It can be difficult to detect if your thyroid is not functioning properly. Because it is responsible for producing so many different hormones, an underactive thyroid can manifest in a multitude of ways.
If you think you might have a malfunctioning thyroid, or you haven't been feeling like yourself lately, keep reading to see if you need to talk to your doctor about hypothyroidism.
What is Hypothyroidism?
This is a medical condition that can develop when your thyroid gland is unable to produce the correct amounts of certain hormones. Without these hormones, your body can't function at its full capacity. Thyroid hormones affect everything from body temperature to energy levels, metabolism and heart rate.
There is also a condition called hyperthyroidism, which is an overactive thyroid gland. However, this disorder has a more obvious and straightforward set of symptoms, so it is typically easier for a doctor to recognize right away. Because of this, today's article will focus on hypothyroidism.
What Are the Most Common Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
Unfortunately, there is not a universal set of symptoms to watch for with this disorder. Low levels of any of the hormones your thyroid produces can trigger a myriad of side effects.
Most often, you will notice one or more of the following signs:
- Persistent tiredness
- Unusual depression
- Altered sense of taste or smell
- Brain fog
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain
- Poor digestion
- Dry, itchy skin
- Brittle hair or nails
- Excessive hair loss
- Irregular or heavier periods
In addition to these issues that you may notice at home, your doctor may have also noted issues such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, low body temperature or heart palpitations.
Generally speaking, if there is no other underlying cause that you and your doctor can find for your symptoms, it's best to have your thyroid levels tested.
What to Ask Your Doctor
If you're concerned about a thyroid problem, request that your doctor tests your levels of free T3, free T4, reverse T3, thyroid anti-bodies and thyroid-stimulating hormone, or TSH, at minimum. At Gonino Center we also include in a full thyroid workup including cortisol, sex hormones, Iron studies, B12, minerals like magnesium and potassium, Vit D3, MTHFR and many more to understand the full picture.
Even if your lab results fall into the normal range, don't be afraid to ask your doctor about the possibility of testing out a thyroid medication if your symptoms and physical examination line up with typical underactive thyroid diagnoses. Sometimes, you will have to be your own advocate and push for the care you believe that you need.
It's important to remember that treating a thyroid condition takes some trial and error to get the dosage right. Be patient, and pay attention to how your body is feeling once you've started a treatment plan. How you feel is the most important indicator of whether a medication is right for you.
Stop the Thyroid Madness and Talk to Your Doctor
Thyroid problems are incredibly common and can have a lasting impact on your quality of life. If you suspect that you have a thyroid issue, don't wait to visit your doctor.
For additional wellness tips and expert advice on taking control of your thyroid health, listen to the Gonino radio show "Stop the Madness!" with Janie Bowthorpe.