can say when I begin to feel a burning sensation in my eyes or body there is migraine about to happen. I somehow connected the change in my body temperature is causing the unbelievable pain and especially via the eyebrow and back of neck route. I cannot open my eyes or see light during a migraine. Also more often my throat burns and is hoarse for no reason. I am also more tired and breathless. On both hands I have skin rashes white spot lesions that have increased in the last year. I havent explained accurately but I can sense a severe discomfort in my throat. What should I do? Who would be a specialist I should consult? I want relief from migraines.

    • Jen Palmer April 26, 2016 at 7:04 am - Reply

      Hello,

      I’m sorry you are suffering from terrible migraines. I would suggest finding a good integrative doctor who can help identify the root cause, since there are so many possibilities. You can find doctors here: http://www.wilsonssyndrome.com/patients/medical-providers/ and if there isn’t anyone there, look for a naturopathic doctor here: naturopathic.org. Best of luck!

  15. Felo April 27, 2016 at 3:05 am - Reply

    Thank you for your valuable suggestions. I live in South India and It is strange when you say you feel cold living in a tropical climate. I will take forward your suggestions to find someone here. Uptil 3 yrs back I was on a classical homeopathic therapy for back pain. Since it was a holistic approach my doctor helped me recover from even severe panic attacks and established a very good rejuvenative treatment. I could defintely tell the difference in well being when my body temperatures also improved, except for the migraines:-( Later since I moved I could not continue my consultation. Presently I am using Ayurveda general medicines/herbs plus Yoga to maintain mind and body health. I read almost all of the articles in this website and after so many years of researching many things are beginning to connect in my head. I hope it will take me towards better health and understanding.
    Thank you for all the knowledge and help. God bless.

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