14 Signs and Symptoms of Thyroid Problems

· November 28, 2016
Thyroid problems can be difficult to diagnose, as many of the symptoms can also be associated with other health issues; here we look at 14 of the most common symptoms of problems with your thyroid.

Symptoms of thyroid problems may not be noticeable or you may not even display symptoms. However, it’s really important to be aware of the possible signs and symptoms that you may experience if you have thyroid problems.

Thyroid problems are more common than what you might think. They also tend to affect women more often than men.

We’ll go over some of the most common ones in this article.

What you need to know about the thyroid gland

WOMAN THYROID

The thyroid is a small gland located above the clavicle and is responsible for producing two important hormones (T3 and T4).

These two hormones regulate:

If the thyroid is not functioning as it should, it can lead to the following problems:

Both are most commonly the result of a problem with the immune system, where antibodies are produced which stop the thyroid from functioning properly.

Symptoms of thyroid problems

Pay attention to the signs your body is giving you of possible symptoms of thyroid problems so that you can get any problems with your thyroid properly treated as soon as possible.

Sadness and depression

Mood can by affected by thyroid problems. This type of depression occurs without an apparent reason.

When the gland produces too few hormones, serotonin levels plummet and this translates into feelings of negativity.

Similarly, if the thyroid produces too many hormones, you may feel constantly restless and agitated.

Weight changes

WEIGHT SYMPTOMS OF THYROID PROBLEMS

If you exercise and follow a strict diet, but still can’t seem to manage to lose weight, it may be a symptom of thyroid problems.

The same may be true if you can’t seem to gain any weight, despite how much you eat. Metabolic changes are closely linked with these imbalances.

Constipation

Problems going to the bathroom, despite eating plenty of vegetables and fiber, is one of the main signs of thyroid dysfunction.

If you suffer from chronic constipation that causes bloating and intestinal pain, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Sleep disorders

If you can’t fall asleep or you wake up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, this could be one of the symptoms of thyroid problems. Trouble sleeping, nightmares and insomnia are all associated with a poorly functioning thyroid gland.

Thyroid problems can also manifest as an increased need for sleep and difficulty getting up early. An under-active thyroid slows down the body’s functions.

Joint pain

JOINT PAIN

Reduced thyroid function can cause joint pain, especially in the arms and legs. Care must be taken because this in turn can develop into fibromyalgia.

Dry skin

Moisturizing lotions, creams and oils aren’t enough; skin is always dry and “scaly.”

Skin related symptoms of thyroid problems are most noticeable in the legs and face. The armpits and the scalp may also be dry. In many cases, it’s due to sweating less than normal.

High cholesterol

High cholesterol on a blood test is unusual when you’re eating a balanced diet, low in fat.

When a person is suffering from hypothyroidism, the body’s metabolism is slower and cannot properly burn fat. This causes cholesterol and triglycerides levels to rise.

Loss of libido

Lack of interest in sex could be related to a problem with the thyroid gland. Poor mood, weight gain and joint pain often worsen loss of libido.

Neck pain

WOMAN WITH NECK PAIN

Moving the neck in certain directions creates pressure that may prevent you from swallowing properly. Hoarseness is another common symptom of thyroid problems. This is because the gland increases in size and puts pressure on the trachea.

Want to know more? Read: 6 Habits That Cause Neck Pain

Muscle pain

Using muscles that aren’t accustomed to exertion becomes very difficult with pain that can last for days.

If parts of your body are also numb, it would be a good idea to see your doctor for a checkup.

Hair loss

This can be due to a dry scalp or the metabolic changes associated with a thyroid disorder.

It’s normal to see a few hairs on the pillow in the morning or to lose a few strands while bathing or brushing. However, losing a lot of hair just from touching your head is not normal.

The hair loss is not restricted to the scalp; the eyebrows are also susceptible. Growth slows for the hair on the legs, underarms and pubic region. When it does grow, it’s very thin and brittle.

Palpitations

WOMAN WITH HEART PALPITATIONS

Palpitations occur when the heart beats so fast that you can feel it, even while lying down.

If you notice light palpitations in your neck or wrists without having exerted yourself physically, it may be because your thyroid gland is producing too many hormones.

High blood pressure

A variety of factors can cause high blood pressure, which is why doctors don’t immediately look to the thyroid.

If your blood pressure is still high, despite taking medication and eating a healthy diet, you may need to have your doctor check the gland in your neck.

Changes in appetite

Perhaps you didn’t previously eat a lot, but now can’t go 30 minutes without feeling hungry or craving a different type of food (oily, sugary or salty).

The opposite can also occur. Perhaps you were used to eating 4 times a day, but now can only manage to eat twice.

All of these changes could be symptoms of thyroid problems.

  • Baudoin, T. D., Carter, K. J., & Harper, M. B. (2016). Thyroid disease. In Family Medicine: Principles and Practice. http://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-04414-9_128
  • Ross, D. S., Burch, H. B., Cooper, D. S., Greenlee, M. C., Laurberg, P., Maia, A. L., … Walter, M. A. (2016). 2016 American Thyroid Association Guidelines for Diagnosis and Management of Hyperthyroidism and Other Causes of Thyrotoxicosis. Thyroid. http://doi.org/10.1089/thy.2016.0229