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Signs Your Thyroid is in Trouble, According to Doctors

A few blood tests can help determine if you have a thyroid condition or not.
FACT CHECKED BY Alek Korab

As Yale-trained endocrinologist who specializes in diabetes, food as medicine and metabolic health, I've put together this list of symptoms that could indicate a thyroid problem. That small, butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of the front of your neck can cause all kinds of issues—and the symptoms may be nonspecific, so it's important to speak with your doctor if you are experiencing any of the ones you're about to read about, so that you can be evaluated for all underlying causes. A few blood tests can help determine if you have a thyroid condition or not. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.

1

Symptoms That May Indicate Hypothyroidism

Woman checks the thyroid gland with her hands, keeps her palms on the neck.
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The Mayo Clinic sums this one up nicely: "Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough of certain crucial hormones," they write. "Hypothyroidism may not cause noticeable symptoms in the early stages. Over time, untreated hypothyroidism can cause a number of health problems, such as obesity, joint pain, infertility and heart disease. Accurate thyroid function tests are available to diagnose hypothyroidism. Treatment with synthetic thyroid hormone is usually simple, safe and effective once you and your doctor find the right dose for you." Here are the symptoms you might feel:

2

You May Feel Fatigue

Woman sleeping on the couch in the living room.
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Low thyroid hormone leads to a decrease in overall energy expended by the body, leading one to feel tired.

3

You May Feel Depression

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Thyroid hormone is important for the function of our nerve cells and is important in the functioning of two other important chemicals which manage mood—serotonin and dopamine.

4

You May Have Unintentional Weight Gain

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Significantly low levels of thyroid hormone can lead to weight gain due to an increase in water and salt retention.

5

You May Have Menstrual Irregularities

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Low or high thyroid hormone levels can lead to ANY change in menstrual cycles—longer cycles, shorter cycles, cycle irregularity, loss of menses, etc. This is due to thyroid hormone effects on the ovaries, follicles, and endometrium of the uterus.

6

You May Have a Low Heart Rate

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Low thyroid hormone leads to a decrease in cardiac output that leads to an overall decrease in heart rate.

7

You May Have Constipation

Man feeling stomach pain at home.
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Low thyroid hormone leads to decreased gut motility which results in constipation.

8

You May Have Dry Skin

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Low thyroid hormone may lead to a decreased blood flow to the skin which can lead to the skin feeling cold and dry.

9

You May Have Hair Loss 

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The thyroid hormone plays an essential role in the development and maintenance of the hair follicles which can lead to decreased hair growth or hair loss.

10

Symptoms That May Indicate Hyperthyroidism

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Not to be confused with Hypothyroidism, Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) "occurs when your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine," says the Mayo Clinic. "Hyperthyroidism can accelerate your body's metabolism, causing unintentional weight loss and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Several treatments are available for hyperthyroidism. Doctors use anti-thyroid medications and radioactive iodine to slow the production of thyroid hormones. Sometimes, hyperthyroidism treatment involves surgery to remove all or part of your thyroid gland. Although hyperthyroidism can be serious if you ignore it, most people respond well once hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated." Read on for the symptoms.

11

You May Have Anxiety

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Thyroid hormone is important for the function of our nerve cells and is important in the functioning of 2 other important chemicals which manage mood – serotonin and dopamine. Too much thyroid hormone may lead to an increase in both serotonin and dopamine.

12

You May Have Difficulty With Sleeping/Insomnia

hispanic woman at home bedroom lying in bed late at night trying to sleep suffering insomnia sleeping disorder or scared on nightmares looking sad worried and stressed
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High levels of thyroid hormone also leads to an increase of hormones called catecholamines which are important for our "fight or flight response" leading to increased alertness and difficulty w sleeping. Some components of difficulty with sleep may also be related to heightened anxiety.

13

You May Have a Fast Heartbeat (Palpitations)

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High levels of thyroid hormone leads to an increase in cardiac output that leads to an overall increase in heart rate. High levels of thyroid hormone also leads to an increase of hormones called catecholamines which are important for our "fight or flight response" leading to increased heart rate.

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14

You May Have Diarrhea

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High levels of thyroid hormone leads to increased gut motility which results in less absorption of water in the intestine and diarrhea or very soft stools.

15

You May Have Increased Sweating

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High levels of thyroid hormone also leads to an increase in those catecholamines, which can leadto increased blood flow to the skin and feeling very warm as a result.

16

You May Experience a Shaking in Your Hands

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An increased nerve/muscle stimulation leading to tremor of the hands may be cause by an increase in catecholamines.

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17

You May Have Hair Loss

nervous girl looking in the mirror her scalp
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The thyroid hormone plays an essential role in the development and maintenance of the hair follicles which can lead to decreased hair growth or hair loss.

18

You May Have Unintentional Weight Loss

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Too much thyroid hormone may lead to an increase in our daily energy expenditure, leading to weight loss despite no change in diet.

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19

You May Have an Intolerance to Hot Temperatures

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Those with hyperthyroidism feel very warm at baseline due to increased blood flow throughout the body.

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20

You May Have Menstrual Irregularities

Middle aged woman suffering from abdominal pain while sitting on bed at home
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Low or high thyroid hormone levels can lead to ANY change in menstrual cycles—longer cycles, shorter cycles, cycle irregularity, loss of menses, etc. This is due to thyroid hormone effects on the ovaries, follicles, and endometrium of the uterus. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, contact a medical professional to discuss your case. And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss these 13 Everyday Habits That Are Secretly Killing You.

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