Have you felt out of whack but can’t put your finger on exactly what’s going on? Are you experiencing so many subtle (or not so subtle) symptoms that you can’t make them add up? You could have a thyroid problem – one of several hormone imbalances. So, what are the symptoms of thyroid problems in women?
The thyroid is a small gland at the base of the neck. It affects almost all bodily functions, which means that a whole host of other systems will be affected if it’s malfunctioning. That’s why symptoms of thyroid problems mirror the symptoms of so many other issues and often go undiagnosed. An untreated thyroid problem like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism can be very taxing on your organs and cause problems.
In this article, we’ll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about thyroid problems and the symptoms of thyroid problems in women. Let’s get started!
What is the Difference Between Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid releases too much thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid doesn’t release enough thyroid hormone.
Both conditions cause symptoms – some are similar, but most are the exact opposite of each other. In addition, symptoms can vary from person to person and can hit you suddenly or sneak in over time.
But don’t hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism only happen in older women, you might ask? The truth is that thyroid problems don’t discriminate. Unfortunately, 10 to 20 percent of women in their thirties develop thyroid issues often after a period of high stress or giving birth.
Is Weight Change a Symptom of Thyroid Problems in Women?
Yes. If your thyroid is malfunctioning, you will generally find your weight affected. If you have an underactive thyroid, all your bodily functions slow down, including your metabolism. A slow-down in metabolism equals an increase in weight gain. On the other hand, if you have an overactive thyroid, it speeds things up, which can cause weight loss. However, be aware that this is not a healthy kind of weight loss and should be taken seriously.
Can Thyroid Issues Affect Your Blood Pressure?
Yes. One of the symptoms of thyroid disease in females is abnormal blood pressure. Thyroid hormones and the heart are like BFFs. They’re in constant communication. The thyroid impacts how fast or slow the heart beats.
If you have hypothyroidism, your heart rate will be slower than usual, affecting other organs and body functions.
If you have hyperthyroidism, your heart rate gets revved up and goes too fast. Over a period of time, this will stress your heart out and can even result in heart failure.
Can Thyroid Problems Affect Your Gut?
You may be seeing a pattern here! Yes, thyroid disease can cause gut symptoms in women. For example, if you have an overactive thyroid, you may need to make unexpected trips to the bathroom, and your bowel movements may be looser than usual.
Of course, the other side of the coin is the gut symptoms that hypothyroidism causes, which typically include fewer bowel movements, constipation, and nausea.
What About Fatigue and Thyroid Disease?
One of the most common hypothyroidism symptoms is fatigue. Low thyroid hormone levels will wipe you out, making a full day at work almost impossible or your favorite workout a bust.
However, you might be surprised to learn that hyperthyroidism can also cause fatigue. Although higher than normal thyroid levels can make you feel wound up, they can also lead to exhaustion. It’s similar to when you have too many cups of coffee during the day. You’re amped up until you run out of steam and crash.
Can Thyroid Issues Contribute to Mood Swings and Affect Brain Function?
Unfortunately, hypothyroidism can affect the way your brain functions, causing it to slow down. A slow brain can make you feel foggy and unfocused. It can also impact your mood, even causing depression.
How Do Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism Affect a Woman’s Menstrual Cycle?
While it’s normal for a woman’s cycle to differ a little each month, a significant change can signify a thyroid problem. For example, a heavier than normal period can be a sign of hypothyroidism, while a lighter period or no period at all can be a symptom of hyperthyroidism.
The American Thyroid Association has also stated that thyroid disease can be an underlying cause of infertility in women.
What Do Thyroid Symptoms Look Like When it Comes to Your Hair and Skin?
Hypothyroidism can dry out your hair and skin, so if you suddenly can’t use enough moisturizer to keep your skin moist or notice that your hair is brittle, you could have low thyroid levels. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can also cause your hair to thin prematurely.
Are Muscle Aches and Weakness a Symptom of Thyroid Problems in Women?
Yes. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism may make your muscles feel achy and weak and cause joint stiffness.
What About Your Eyes? How Do Thyroid Imbalances Affect Them?
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause dry, irritated eyes. If your eyes seem dried out with no explicable cause like allergies or medications, then this could be a symptom of thyroid hormone imbalance. Your eyes could even seem more pronounced than usual or look like they are protruding more than normal.
Does Constantly Feeling Hot or Cold Have Something to Do With Thyroid?
Temperature sensitivity can be a sign of hypothyroidism. Since low thyroid levels slow down the body’s circulation, hypothyroidism can leave you feeling cold when it’s hot.
The opposite goes for hyperthyroidism. It can leave you super-sensitive to any range of heat and cause you to sweat a lot more than most people.
Don’t Settle For Less Than Feeling Your Best
Unfortunately, thyroid disease is more common in women, than in men. According to the American Thyroid Association, women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems, with a surprising one in eight women developing a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
However, Nava Health’s integrative approach can help you sort out any thyroid imbalance symptoms and start you feeling your best again. If you’re concerned about your thyroid levels, contact us for an appointment today!