Do you know what stomach pain and cramps, weight gain, loss of focus, and moodiness have in common? They are all triggered by thyroid problems. The thyroid, for those of you who don’t know, is a small gland in the neck that controls numerous physiological functions. For example, it controls our body temperature and also plays a part in the regulation of our mood.
The butterfly-shaped gland governs many metabolic activities in the body and secretes 3 highly important hormones – TSH, T3, and T4. The T3 and T4 hormones regulate our metabolism, temperature, and heart rate, while the TSH hormone regulates both hormones. All three hormones need to be in balance – if they start fluctuating, you will definitely feel the effects.
Types of Thyroid Problems
The two main thyroid problems are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, both caused primarily by hormonal imbalance. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid doesn’t secret enough hormones, while hyperthyroidism is triggered by high levels of thyroid hormones. Both conditions can be quite troublesome if left untreated, impairing a number of bodily functions.
This is why it’s very important to recognize the first signs of thyroid hormones imbalance in order to get the situation under control. Here are the earliest signs that indicate thyroid problems:
1. Hair Thinning
Hair thinning is common as we age, but if it affects you for no apparent reason, it might be because of a problem with your thyroid. The poor function of your thyroid leads to a slower metabolism and causes a variety of other problems which can make your hair thin and damage it beyond repair.
The world has become such a stressful place nowadays that it’s no wonder we feel blue every once in a while. However, constant moodiness may be a sign of thyroid problems and should be checked by a doctor. This problem is usually triggered by hypothyroidism.
3. Fatigue and Exhaustion
You can be tired for a variety of reasons – too much work, not eating properly or not sleeping enough. However, if you’re exhausted for no reason at all, it might be triggered by a problem with your thyroid. If even rest doesn’t help, we suggest going to a doctor.
4. Digestive Problems
When the thyroid gland isn’t working properly, it can cause a variety of digestive problems, including constipation and diarrhea. If any of these problems continue over a longer period, you need to visit your doctor and get the levels of your thyroid hormones checked.
5. Weight Gain
Gaining weight while being active regularly and eating normally is an obvious sign of thyroid problems. It means that the thyroid isn’t helping the body burn calories, resulting in sudden and quick weight gain.
6. Irregular Periods
The lack of thyroid hormones can lead to irregular periods, which might also be accompanied by pain and feeling cranky. If you’re experiencing this often, talk to your doctor.
7. Feeling Cold
Not wearing warm clothes in the winter will definitely make you feel cold, but if you’re freezing even on warm days, you obviously have a problem with your body temperature. And what controls our temperature? That’s right – the thyroid. When the three main thyroid hormones are thrown off balance, you will definitely experience temperature fluctuations and feel cold as a result.
8. You’re Sleepy
When your thyroid doesn’t work properly, you will feel sleepy and exhausted all of the time. It’s a common sign of hyperthyroidism that requires immediate medical help.
9. Brain Fog
Science has recently found that brain fog can actually be caused by poor thyroid hormone secretion or hypothyroidism. If you’re often having problems recalling recent events (or parts of them) and your memory is not like it used to be, get your thyroid checked by a doctor.
10. Poor Concentration
Hyperthyroidism will make you feel overly alert and anxious, seriously affecting your concentration. If this happens far too often, we suggest visiting your doctor.
11. Swollen Face, Neck, and Ankles
Puffiness in the face and swollen lymph nodes and ankles can be caused by an improperly working thyroid, resulting in inflammation and even bigger problems. People suffering from thyroid problems tend to wake up with a puffy face in the morning and a swollen neck as well. More often than not, fluid retention can also be a sign of some kind of thyroid problem.
As a poor functioning thyroid can cause irregular periods, it can also significantly affect your fertility, especially if you’re a female. In some cases, thyroid problems have caused miscarriage and frequently trigger serious reproductive problems.
13. Hoarse Voice
You know how your voice turns hoarse when you catch a cold? Well, when this happens for no reason, you might be suffering from improperly working thyroid. The hoarse voice may sometimes be accompanied with swollen neck and lymph nodes as well.
14. Low Libido
When your thyroid hormones are out of order, they will wreak havoc in your body, eventually throwing all other hormones off balance as well. This includes the sex hormones, and when their levels are low, your libido will suffer as a result.
15. Bulging Eyes
Bulging eyes and poor vision are signs closely associated with hyperthyroidism. People suffering from this problem may also develop light sensitivity and puffiness around the eyes.
As you can see, there are several signs which can show you that your thyroid is not working properly. The sooner you notice them, the better –if any of these signs isn’t gone after a month or two, you need to visit your doctor who will know what to do.