Despite the role of major thyroid player in the cellular metabolism, thyroid problems are quite common. They affect women more than men – 2% of women will be affected in their lifetime. When the thyroid works poorly and releases too much or too little hormone, it can seriously compromise the basic functions of your body, including sleep, reproduction, appetite, and digestion.
We are almost all struggling with a little fatigue from time to time, some weight fluctuations or an occasional bad mood. After all, we are busy, it is difficult sometimes to handle this stress and the multitude of things to do.
But if you are regularly struggling with symptoms of this type or with some severity, your thyroid may be the cause.
What is the thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the anterior central part of your neck, about halfway between the lower part of your chin and the one at the base of your neck.
The thyroid serves as a body thermostat, regulating energy, temperature, and metabolism. Thanks to a series of chemical reactions based on minerals such as iodine and selenium, the thyroid control everything from your mood to your menstrual cycles, without forgetting countless other functions, including the efficiency with which you burn calories and hence the weight loss.
Here are 8 signs that you could have thyroid problems:
1. Taking or losing weight
Weight gain is one of the biggest signs of hypothyroidism if you have not changed your diet or lifestyle. Indeed, when your body does not have enough thyroid hormones, the metabolism of all your tissues and cells slows down. A slower metabolism means less energy is burned.
Thyroid gain or weight loss usually occurs gradually, says Jason S Baker, an endocrinologist at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, but this is not immediately noticeable. If your thyroid problem develops suddenly, the change in your metabolism may be faster, but generally, thyroid conditions change slowly and fluctuations in your weight will follow.
2. Change of appetite
Having an underactive thyroid (Hypothyroidism) can also decrease your appetite because your body uses less energy, and hyperactivity can stimulate it. As a result, you may notice that you eat less but you gain more weight or vice versa.
3. Irregular menstrual cycle
When your periods become more or less frequent, this may be a sign of hyperactivity of the thyroid. Any disruption of regular ovulation can potentially increase your risk of infertility.
4. The serious blow of fatigue
Energy fluctuations, for no apparent reason, are one of the biggest alarm signals that indicate an abnormality in your thyroid. Fatigue, even after a good night’s sleep or a nap, is a sign of hypothyroidism. With fewer thyroid hormones and a slower metabolism, your body feels “worn out”. You may also feel palpitations in your heart.
5. Bad Mood
The imbalances in thyroid hormones can dramatically change your mood. With hypothyroidism, some people feel a little depressed. One study suggests that it is because changes in thyroid function have an impact on serotonin, a well-being chemical in the brain. People with hyperthyroidism may experience anxiety, nervousness or agitation.
6. Dry skin and brittle hair
A thyroid disorder compromises the function of the sebaceous glands, therefore, the skin becomes very dry, and hair loss may occur a little later. If your thyroid is overactive, your skin may be visibly more oily, but hair loss may also be a symptom.
7. Digestive disorders
Sometimes, people with an underactive thyroid can feel a little constipated. This is because too little thyroid hormone can slow down digestion. The opposite is true with an overactive thyroid: digestion is stimulated and may cause more frequent bowel movements or diarrhea.
8. Sweats or chills
When your thyroid is overactive and your metabolism speeds up, you end up sweating. When underactive, your body tries to conserve heat by limiting blood flow to the skin, which can make you feel freezing even on a hot day.