Why Thyroid Disorders are Often Overlooked

As a woman your body goes through many stages. From the monthly ups and downs,to the fluctuations of your body through pregnancy, birth, after-birth and menopause. That being said, it’s not surprising that many women can be experiencing symptoms of a thyroid disorder without knowing it. Especially since you are more likely to develop thyroid disease right after pregnancy or menopause, a time when your body is adjusting to so many changes.

Left untreated, thyroid problems can cause severe heart problems, stroke, brittle bones, loss of consciousness, or other serious health problems. If you’re experiencing irregular periods, unstable sleep, fluctuating body temperature and/or weight don’t write it off as “menopause” or any other likely excuse.  Make an appointment with doctor to get your thyroid checked!

Your thyroid gland is a tiny gland with a big job. Butterfly-shaped, it is located in front of your windpipe (trachea) below the thyroid cartilage. The thyroid produces and releases hormones that regulate metabolism, heart function, digestion, muscle control, bone strength, energy levels, and even mental states.

There are two categories of a thyroid disorder:

  1. Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid producing and releasing too little of the thyroid hormones, known as T3 and T4.
  2. Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid producing and releasing too much T3 and T4.

Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is more common than hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism symptoms include:

  • Weight gain
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Tired or sluggish
  • Hair loss
  • Feeling cold more often than usual
  • Dry skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands
  • Constipation
  • Abnormal menstrual periods

Hyperthyroidism symptoms include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure and heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive sweating and an aversion to heat
  • Muscle weakness or trembling hands
  • Vision problems
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular menstrual periods

There are numerous causes for thyroid disorder including but not limited to: family history, diet, iodine deficiency, medicinal side effects, Hashimoto’s Disease, gland problems, and pregnancy issues.

Thyroid disorders are assessed easily via blood test, and can usually be treated effectively with medication and/or a dietary regimen.  In rare cases, surgery may be indicated. If you have any of the above recurrent symptoms, speak to your doctor about testing and potential treatment.