January is Thyroid Awareness Month so we thought it would be a good time to review some of the signs of a thyroid that isn’t working right. More than 30 million Americans have a thyroid disorder, and about half of them are undiagnosed. That can be a real problem as the thyroid regulates numerous body processes which can make your life miserable from your brain to your bowels.
Some signs that your thyroid isn’t working right include:
- Exhaustion. If you’re often tired and have no energy, and/or if you’re tired when you wake up even though you had a full night’s sleep your thyroid may be underactive.
- Depression. Too little thyroid hormone can leave you feeling depressed or sad.
- Anxiety. Too much thyroid hormone can put your body in overdrive and make you feel anxious and “wired” like you can’t relax.
- Brain Fog. Whether you have trouble concentrating, are forgetful, or just have trouble thinking clearly, it may be a result of too much or too little thyroid hormone.
- Weight Gain. If you aren’t eating more than usual, and are exercising without any results, it’s likely your thyroid isn’t working right and is underactive.
- Weight Loss. An overactive thyroid can cause sudden weight loss that is not healthy.
- Low Libido. Too little thyroid hormone can lower your libido, and when combined with other thyroid issues such as weight gain, exhaustion, and pain you may really lose interest in sex.
- Heart Palpitations. If you feel like your heart is fluttering, skipping beats, or beating too hard or fast, your overactive thyroid may be flooding your system with hormones.
- Bowel Issues. Whether you have chronic constipation or recurring diarrhea it could be your thyroid causing the problem.
- Hair Today, No Hair Tomorrow. If your hair is thinning or falling out, or dry and brittle it may be because having too little thyroid hormone puts your follicles into “resting” mode.
- High Cholesterol. Yep, elevated levels of “bad” cholesterol can be caused by an underactive thyroid. Left untreated it can lead to heart problems.
- Hot and Cold. An overactive thyroid can make you hot or sweat profusely, while an underactive one can give you chills.
There are numerous indicators of a malfunctioning thyroid, and while many people simply live with their symptoms, there are treatments available to put your thyroid on the right track. A comprehensive blood test is a good place to start. The website, Health.com recommends finding a doctor who treats the person, not just the lab tests, and expect to visit your doctor a few times before you find the right dosage because testing and treating thyroid disorders requires some trial-and-error. Once your thyroid is working properly, you’ll be amazed at just how good you can feel!