Your thyroid is a gland that makes hormones that influence almost every system in your body. Thyroid disorders can range from an enlarged gland that doesn’t need treatment to thyroid cancer. The most common thyroid problems are hyperthyroidism, (too much thyroid hormone) and hypothyroidism (too little hormone production). Symptoms for both of these conditions can be very similar to other health problems which may make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose. These may include:
Sudden increases or decreases in weight
Sudden and unexplained weight changes could be a sign that your thyroid is not functioning correctly. If you have noticed that you are gaining weight despite regular exercise and reduced calorie intake or noticed that you are losing weight without making any lifestyle changes, it’s time to consult a physician.
Increased sensitivity to temperature
If you have an underactive thyroid, a condition known as hypothyroidism, you may have a decreased tolerance to cold weather. However, if you have an overactive thyroid, also known as hyperthyroidism, you may experience excessive sweating even in regular temperatures.
Fatigue and Trouble Sleeping
Another symptom of a dysfunctional thyroid is fatigue. The feeling of fatigue even after getting 8 hours of sleep at night, waking up intermittently throughout the night, having anxiety before falling asleep or napping for long periods of time during the day are all common indications of a problematic thyroid.
Depression, Anxiety or Mood Disorders
Thyroid problems have been known to cause erratic behavior and mood disorders. If you are not responding to medication for depression and/or are experiencing an increased frequency of anxiety attacks or panic attacks, ask your physician about thyroid disease.
Neck and Throat Discomfort
Discomfort in either the neck or throat is a possible indication of a more serious thyroid condition. An enlarged thyroid causes swelling of the neck and results in difficulty swallowing, breathing or difficulty speaking. While these are symptoms of thyroid disease, they may be related to other serious conditions. Our recommendation to those who are experiencing neck and throat discomfort is to consult a physician as soon as possible.
Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism affect bowel movements, but in different ways. An underactive thyroid can cause constipation and an overactive thyroid can cause more frequent bowel movements.
This list is not an exhaustive list of all symptoms, but if you are experiencing one of more these issues, Baptist Health recommends that you request an appointment with your primary care physician to see if your symptoms are thyroid related.