The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that’s located along the front of your windpipe in your neck. Your thyroid secretes thyroid hormones, the main one being thyroine or T4.
Thyroid hormones are critical to your health. In fact, your thyroid is so important that it effects every single cell in your body influencing your metabolism, body temperature, growth and development.
When your thyroid is underactive it doesn’t make enough thyroid hormones, and that starts to drag down many processes in your body, slowing them to a virtual crawl.
This slowdown can lead to one of the first symptoms people typically notice with hypothyroidism, a lack of energy or intense tiredness. Next many folks often notice that they’re starting to pack on the pounds despite not having made any big diet changes.
In fact these two thyroid symptoms are so common that for most folks they’re the first—and often the only—symptoms that come to mind when you mention thyroid problems. But the truth is they’re far from the only ones.
29 common thyroid symptoms of an underactive thyroid
Following are twenty-nine commonly reported symptoms of hypothyroidism.
Of course since everyone’s body, and experience with an underactive thyroid, is different you may only experience a few of them, or even none at all.
|29 symptoms of an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)|
|weight gain or difficulty losing weight|
|coarse, dry hair|
|sensitivity to cold|
|muscle cramps and aches|
|abnormal menstrual cycles|
|swelling of eyelids|
|brittle or thin nails|
|jaundice (yellowing skin and eyes)|
|increase in tongue size|
Causes of an underactive thyroid
By far the most common cause of hypothyroid is an autoimmune condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. When you have Hashimoto’s your own immune system attacks your thyroid causing inflammation.
The chronic inflammation eventually causes your thyroid to breakdown and over time it becomes less and less efficient at producing thyroid hormones.
Hashimoto’s affects approximately 10 million people in the United States and approximately 10 percent of women over the age of 30 develop the condition, even if they don’t know it.
Growths on your thyroid or pituitary problems can cause a sluggish thyroid too.
4 drugs linked to hypothyroidism
Certain common drugs can have an effect on your thyroid function. Following are the 4 drugs that could be causing your underactive thyroid…
Lithium is typically prescribed to treat bipolar disorder and sometimes depression. However lithium can slow down both the production and the release of thyroid hormones leading to hypothyroid.
Amiodarone is a drug that’s used for heart rhythm issues. The drug is high in iodine and the excess iodine can suppress the production and release of thyroid hormones as well as affect the conversion of T4 into T3 leading to hypothyroidism.
3. Interleukin-2 (IL-2):
This drug is used to treat certain malignant tumors as ell is in cases of hepatitis C and B. It can cause an underactive thyroid in a small number of users.
Used to treat patients with leukemia or metastatic cancers a percentage of patients on this drug go on to develop hypothyroidism.
Food and mood can effect thyroid function too
What you eat and drink as well as you quality of life can have an effect on your thyroid function as well.
Gluten sensitivity, fluoride (found in water) and pesticides (found in non-organic produce) can all negatively affect your thyroid function. Get tested for gluten sensitivity or try a three week elimination diet to see if your symptoms improve. Used a reverse osmosis water filter to reduce your fluoride exposure and switch to organic fruits and vegetables.
Chronic stress can affect your adrenal gland function and ultimately your thyroid health. Try deep breathing, regular exercise and other relaxation techniques to reduce your stress level.
Test for hidden thyroid problems
Many people have thyroid problems, but don’t even know it. This can be complicated by the fact that even if you have tests that come back “normal” you can still have hidden thyroid issues.
You see most doctors only check for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) which gives you an incomplete picture of your thyroid health. Seek out an integrative or holistic doctor and inquire about testing for
- Free T3
- Free T4
- and thyroid antibodies
Your integrative medicine doctor can help you bring your thyroid back into balance This may require natural thyroid replacement.
Support your thyroid with supplements
You can support your thyroid health with certain nutrients Look for a supplement containing the following…
- vitamins A and D,
- and omega 3 fats (fish oil).
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