7 Signs of Hypothyroidism

It is not uncommon for people, especially women, to suffer from some form of abnormal thyroid function in their lifetimes. The thyroid hormone is responsible for coordinating energy growth and metabolism throughout the body, and problems can occur when this hormone’s level is either too high or too low. Hypothyroidism refers to a case where low levels of thyroid hormone slow down the metabolism, decrease growth, and slow repair throughout the body. While this is a common condition, many people overlook symptoms that indicate they may need thyroid treatment to alleviate. Below are some of the most common signs of hypothyroidism that you may be missing.

1. Fatigue

Thyroid hormones control energy balance, so when they are imbalanced, so is your level of energy. In fact, animals who hibernate actually show much lower thyroid function in the period before they begin their long sleep. Similarly, Hypothyroidism can leave you ready to nap or feeling worn out throughout the day. Not only can you be left tired, but many people with hypothyroidism also report reduced activity, mental exhaustion, and low levels of motivation. This is not changed with even high amounts of sleep. Feeling more tired and drained than usual may indicate low thyroid hormone levels.

2. Unexplained Weight Gain

In addition to reduced activity, someone with low levels of thyroid hormone is also experiencing an effect where their livers, muscles, and fat tissue are told to hold on to calories, making it difficult to lose or maintain weight even when dietary habits are unchanged. This is because hypothyroidism leads to metabolism switching modes from burning calories to storing them. If you are gaining weight despite a good diet and exercise plans, your metabolism could be impacted by low thyroid hormone levels.

3. Feeling Chilly

Our bodies typically heat up as we burn calories- think about how you feel hot when you work out. Even when sitting or typing, you’re burning small numbers of calories, generating some amount of heat. But when you have hypothyroidism, your basal metabolic rate will decrease, leading to a reduction in the body heat you generate. Additionally, low thyroid levels lower the thermostat on Brown fat, which helps the body to regulate temperature in cold climates. Feeling more sensitive to the cold than usual, or far colder than those around you, can be a sign you need to seek thyroid treatment for low hormone levels.

4. Hair Loss

Thyroid hormone regulates most cells in the body, including hair follicles. Compared to many other cells, these follicles have a short lifespan and quick turnover rate, leaving them more vulnerable to low thyroid levels than some other tissues. Hypothyroidism can cause them to stop regenerating, leading to hair loss that usually improves with proper thyroid treatment. In addition to hair loss, some patients also see hair becoming coarser over time. While many hormonal issues can cause hair loss or changes in hair growth patterns, hypothyroidism may be the culprit.

5. Constipation

As your body is slowed down by low thyroid hormone levels, your digestive tract may be included. While it is not usually the only symptom, constipation can be another sign of hypothyroidism slowing down the body’s natural functions. You can try natural laxatives, but persistent constipation for days or weeks can lead to serious issues without seeking medical attention.

6. Dry or Itchy Skin

Similar to hair follicles, skin cells are known for their rapid turnover, leaving them sensitive to lost growth signals from adequate thyroid hormone. When this renewal is not happening as expected, skin can take longer to regrow, leaving the outer layer of skin an older and more damaged version. This skin may stick around longer, leaving you feeling flaky and dry. While many people have dry skin for non-thyroid related reasons, if it appears suddenly or in conjunction with other symptoms, you may consider it a sign of thyroid problems.

7. Feeling Depressed

While the reason isn’t entirely clear, hypothyroidism has been linked to depression. Some theorize this is because of the decrease in energy and health, leading to mental consequences. Hormonal fluctuations can also lead to mood changes, and thyroid hormone replacement has actually been shown to reduce feelings of depression. If you are feeling depressed, it is always important to seek mental health care in addition to thyroid treatment, even when the two may be linked.

There are tests you can get if you suspect that you have thyroid issues. Contact Fox Integrated Health today to schedule your first consultation to get tested and find the best course of action for you.