The thyroid gland is a small organ located in the front of the neck and wrapped around the trachea. It’s responsible for making hormones that help control a lot of different essential functions of the human body.
If the thyroid doesn’t work properly, this can lead to a lot of health problems that can impact your entire body. If the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones, this leads to a condition known as hypothyroidism. If the thyroid gland produces too much, you can develop what’s known as hyperthyroidism. Both conditions must be treated seriously.
What Are the Symptoms of a Thyroid Problem?
Spotting the symptoms of thyroid issues is essential to getting the right medical attention. Depending on the type of thyroid problem you are experiencing, symptoms can vary greatly.
For example, here are some common symptoms of an underactive thyroid:
- Feeling tired
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Slower heart rate
- Memory troubles
- Developing an intolerance to cold
- Pale and dry skin
- A hoarse voice
Conversely, if your hormone production goes into overdrive and have an overactive thyroid, you can experience:
- Weight loss
- Eating more than usual
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Heat sensitivity
- Muscle weakness
- Heart palpitations
- Diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements
- Eye troubles, such as redness or irritation
Thyroid disease can therefore affect the entire body, so whether you notice symptoms of hypothyroidism or suspect you might have an overactive gland, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.
Note that thyroid problems are not limited to these two conditions. In some cases, the symptoms themselves can be indicative of more severe problems, such as thyroid nodules, or thyroid cancer.
How Does the Thyroid Affect Women?
Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid disorders. Since the hormones produced by the thyroid have the goal of regulating the body’s natural functions, women can experience a set of unique symptoms if their thyroid function isn’t working properly:
- Problems with the menstrual cycle – the thyroid has a lot to say about the menstrual cycle. It can make the periods very light, irregular, or impact their duration. In some cases, it can even lead to early menopause, or not getting your period for a few months (known as amenorrhea);
- Fertility issues – if the thyroid condition affects the menstrual cycle, it has a direct impact on ovulation, making it harder for someone to get pregnant;
- Pregnancy issues – thyroid conditions left unchecked during pregnancy can lead to heart problems for both the baby and the mother. In more severe cases, it can lead to premature birth, preeclampsia, anemia, and even miscarriage.
In some cases, especially if the patient is over the age of 40, thyroid issues can be mistaken for menopause symptoms. It’s common for these health problems, particularly hypothyroidism, to develop after menopause, even if the patient has not experienced any of these symptoms before.
To Sum up
Thyroid conditions don’t necessarily present with all these symptoms. For instance, you can experience a slower heart rate and fatigue caused by hypothyroidism, but not experience weight gain.
The thyroid gland is in charge of helping your body function normally, so any changes in these hormones have a serious impact on your health. If you notice any signs of a thyroid condition, reach out to your doctor for a consultation.