You probably don’t think much about the function of your thyroid -- until you’re not feeling well and don’t know why. This small, but vital, gland controls several body functions that keep you feeling your best.
Vague symptoms can be frustrating. But don’t worry, because our trusted team at Family Acupuncture and Wellness has a thorough understanding of how to recognize problematic thyroid symptoms. Before we talk about signs that might mean your thyroid gland isn’t working properly, let’s discuss what a healthy thyroid should be doing for you.
What is the thyroid anyway?
Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of your neck. It’s part of your endocrine system and makes several hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. The function of these hormones is to control your metabolism, body temperature, and healthy growth and development.
If the thyroid isn’t functioning normally, you will either have too much or too little of these hormones. Too little thyroid hormone is known as hypothyroidism and can slow down the normal function of your body. Too much thyroid hormone is called hyperthyroidism and puts your body into overdrive.
Here are a few things you might notice if your thyroid isn’t functioning as it should.
If you’re feeling overtired, even after a full night’s rest, you might be suffering from hypothyroidism. Many people notice this feeling of fatigue as the first sign that something’s wrong.
If you’re gaining weight and can’t attribute the problem to a change in eating patterns or exercise routines, it might be time to have your thyroid levels checked to see if you have hypothyroidism.
The flip side of the coin? An overproduction of thyroid hormones can cause you to lose weight.
Too much thyroid hormone can make you feel hungry all the time. The good news is that this “hyper” state of secretion usually keeps everything moving more quickly, including your metabolism, so weight gain doesn’t typically happen.
Serotonin, the “feel good” hormone of your brain, is affected by the thyroid hormones. If your thyroid is sluggish and not secreting enough, you might feel unusually sad or depressed.
Little interest in sex
Lacking interest in bed? A slow-moving thyroid can leave you with low sexual desire. Not to mention, if you have other signs like body aches and pains or weight gain, sex might be the last thing on your mind anyway.
Unhealthy skin, hair, and nails
A healthy thyroid keeps your skin, nails, and hair healthy too. So if you’re not secreting enough of these hormones, you might notice dry skin, thinning hair, and brittle nails.
When your thyroid isn’t working to its max, your cognitive function might feel a little off. Too much thyroid hormone can make concentrating difficult, and not enough can leave you struggling with general brain fog and forgetfulness.
Do you struggle with belly issues such as constipation or diarrhea? Yep, you guessed it -- it might due to an abnormally functioning thyroid. Hyperthyroidism can overstimulate the bowels and leave you struggling with frequent bowel movements or diarrhea, while hypothyroidism can slow down digestive motility, causing constipation.
Too little thyroid hormone can damage the nerves that send messages to your brain and spinal cord, leaving you with pain and numbness in your arms, legs, feet, or hands.
Menstrual cycle changes
If your menstrual cycle is out of whack, you might want to consider talking to our providers about your thyroid function. High levels of thyroid hormones can make your periods shorter and lighter and low levels can leave you with a heavier flow and more cramps.
Your thyroid controls your body’s temperature regulation. If you can’t get warm or have cold chills, think about hypothyroidism. And if you’re always hot and sweat more than usual, hyperthyroidism might be the culprit.
Lumps or hoarseness
Changes in your voice or a lump in your neck could be a sign of a thyroid disorder.
If you’re struggling with a few of these vague, annoying symptoms, maybe it’s time for a consultation with our team of functional medicine providers. When you’re ready to get to the bottom of your symptoms, call our office in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, or book an appointment online today.