Whenever we feel something strange in our body, we think that’s just the allergy, cold, or age. However, this isn’t always true. These seemingly innocent symptoms can indicate some more serious medical problem. Such example is lightheadedness, which can actually indicate heart disease in women.
Therefore, it’s always important to pay attention to our body’s messages, like when we experience problems with the thyroid gland.
Although small, this gland located in the throat produces the important thyroid hormone which regulates our temperature, metabolism, and heartbeat. When the thyroid gland doesn’t function properly, it can either produce too much of TH (thyroid hormone) thus being overactive, or produce too little by slowing down its function.
In this post, we present you the most overlooked symptoms of thyroid disorder in women.
What Does a Thyroid Gland Look Like?
The butterfly-shaped thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, as shown in the picture above. As you can see, it is a rather small gland but with important responsibilities. If it’s overactive, it develops hyperthyroidism producing too much of TH hormone. On the contrary, if the gland is under-active, it develops hypothyroidism, producing too little of the TH hormone.
Symptoms of Thyroid Disorder
1. Feeling Sad or Depressed
As the Mayo Clinic explains, an under- or over-active thyroid gland can cause changes in your mood. The “happy” serotonin in our brain is affected by the little amount of thyroid hormone (TH), making us feeling strangely sad and sometimes even depressed. On the other hand, too much of TH can make us feel irritable, restless, and anxious.
Dr. Robin Miller, integrative medicine specialist, explains that constipation is in the top 3 most common hypothyroidism symptoms. Therefore, when you notice you have constipation for a longer period, check your thyroid.
3. Sleeping Too Much
Healthline, another wake up call for a thyroid disorder is having extremely hard time getting out of bed. He explains that this can happen as a result of a sluggish thyroid which can slow down our bodily functions, making us feeling sleepy even throughout the day.
4. Hair Loss and Dry Skin
Another symptom of hypothyroidism is dry and itchy skin even when it’s not even winter. The slowed metabolism can reduce the sweating and change the skin texture. Moreover, dry and brittle hair and nails can also indicate hypothyroidism. Lack of this hormone can disrupt the hair growth process, leading to hair loss. Dr. Miller tells that most patients decided to check their thyroid after being advised by their hairdressers, saying that sometimes they are more aware of this problem than doctors.
5. Sudden Weight Gain
There are many causes of weight gain, but as WebMD explains, sudden and unexpected weight gain can be a cause for concern. Dr. Miller says that a lot of people show up in his office precisely because of this reason. They complain to gain weight despite exercising and not eating more than usual. In such cases, the reason is likely to be hypothyroidism.
6. Muscular Pain or Tightening
Thyroid disorder can be the culprit of random, unexpected and weird numbness or tightening in the feet, arms, and legs. Dr. Miller explains that the nerve which transmits signals from the brain to the rest of the body can be damaged, if there’s a lack of thyroid hormone. This will result in unexplained twinges and tingles.
7. Low Libido
According to Health.com low production of thyroid hormone is a reason for low libido. But other thyroid disorder symptoms like hair loss, body aches, and weight gain can further contribute to your lack of desire.
8. Fluttering Heart
If you feel your heart is fluttering or beating irregularly, in a different way than when you feel excited or when you fall in love, the levels of thyroid hormone in your system might be too high. You may be even able to feel the flutter in the pulse points of your wrist and neck.
9. Fuzzy Head
We all know aging brings, more or less, fuzzy head. But if you notice it goes more intense, it can indicate a problem with your thyroid gland. Too little thyroid hormone can cause forgetfulness, while too much can cause concentration troubles. Dr. Miller says that when patients with these problems are treated for hypothyroidism, their brain fog disappears surprisingly quickly, and they feel much sharper. Although this is a sign of thyroid disorder, a lot of women think it’s just a menopause symptom.
10. High Blood Pressure
If you can’t resolve your high blood pressure with more exercise or a healthier diet, but only with specific medication, check your thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism can increase the “bad” cholesterol levels, which in turn can cause heart failure or enlarged heart.
11. Changes in Taste Buds or Increased Appetite
If you notice the food suddenly starts tasting differently, you might have problems with an under-active thyroid gland. According to Health.com, hypothyroidism can mess with your sense of smell and taste. But if you have extremely increased appetite, then you might have problem with overactive thyroid. The extra levels of thyroid hormone will balance out the consumed calories, so you won’t be gaining any weight although constantly eating. Women might dream about this, but it is a serious health problem which requires medical attention.
12. Throat or Neck Discomfort
You may feel physical pain in these areas, as the thyroid gland is located in the front part of your neck. Change in the voice, lump in the throat, or a goiter are all possible symptoms of thyroid issue. In case you notice some of these things, check your neck in the mirror to see if there are any swellings.
AACE Thyroid Awareness shares another method how to check if you have thyroid disorder. Using a mirror, check out the area of your neck where the thyroid is located- the lower front part of your neck below the voice box and above the collarbones. Lean your head back, take a sip of water and swallow it while focusing on this area.
If you see any protrusions or bulges when you swallow visit your doctor. Make sure you don’t confuse your thyroid with the Adam’s apple. The thyroid is closer to the collarbone, further down the neck. Do this process couple of times.
Via Little Things