Ten Signs That You Might Have an Underactive Thyroid Gland

Ten Signs That You Might Have an Underactive Thyroid Gland

(Last Updated On: April 18, 2019)

Ten Signs That You Might Have an Underactive Thyroid GlandYour thyroid gland sits beneath your voice box at the front of your neck, and the hormones that it releases are responsible for determining your body’s metabolism. When the thyroid gland stops producing the correct amount of hormones, a condition called hypothyroidism develops. This is the opposite of hyperthyroidism, in which the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. An underactive thyroid can be caused by a virus, certain drugs, an autoimmune disease, or (less commonly) pregnancy. Although it is relatively easy to treat hypothyroidism, many people fail to recognize the main symptoms and therefore end up suffering from a reduced quality of life for years. Read on to learn about the ten main signs that you should see a doctor to discuss whether you have hypothyroidism.

1) Persistent fatigue or lethargy:
Regular and excessive tiredness is one of the main signs that you might have an underactive thyroid gland. You may find that you simply cannot do as much as you used to be able to do without feeling exhausted, and you might notice that you unintentionally fall asleep quite regularly.

2) Increased sensitivity to cold:
People with hypothyroidism often have poor tolerance of cold temperatures. This includes a dislike of the sensations caused by cold drinks as well as an aversion to cold weather. You may even find that cold temperatures cause you physical pain as opposed to mere discomfort.

3) Depression:
Some people with hypothyroidism find that they begin to feel low much of the time. The depression associated with an underactive thyroid may be obvious or subtle, but if mood dips are experienced in conjunction with some of the other symptoms on this list then it is worth having a blood test to rule out hypothyroidism.

4) Widespread pains:
You may have frequent pains in your joints and muscles, and these pains may seem to migrate to new areas without warning or injury. The type of pain you experience might be aching, gnawing, or sharp.

5) Unwanted weight gain that is difficult to explain:
Have you recently put on weight? If you have, try to be honest about whether this is due to overeating or an unhealthy diet. If reflecting on your food intake leaves you confused about why you have put on a substantial amount of weight during a relatively short period of time, hypothyroidism may explain your expanding waistline. When you discuss this with your doctor, make sure to take a list that roughly represents your average eating habits over the period of a week. This will help you to identify any problematic dietary factors that you may not realize relate to weight gain, and may also help to convince your doctor that an investigation into thyroid function is warranted.

6) Constipation:
If you used to have regular bowel movements and do not have an unhealthy diet, the development of constipation should be mentioned to your doctor. If hypothyroidism is not the cause, your doctor will still be able to give you advice on how to get rid of this troubling and painful condition. If left untreated, constipation can result in difficult further problems such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

7) Dry and pale skin:
If your complexion has changed to a paler shade or you are having unexplained problems with flaking skin, this could be a symptom of hypothyroidism.

8. Brittle nails and hair:
You might notice that your hair does not have the same thickness or bounce that it used to, and your nails may be breaking more often. This type of symptom usually goes unnoticed until you have been suffering from hypothyroidism for quite some time.

9) Menstrual problems:
Women with an underactive thyroid often have exhaustingly heavy periods. If you used to have lighter periods but have recently found that every month brings a substantial amount of bleeding, discuss this with your doctor. If your change in bleeding cannot be explained by hypothyroidism then other hormonal investigations may be suggested.

10) Physical weakness:
If you try to lift heavy objects or engage in sustained exercise, you will probably have a lower tolerance for this activity.

Many people spend years discounting their symptoms and assuming that they are simply tired and gaining weight as a result of life’s stresses. This is unfortunate because untreated hypothyroidism leaves you at risk of heart disease, heart failure, and birth defects in any baby you conceive. If the above symptoms have left you suspicious that you might have a thyroid problem, make an appointment with your doctor. Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed by way of a simple blood test, and it can be effectively treated with medication.


Related Articles By Cathe:

Could You Have a Sluggish Thyroid and Not Know It?

How Low-Calorie Diets Affect Thyroid Function

Thyroid Health: How to Keep Your Thyroid Gland Healthy

The Top Ten Signs That You Have an Overactive Thyroid Gland

4 thoughts on “Ten Signs That You Might Have an Underactive Thyroid Gland

  1. OMG–please don’t describe anything having to do with hypothyroidism as easy. For over a year and a half I have been fighting to get medications right so that I can be a human being again. The weakness is incredible, memory loss, foggy thought process, loss of eyelashes, the inability to get rid of lactic acid in the legs, the tingling of the feet, hair loss and the depression from all of that. Just trying to get your doctor to give you a blood test for it (a simple blood test that he is not paying for) was something. I’m on five different medications to return B12 levels, testosterone and thyroid levels back to where they are suppose to be. And don’t forget the lovely 15 pounds that you can’t seem to get rid of even though I put in at least 7-15 hours of cardio a week (road cyclist) and then weight work out. NO–there is nothing easy about treating hypothyroidism. It’s possible that whoever wrote this has some borderline thyroid issues-that person is lucky.

  2. Melody, I agree with you. I have been hypothyroid for 12 years, regulated well on medicine once I ramped up. Recently I suddenly spiraled out of control and had to re-ramp up medicine. This has taken months and I still am not there. I gained 10 pounds and have a whole host of issues like anxiety, poor sleep and inability to concentrate, tons more other problems. I feel like my body betrayed me after thinking I knew how to keep it regulated for years. I had to quit my Cathe workouts and am hoping to start back very soon. Although I probably have 2 dose changes to go through yet to get back to “normal”. They say September will be when I feel my best again. No, after starting this process over again last May I would not ever classify a thyroid problem as “easy”. My symptoms weren’t even textbook hypothyroidism so it was difficult to pinpoint what was happening at first. It is different for everyone. Good luck to all who read this and have the same struggle!

  3. To clarify this article doesn’t mean to state that having a hypothyroid condition is easy or that living with this condition is not a struggle. What the article says is that if you have these symptoms make sure to see a doctor because the treatment is nothing to be afraid of. Even after treatment you may still have problems with weight gain and other related medical problems because hypothyroidism affects people differently and can be caused by many things, including autoimmune diseases that we have written numerous articles about in this Blog.

  4. In the span of 1 week I broke out with 7 large cysts on my face and cried every day of the week. This prompted me to get a blood test administered and sure enough I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I tried Levothyroxin for 3 days but stopped it because I was ravenously hungry and endured heart palpitations and gas. I decided to try to treat the condition with more exercise(one more day per week) , foods that stimulate the thyroid and 2 tyoes of herbs(one with iodine and one that reduces inflammation). I feel a lot better and it’s only been a little over a week since I started these natural therapies. I get retested in 6 weeks to see if the levels have improved. If not, I will go back on medicine but I’m being very positive about reversing this myself as I’ve reversed asthma, mitral valve prolapse and hypoglycemia. I’m also reducing my stress as much as possible and taking more time to do everything in my life. Just wanted to share my experience so far.

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