Common Signs Could Mean You Have A Thyroid Condition

Thyroid disorders affect millions of people. The two common types of thyroid disorders are hypothyroidism (underactive) and hyperthyroidism (overactive). An underactive thyroid means your body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormones, and overactive means the opposite. Consult your doctor if you notice these common signs of a thyroid problem, especially if you experience one specific behavioral trait (on page 10).

1. Your internal temperature is unpredictable

young woman drinking tea

Temperature problems are a sign. | shironosov/iStock/Getty Images

When you have an underactive thyroid, your body overall slows down. When this happens, less energy is being burned by your cells. This can create a constant chill, since your body is having a hard time regulating its internal temperature. On the contrary, if your thyroid is overactive, you might sweat more than usual. Any change in body temperature should be brought up to your doctor.

Next: Counting sheep won’t remedy this symptom.

2. Your sleep schedule is off

Senior woman sleeping

Sleep problems are a sign. | Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

An underactive thyroid can make you very tired, but an overactive one can keep you awake. If your sleep schedule is off and you aren’t getting nearly as much sleep as you used to, it could be a sign of an overactive thyroid. Restless nights can happen to anyone once in a while. But according to WebMD, with an overactive thyroid, you tend to have more energy than you know what to do with.

Next: Is your waistline rapidly expanding?

3. You’ve gained unexplainable weight

young healthy girl on home scales

Weight gain could be a sign. | Ensuria/Getty Images

An overactive thyroid might make you hungrier, but you won’t gain weight. However, in contrast, an underactive thyroid can affect your metabolism, which can lead to unexplained weight gain. If your diet hasn’t changed and you’re exercising frequently, yet you’re still gaining weight, it’s likely the thyroid is the problem. Talk to your doctor and have your thyroid checked, because it will be difficult to lose weight if the thyroid is underactive.

Next: Are you thinning out in all the wrong places?

4. Your hair is thinning

thinning hair

Thinning hair is often caused by a thyroid problem. | Zneb076/iStock/Getty Images

Your hair says a lot about your health. Thinning hair can be the result of a slew of health problems, but thyroid problems are one of them. With an underactive thyroid, you might notice hair loss all over your body. And with an overactive thyroid, you’ll likely only notice hair loss on your head. Either way, one of them could be culprit.

Next: Address this symptom ASAP.

5. You have high cholesterol

Cholesterol level chart

Cholesterol levels might be higher with a thyroid problem. | iStock.com/designer491

When you have high cholesterol, the best way to combat it is to change your diet and exercise more. But if your cholesterol levels are high and are not responding to those changes, the thyroid could be the problem. With an underactive thyroid, cholesterol levels are not well-controlled and could rise. This can lead to heart problems down the road if the hypothyroidism goes untreated.

Next: Few things are more uncomfortable than this issue.

6. You’ve noticed constipation

Bathroom

Constipation is sometimes a cause for concern. | BrianAJackson/Getty Images

An underactive thyroid can slow down the digestive system, which may make you feel constipated. And constipation is actually a very common symptom of hypothyroidism. If you’ve noticed an unexplainable change in your bowels, talk to your doctor. The problem could likely be slower movement in your digestive tract as a result of an underactive thyroid.

Next: No fancy creams can fix your face?

7. You have dry skin

woman applying moisturizer

Dry skin could be caused by a thyroid disorder. | studiokovac/iStock/Getty Images

When your thyroid produces too little hormone, your metabolism is affected. This can reduce the amount of moisture in your skin. It ends up becoming dry and flaky, and you feel like you have to moisturize far more often than you used to. Dry skin is common in winter, but if you moisturize frequently or live in a warmer environment and still notice dry skin, talk to your doctor.

Next: Is the pressure getting to you?

8. Your blood pressure is higher than it used to be

nurse checks blood pressure

High blood pressure is a sign. | Zinkevych/iStock/Getty Images

Both overactive and underactive thyroids can play a role in blood pressure. But underactive thyroid is a bit more serious. Hypothyroidism can slow the heartbeat, which affects the strength of the heart’s pumps and creates higher blood pressure. High blood pressure can be a sign of many different complications, so suggest a thyroid test to your doctor if you think that may be the cause.

Next: This is a bizarre signal of a thyroid disorder. 

9. You have unexplained pains

hand pain

Unexplained pain is common. | KatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images

The thyroid plays a role in pain sensitivity. If you have too little thyroid hormone, it can damage the nerve cells that respond to signals from your brain. And when this happens, you sometimes get numbness or pain for no apparent reason. The pain will likely be in your extremities and will come and go but can do permanent damage if left untreated.

Next: This common behavioral change is a clear warning sign.

10. Your appetite isn’t what it used to be

Mediterranean style food

Are you hungrier than usual? | OksanaKiian/Getty Images

If you’ve noticed a change in appetite, the thyroid could be the root of the problem. When your thyroid is overactive, it ramps up nearly every system in your body and can leave you feeling hungry all the time. But just because you’re hungrier doesn’t mean you’re gaining weight. Actually, with an overactive thyroid, you’re hungry all the time and don’t gain any weight. That’s because the over activity offsets the number of calories you’re eating.

Next: Are you on your third cup of coffee today?

11. You’re more tired than usual

young man massaging his nose and keeping eyes closed

Low energy levels could signal thyroid problems. | iStock.com/g-stockstudio

If you feel like you don’t have the same energy you once did, you should consider getting your thyroid checked. Being overtired is a sign that your thyroid is producing too little of the thyroid hormone. If you’ve been getting enough sleep but still notice you have no energy, there could be an underlying problem. Plus, a lack of energy can be frustrating, so getting it sorted out will improve your mood as well.

Next: When was the last time your felt frisky?

12. You have a lower sex drive

Depressed couple

Low sex drive could be from a thyroid problem. | Dean Mitchell/iStock/ Getty Images Plus

Losing interest in sex can be tough on a relationship. And if you aren’t sure where the low drive is coming from, it can be hard to fix it. But there’s a chance your thyroid is responsible for your disinterest. If your thyroid is producing too little hormone, it could result in a lower libido. Talk to your doctor if you’ve noticed you’re less interested in sex than you used to be.

Next: Don’t despair if you experience this symptom.

13. Your mood has been on the downswing

Depressed young woman crying

Depression is a sign. | Katarzyna Bialasiewicz/iStock/Getty Images Plus

If your thyroid is underactive, it can affect the amount of serotonin produced in the brain. As a result, you might feel more depressed than usual. If depression is something you never dealt with in the past, and you can’t explain why you might have it, the thyroid could be responsible. An underactive thyroid might explain your mood, and getting it checked out by a doctor could greatly improve your quality of life.

Next: Stop stressing over this symptom and get to the doctor.

14. You’re more anxious than usual

A woman with anxiety

Anxiety is also a sign. | iStock.com/Viktor_Gladkov

Anxiety and depression often go hand in hand. And according to EverydayHealth.com, a thyroid disorder can be responsible for both. If you’ve noticed you’re always on edge or have had more anxiety symptoms than usual, it could be your thyroid. And if you never used to have anxiety, it’s definitely worth getting the thyroid checked. But anxiety is the result of an overactive thyroid, so rather than feeling lazy and depressed (which would be underactive), you feel more hyperaware and worried.

Next: This is a big sign of a thyroid problem in women. 

15. Your menstrual cycle has changed

Sad woman lying on the couch at night

Menstrual complications are common. | iStock.com/tommaso79

For females, a cycle with longer, heavier periods can signal an underactive thyroid. That’s because the menstrual cycle is just another system the thyroid helps control. On the contrary, a very light period can signal an overactive thyroid. There a few different factors that can affect the cycle, such as stress or birth control, but if you notice things don’t seem right, it’s best to talk to your doctor.

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