7 Complications Associated with Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid is a gland that plays a role in various metabolic processes which is why any kind of deficit can produce alterations. In our article, we want to explain what kind of disorders can result and the treatments you should follow.
7 Complications Associated with Thyroid Disorders
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 09 October, 2022

Thyroid disorders affect more women than men, and lead to a wide range of symptoms and complications that often have a serious impact on a patient’s quality of life.

They’re without a doubt one of the most common medical conditions that especially affect women. While a treatment does exist to treat thyroid disorders, they usually imply considerably long processes, including chronic treatments that can require surgical intervention to improve quality of life.

At the same time, we can’t forget that this butterfly-shaped gland acts in countless metabolic processes. Any kind of hormonal deficit or excess can result in alterations that can be confused with other illnesses. For example, fatigue or sudden weight gain.

Let’s take a look at the disorders associated with thyroid diseases in order to understand the importance of paying attention to certain signs that you should mention to your doctor during your check-up.

1. Constipation, digestive problems or irritable colon

thyroid disorders

Before receiving a diagnosis for a thyroid disorder, it’s normal to experience phases of poor digestion or even outbreaks of irritable colon.

On the other hand, the symptoms we experience can also help determine what kind of thyroid problem we suffer from:

  • Hypothyroidism:
    •  Constipation
    •  Poor absorption of nutrients
    •  Indigestion
  • Hyperthyroidism
    •     Diarrhea
    •     Stomach pain
    •     Abdominal distention
    •     Occasional vomiting

2. Menstruation problems and possible infertility

Irregularities in menstrual cycles are common for patients with thyroid problems.

  • In cases of hypothyroidism, menstruation cycles tend to be longer and more painful.
  • In turn, women who suffer from hyperthyroidism usually have shorter and more frequent periods, or worse, reach menopause early. 

This is certainly one of the more serious complications associated with thyroid disorders. This is why it’s essential to see a doctor so that they can make a timely diagnosis and you can get appropriate treatment.

3. Muscular and joint problems

Muscular and joint problems

This is one of the most common thyroid disorder problems; however, it’s also one of the least known. People with hypothyroidism, regardless of age or gender, usually suffer persistent muscle and joint pain. It’s a symptom that wears them down so much that it can even result in an erroneous diagnosis like, for example, fibromyalgia.

However, with treatment, this symptom usually reduces considerably. At the same time, people with thyroid problems often develop carpel tunnel syndrome or plantar fasciitis.

In the case of people  with  hyperthyroidism, they tend to experience pain and weakness in their arms and legs. 

4. High cholesterol

Thyroid dysfunction has a major impact on lipids as well as other cardiovascular risk factors. Hypothyroidism is relatively common and is associated with a negative effect on lipids. Thyroid problems do not cause bad or LDL cholesterol to increase, but they do make it more resistant.

This is common when certain patients aren’t successful in lowering their cholesterol level despite trying diet, exercise and even statins. When this occurs, we’re usually dealing with a case of hypothyroidism. On the other hand, a very low level of cholesterol can indicate hyperthyroidism.

5. Changes in resting habits resulting from thyroid disorders

Changes in resting habits resulting from thyroid disorders

One of the consequences that most affect the quality of life for thyroid disease patients is poor rest. However, the disorders don’t actually affect the hours of sleep. Sometimes, patients wake up tired and weak even if having slept 10 hours the night prior. On occasions, the sensation of not having rested sufficiently leads the patient to take naps or sleep through entire weekends. It’s a very serious problem.

In other instances, however, a person can go to bed and struggle to fall asleep due to tachycardia, heightened nervousness or anxiety.

6. Changes in skin

In addition to hair loss, it’s normal to experience noticeable skin changes. Skin can appear rougher, drier and scalier especially on the ankles, knees and elbows. These are conditions associated with hypothyroidism.

On the other hand, in cases of hyperthyroidism, skin can become delicate and very sensitive to temperature changes.

7. Depression and anxiety

A depressed man in winter.

Hypothyroidism derives from a less active thyroid that can lead to a change in our neurotransmitters as a consequence. The drop in serotonin or dopamine can result in depression.

When a patient with a depressive disorder shows resistance to psychiatric drugs, it’s likely that they suffer from a thyroid problem.

What should you do if you have symptoms of thyroid diseases?

This goes to show that many of the thyroid disorders that many people suffer from can be found in problems like: mood, nocturnal rest or joint pain. These could be thyroid problems that haven’t yet received a diagnosis or an effective treatment.

In you have any of these symptoms it’s advisable to see a specialist to ensure a proper diagnosis and treat the problem as quickly as possible.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.