Your thyroid is a very important, small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that controls production of some of the most critical hormones in your body. Among other bodily functions, your thyroid hormones regulate your body’s metabolism.
If your thyroid isn’t working properly, that can lead to some significant health issues—but depending on whether your thyroid is producing too much or too little of the critical hormones, your body will react in two very different ways.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism are the two extremes of thyroid abnormality. When present, these conditions create essentially opposite physical reactions.
Hypothyroidism means your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough of the necessary hormones. The most common cause is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disorder, but hypothyroidism can have other causes as well, including some complications of hyperthyroidism treatment. Common symptoms include:
- Weight gain
- Reduced heart rate
- Lack of appetite
If your thyroid is producing more hormones than necessary, that’s hyperthyroidism. Several different things can cause hyperthyroidism—one of the most common causes is Graves’ disease.
Other causes include pituitary gland issues (since your pituitary gland communicates with your thyroid to indicate how much of what hormones to produce), inflammation of the thyroid glands, which causes them to release too much hormones, and sometimes cancerous growth. Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism are:
- Eye protrusion or irritation
- Irregular heart rate
- Frequent bowel movements
- Enlarged neck area around thyroid gland
- Infrequent menstrual cycles
- Weight loss
- Increased energy
Of course, neither hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism are optimal states for your body to operate in. If you are concerned that your thyroid is producing too much or too little of the hormones your body needs, give us a call. We can help you discover what is going on and find a treatment plan that will work for you.