If you think you might have low thyroid function, we’ve got good news and bad news. The bad news: at least 15 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid disease — mostly subclinical hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid — and many of them are women.
What’s more, conventional medical tests aren’t great at diagnosing a thyroid issue until it becomes severe enough for medication. The good news here: your symptoms may be a much more accurate measure than the standard thyroid medical tests. They can also motivate you to make the simple changes that will restore healthy thyroid function so you feel better and more energized.
Women who suffer from one common thyroid symptom are often experiencing 3-4 lesser known symptoms, including:
- Yellowing of palms and soles of feet
- Joint and muscle pain
- Depression or melancholy
- Digestive issues
- PMS, menstrual irregularities
- Bruising/clotting problems
- Elevated levels of LDL (“bad” cholesterol)
- Allergies that suddenly appear or get worse
- Persistent cold sores, boils or breakouts
- Tingling sensation in wrists/hands that mimics carpal tunnel syndrome
- Memory loss, fuzzy thinking
- Slowness or slurring of speech
- Appearance of a goiter
Low or sluggish thyroid function shares symptoms with many other endocrine disorders and imbalances. Finding patterns in common symptoms — along with a few of the lesser known ones shown in the box at right — will help confirm if your thyroid is the root cause.
7 common symptoms of low thyroid function:
1. Severe fatigue, loss of energy: If you suffer from a thyroid issue, you may feel very fatigued and sleep more than average — but even then you don’t feel rested or have renewed energy.
2. Weight gain, difficulty losing weight: When your thyroid slows down — even a bit — so does your metabolism. That’s why unusual and unexplained weight gain and changes to body shape can be the first noticeable symptoms.
3. Dry skin, brittle fingernails: New wrinkles, dry, cracked or itchy skin patches, and weak nails can be signs of imbalance in your thyroid hormones.
4. Brittle hair, itchy scalp, hair loss: Your thyroid plays a key role in your hair’s growing and resting cycle. Without proper thyroid function, too many hair follicles stay in the “resting” phase rather than growing actively. In addition to brittle hair, thinning hair or hair loss, thyroid issues can also cause premature graying of the hair.
5. More sensitivity to cold, lower body temperature. Always feeling chilly is a telltale sign of a problem with your thyroid hormones, which strongly influence body temperature.
6. Diminished sex drive: Imbalances in your thyroid can affect your reproductive hormones, and lead to lower levels of desire.
7. Puffiness in face and extremities: Another revealing symptom of hypothyroidism is puffiness in the face, most often around the eyes.
Your thyroid gland is one of the centers of your endocrine system, influencing how other important hormones are used. That’s why an underactive thyroid can affect so many functions throughout your body — and lead to such a wide range of weird and unpleasant symptoms.
Is your body asking for help with your thyroid?
If you suspect you have a thyroid issue, we encourage you to tune into your body now because it’s telling you to pay attention. Waiting for your symptoms to get worse has the strong potential of leading to hypothyroidism and a lifelong prescription to thyroid medication. We always recommend starting with the most effective, natural approach available.
In working with thousands of women, we’ve found that targeted plant-based therapy, vitamins and minerals, and simple dietary and lifestyle adjustments will usually resolve the root cause of all your symptoms, not just a select few.
If you’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms, we encourage you to take our quick Thyroid Health Quiz now. It will help you understand how thyroid symptoms may be affecting, or even altering, your life. You’ll also find personalized recommendations for taking action to feel better. It’s a win-win!
American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. AACE Thyroid Awareness. AACE Web site. http://www.thyroidawareness.com/. Accessed March 14, 2016.
Mayo Clinic. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). November 10, 2015. Mayo Clinic Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/dxc-20155382. Accessed March 14, 2016.