Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that produces hormones that your body needs. Unfortunately, some people’s thyroid glands do not produce enough of the thyroid hormones, which can create several negative physical effects.
Wondering if you may have hypothyroidism? It’s a disease that typically comes on gradually, so you may not notice the symptoms at first. Here are some of the more common ones.
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
- Weight gain
- Dry skin
- Puffy face
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- For women: heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- For men: trouble maintaining an erection
- often need over eight hours of sleep at night?
- always need to wear a sweater, even if nobody around you is cold?
- have lower libido than you used to?
- have trouble swallowing, or feel a lump in your throat?
- find you have more difficulty remembering things?
- struggle with infertility?
- frequently have constipation or hard stools?
Obviously, many of these symptoms can and may be attributed to different physical ailments. But if you find that most or all of these symptoms fit your experience, I encourage you to talk to a doctor about your concerns.
There are a variety of possible causes for hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can be the result of exposure to some common environmental toxins, having an autoimmune disease, going through radiation therapy, ingesting certain medications, and having thyroid surgery or treatment for hyperthyroidism (having too much thyroid hormone production).
There are a few groups of people who are at increased risk for hypothyroidism. These include people with an autoimmune disease, women older than 60, women who have been pregnant or delivered a baby within the last 6 months, and people who have a family history of thyroid disease.
Testing your thyroid hormone levels can help determine whether or not you have hypothyroidism. If you have many of these symptoms, we’d be happy to talk with you about testing and treatment options.