The thyroid is a very important gland in your body. It basically controls every single cell, from your digestive system to your reproduction system. When it malfunctions, it can make your life miserable. While most Hashimoto’s patients typically suffer dozens of symptoms, there are five major symptoms of thyroid issues in women that can alert you that your thyroid is not working as it should.
These symptoms are caused by an underactive thyroid that is not releasing enough thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) for your body to function properly. The condition is called hypothyroidism and most hypothyroidism cases are tied to the autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. For more information on what the thyroid is and how it works, check out my article, “What is the Thyroid?”.
Before we discuss those 5 pesky symptoms, I’d like to remind you that if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to talk to your doctor about treatment. They will help you come up with a treatment plan to lessen or relieve these thyroid symptoms.
5 Symptoms of Thyroid Issues In Women
When your thyroid is underactive, it slows your metabolism down. The end result is weight gain. It doesn’t matter if you stick to the perfect diet and exercise plan, you can still gain weight because your metabolism is working against you.
This can be very distressing, to work hard at losing or keeping the weight off and seeing no results. I’ve experienced that, as I’m sure many of you have as well. Once my doctor adjusted my medication and my TSH levels returned to normal (I do best between 1 and 2), I was able to make progress on weight loss.
If your doctor is able to help you get to healthy TSH levels and you’re still experiencing weight gain, you may want to review your diet and exercise plan with your doctor. Additionally, you may want to find a functional medicine doctor to discover the root cause of your weight gain and address it.
Cold intolerance is often one of those symptoms of thyroid issues in women that flies under the radar because many don’t realize it’s connected to their thyroid. They brush it off as just the way their body works. The thyroid functions similarly to a thermostat and when the thermostat goes wonky, you’ll have problems maintaining a correct temperature.
There have been times when the thermostat was at a comfortable 74 degrees Fahrenheit at work and I was wearing a winter jacket. Sometimes, it was so bad, I’d go into the thermal room, set at a balmy 104 degrees, with my winter jacket on and drink hot coffee for ten minutes. Yeah, that’s a major sign something’s wrong.
Many times, if you’re suffering from cold intolerance, you’ll find if you take your temperature that it is lower than the normal 98.6. When I’m severely hypothyroid, my temperature is often in the 97s.
Because of this cold intolerance, people suffering from hypothyroidism are at risk for hypothermia, so take precautions. Bundle up if you’re cold or adjust the thermostat to a more comfortable level, if you can.
Hair loss or hair thinning can be one of the most distressing symptoms of thyroid issues in women. Seeing large clumps of hair come off in the shower or in your hair brush can be disconcerting.
Quite often, once TSH levels return to normal with proper treatment, hair issues resolve, though that might not always be the case. If you still suffer from hair loss at that point, it may be another issue, like iron deficiency or menopause, and you should talk to your doctor.
A lot of women are diagnosed with hypothyroidism later in life. In fact, my mother wasn’t diagnosed until her mid-forties. At that time of life, irregular periods can be a possible sign of menopause. But, it can also be a sign of thyroid problems. It would be best not to assume and get your thyroid checked out if your periods are irregular.
Fatigue is one of the symptoms of thyroid issues that you just can’t ignore and one I’ve struggled with a lot. There’s nothing worse than wanting, or having, to do things and not having the energy to do them. We’re not talking about feeling a little tired. We’re talking about overwhelmingly low energy, like the inability to get out of bed, that a good rest won’t make go away.
This is a clear sign that there’s something wrong with your thyroid. When experiencing this symptom, you should request a TSH test, Free T4 test, and Free T3 test from your doctor or endocrinologist. Your TSH is likely high and your meds need a dosage adjustment.
We hope this article helped you recognize the 5 symptoms of thyroid issues in women and provided you information to help you talk to your doctor about your concerns. If you found this article helpful, please share it with others you think might benefit from it.
If you’d like to learn more about Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, its root causes, and how to treat it, check out “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Lifestyle Interventions for Finding and Treating the Root Cause” by Dr. Isabella Wentz. The knowledge in that book has impacted my life positively and I hope it will yours as well.