The link between allergic rhinitis and thyroid disease

It may seem surprising that your allergies may be related to autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD). However, both conditions are caused by similar immune responses. This may help you find out if you have trouble controlling your hay fever symptoms. It might even be a good idea to get evaluated for thyroid disease.

This article discusses hay fever and its relationship to AITD. It also discusses symptoms and treatment considerations.

Symptoms of Allergic Rhinitis

hay fever also known as allergy rhinitis. In people with this disease, the immune response is triggered by allergens such as pollen, mold or dust mites.

Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include:

  • sneeze
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • after nasal instillation
  • cough
  • sinus headache
  • big watery eyes

Most allergens that cause hay fever are inhaled through the nose or enter the mucous membranes of the eyes. This is why symptoms appear in these areas.

Note that there are two types of allergic rhinitis: seasonal and perennial. Seasonal allergies flare up when the allergen is most prevalent. Perennial allergies occur all year round.


Symptoms of allergic rhinitis include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, and sinus headaches. You may only experience these symptoms at certain times of the year or throughout the year.

Allergic rhinitis and thyroid disease

Several recent studies have found a link between allergic rhinitis and AITD.

A 2015 study looked at 2,000 people with allergic rhinitis. It was found that more than 16% Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This autoimmune disease is caused by Hypothyroidism, or hypothyroidism. This is important because only about 1.5% of the general population has Hashimoto’s disease.

Research has also found a link between allergic rhinitis and Graves’ disease. Grave’s disease is caused by Hyperthyroidism, or hyperthyroidism. Compared with the general population, people with Graves’ disease were 42.9% more likely to have chronic or recurrent allergic rhinitis.

There are other autoimmune diseases that often coexist with allergic rhinitis, including:

  • eczema
  • asthma

There may also be associations between AITDs and these diseases, as well as between AITDs and food allergies.

Overview of Thyroid Disorders


Several studies have found an association between AITD and hay fever. People with AITD are more prone to allergies than the general population.

Diagnosis of Autoimmune Thyroid Disease

It is unclear why people with allergic rhinitis are more susceptible to AITD and vice versa. However, if you’re affected by allergic rhinitis, it’s a good idea to get your thyroid levels tested. If you have risk factors for AITD, such as:

  • Family history of AITDs
  • Another autoimmune disease such as Rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes

Treatment Precautions

Many people treat allergic rhinitis with over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription antihistamines and decongestants. The instructions for these medicines sometimes say that people with thyroid disease should not take them.

This is because people with thyroid disease may be overly sensitive to certain side effects. For example, decongestants may cause tremors or nervousness in people with high thyroid hormone levels. The sleepy effects of antihistamines may be increased in people with low thyroid hormone levels.

These side effects are less likely to occur if your hormone levels are well managed. Other medications for allergic rhinitis are not a problem for people with AITD. These include:

  • Nasalcrom (cromolyn) Nasal Spray
  • Leukotriene receptor antagonists, such as Singulair (montelukast)

It is also not known that these drugs will interact with thyroid medications.

The synthetic thyroid hormone Synthroid (levothyroxine) is used to treat Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism. People who are sensitive to some of the ingredients in this medication may experience side effects similar to symptoms of allergic rhinitis.

Synthroid, Allergic Reactions and Sensitivity


People with AITD may experience more serious side effects from common medications used to treat allergies.

Antithyroid medications used to treat Graves’ disease are not known to interact with allergy medications. Still, it’s important to tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including over-the-counter products and supplements.

if you see a endocrinologist Talk to your allergist or ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) to make sure all your doctors understand all the treatments you’re getting.

Coping with AITD and allergies

Studies have shown that allergies can sometimes exacerbate or even induce AITD. That’s why it’s important to make sure you manage both. In particular, you should do everything you can to avoid things that trigger allergies.

The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology recommends the following steps:

  • If you are sensitive to pollen, close your car and home windows when pollen levels are high. If it’s hot outside, use the air conditioner.
  • Wear glasses or sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes.
  • Limit exposure to dust mites by using bedding that is labeled “anti-mite”.
  • Prevent mold in your home by using a dehumidifier in mold-prone areas.
  • After petting an animal, wash your hands before touching your face.
  • Do your best to stay away from any other allergens you know of, such as cigarette smoke, cleaning solutions, or car exhaust.


The best way to manage allergies is to avoid the things that trigger them. For example, close windows during allergy season and wear sunglasses to prevent pollen from getting into your eyes.


There is some evidence of an association between autoimmune thyroid disease (AITD) and allergic rhinitis or hay fever. If you’re having trouble managing your hay fever symptoms, you may benefit from testing your thyroid levels.

If you have AITD, be careful with allergy medications. Some side effects may be more serious in people with AITD. Always be sure to tell all your doctors about the medicines you are taking, including supplements and over-the-counter medicines.