9 Signs Your Thyroid May Not be Working
Underactive thyroid disease, which is more commonly referred to as Hypothyroidism, occurs when your thyroid gland fails to make an adequate amount of the thyroid hormone for your body.
Your thyroid gland is located near the front lower portion of your neck. When it is working properly, your thyroid releases hormones that work their way through your body via the bloodstream. This has a direct effect on your heart, muscles, brain and nearly every part of your body.
One of the most important things the thyroid does is dictate how your body uses the energy it gets from food. This can have an effect on burning calories, how quickly your heart beats, and your natural ability to control your body temperature.
If your thyroid begins to malfunction, it is best to be diagnosed as soon as possible. There are a number of warning signs that you can look for:
Fatigue is the most common symptom associated with an underactive thyroid. Many people ignore this symptom as fatigue by itself doesn’t necessarily throw up many warning signs. If, however, you’re feeling tired on a regular basis, even though you’re getting a full night’s sleep, it might be time to talk to your doctor.
Changes in your bowel movements may be a sign that your thyroid is underactive. The hormones that your thyroid produces are vital in making sure your digestive track is operating efficiently. If you’re not producing enough hormones, your digestion is slowed and constipation may result.
Everyone has their moments when they might feel down in the dumps. That’s just part of human nature. If you get into a funk and can’t seem to get out, you might consider looking into your thyroid. For most people, random depressed feelings go away within a day or two. It’s when the depression lasts for weeks or even months at a time that it becomes cause for concern. If you find yourself depressed, you should contact your physician immediately especially if you feel the need to hurt yourself or others.
4. Unexplained Weight Gain
There are lots of things that could cause you to pack on a few pounds and move up a couple pants sizes. But what if you haven’t changed any of your eating habits and are still experiencing weight gain? Hypothyroidism.
When you have hypothyroidism, the number of calories that your body will burn naturally, known as your basal metabolic rate, is greatly reduced. When this happens, you can experience weight gain even if you are eating a completely healthy diet. For some, this can be a result of the body creating excess fat, while for others, their body might simply be retaining water.
5. Short Term Memory Loss
When you have thyroid problems, your brain is the organ that is going to take some of the worst abuse. Hypothyroidism can cause a decline in your cognitive abilities, meaning, you might have trouble remembering simple things like what you entered a room for or what you wanted to say to someone.
Brain fog is another term that is commonly used to describe this phenomenon. You may be able to remember normal things, but everyday tasks might take might time to complete. Reaction times may be impacted as well, which can make things like driving dangerous. Fortunately, these symptoms are known to be treatable, and if you are treated soon enough, are mostly reversible.
6. Irregular Period
Most women have the ability to look at a calendar and tell with significant accuracy when they’re going to be starting their period. The average woman knows when they are going to start their menstrual cycle, and can pinpoint the date within a day or two. If your normal periods are happening less frequently, or if you notice you’re bleeding heavier than you normally had in the past, there is a good chance that it could be the result of an underactive thyroid.
7. Feelings of Weakness
Weakness is one of the hypothyroidism symptoms that is frequently overlooked. This is especially true if the above symptom of always feeling tired applies to you. It makes sense to think that if you’re already feeling tired, the feelings of weakness would go hand in hand.
It is true that being tired affects your energy levels. But if your muscles are also feeling weak and sore, there is probably more to it than that. The best thing you can do is check your muscles for weakness. If you have difficulty doing the things that were once easy to do, you’re going to want to get checked.
8. Dry Skin
Dry skin is another symptom that often gets glossed over. It makes sense because there are a large number of reasons why people can experience dry skin. What many people fail to think about is that if they haven’t made any changes to their skin regimen, and haven’t had a problem before, something is likely wrong.
When you have hypothyroidism, your blood isn’t able to circulate as well as it needs to. This leads to a less effective metabolism which can cause your body not to sweat as much as it needs to. A lot of people think it would be great to not have to worry about sweating, but the truth is, if your body is not able to sweat, your skin can dry out and become flaky.
If you aren’t sure whether your dry skin is the result of your thyroid, take a look in the mirror. If your face is dry and puffy, especially in the area of your eyes, this might be the result of hypothyroidism.
9. Other Signs:
- Hair loss
- Eyebrow hair loss
- Puffy face
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Elevated cholesterol
- Heightened sensitivity to cold
- Difficulty regulating body temperature
While this list covers some of the most common signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid, it is by no means a comprehensive list. If you feel you are having trouble with your thyroid, the best thing you can do is make an appointment with your doctor to voice your concerns. Your doctor will be able to order tests and provide treatment if necessary.