8 Common Signs You Could Have A Thyroid Problem
When it comes to your over-all health the little butterfly-shaped glad at the base of your neck is kind of a big deal. It’s primary function is to take iodine( found in many foods) and convert it into thyroid hormones (TH). These hormones impact everything from your metabolism to your temperature and even your bowel movements.
One in eight women suffer with health problems related to their thyroid. There are six major conditions that affect the gland:
– Hypothyroidism – underactive thyroid
– Hyperthyroidism – overactive thyroid
– Thyroiditis – inflammation of the thyroid, which can cause over- or underactivity and often presents postpartum
– Goiter – enlarged thyroid, which can cause overactive thyroid
– Thyroid nodules – lumps on the thyroid, which can also cause overactive thyroid
– Thyroid cancer – a rare cancer that may present without symptoms, except for a lump in the neck or soreness
Experts aren’t sure what causes your thyroid go on the fritz (though your genes, autoimmune conditions, and stress could play a role). Specialists say that more than half the women suffering from thyroid disorders don’t even know they’re ill and often go undiagnosed. Mainly because it’s easy to brush off common symptoms as signs of everyday stress or ageing.
So, if you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to more than one of the points below, ask your doctor to run a simple blood test that checks your TH levels. They’ll then be able to suggest treatment options that can help your thyroid get back on track.
1. You’re Aways Tired, No Matter How Much Sleep You Get
Thyroid hormones stimulate the brain, so when too little TH – a condition called hypothyroidism – is pumping through your bloodstream, your bodily functions slow down. This leaves you feeling exhausted and sluggish. It can also affect your mood, as too little TH can lower your serotonin levels. Find you’re forgetful? That’s because your hippocampus (your brain’s memory hub) needs TH to function, too.
2. You Feel Like You Drank ALL The Coffee
On the opposite end of the spectrum , you may find that you feel ‘wired’. This can signal that your thyroid is pumping out too much of the hormone.
3. Suddenly Your Jeans Don’t Fit
If you have an underactive you may find that you pick up weight. Your body converts fewer kilojoules into energy, because the lack of TH slows your metabolism to a snail’s pace. And, just to add insult to injury, you may also retain water since your kidneys also slow down and can’t excrete fluids fast enough. But if your thyroid is operating at light-speed, you might end up losing weight (even if you’re still stuffing your face).
4. Your Period Is Irregular
When you periods become, longer, irregular, and heavier, it could signal that your TH levels are in short supply. Hypothyroidism is linked to high levels of prolactin, a hormone that’s primarily responsible for stimulating the production of breast milk after childbirth, but also regulates the menstrual cycle. On the other hand is your cycle suddenly becomes longer (so your periods are farther apart but shorter) and lighter, it could be a sign that you have hyperthyroidism.
5. Your Heart Races For No Reason
Does your heart literally skip a beat? An overload of TH can cause your heart to amp up its usual pace as your tissues are demanding more oxygen-rich blood. Hello, heart palpitations. You may notice the feeling in your chest or other pulse points (your throat or wrist).
6. You Get The Chills Or You’re Suddenly Super Sweaty
Hot. Cold. Hot. Cold. Can your body just make up it’s mind already? When your thyroid is overactive and your metabolism speeds up, you end up sweating. When it’s underactive, your body tries to conserve heat by limiting blood flow to the skin, which can leave you feeling like an icicle even on a warm day.
7. Your Bathroom Habits Change
Yup, we’re talking about your poop. When you have hypothyroidism the muscles in the gut slow, leaving you constipated. The reverse is true when you have an overactive thyroid (ahem, diarrhoea).
8. Your Skin Is Dry And Your Hair Is Brittle
A slow metabolism = less sweat. Without the extra moisture, your skin can become as a dry as a desert, your nails can crack and your hair can break.