The thyroid is a small gland that has a major job to do. Situated at the base of your neck, this butterfly-shaped gland produces hormones that have many physiological effects, including controlling metabolism, regulating body temperature, and controlling heart rate.
Nearly 20 million people in the United States have some form of thyroid disease, and many of them don’t know it.
The board-certified team of physicians at Executive Medicine of Texas in Southlake, Texas, want to raise awareness of the warning signs of hypothyroidism so you can get the help you need should a thyroid problem arise.
Here, we discuss five of the most common symptoms of having an underactive thyroid.
Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
Weight gain is often one of the first noticeable signs of hypothyroidism. Because the thyroid controls how many calories you burn and how your body uses energy, too little thyroid hormone causes your metabolism to slow down.
Your metabolism is in charge of transforming calories into energy, and when this process slows, your body stores unused calories as fat, which can lead to weight gain and make it challenging to lose weight.
Weight gain in hypothyroidism is usually gradual; you may slowly gain mild to moderate weight. It’s common for people with hypothyroidism to turn to diet and exercise and find that it’s hard to get the extra pounds off despite watching what they eat and exercising.
Intolerance to cold
If you’re the only one in the room who feels cold, it may be your thyroid. If you shiver at room temperature, wear a sweatshirt even on warm days, and continually have to explain your chilly hands and feet, your thyroid may be struggling.
What is the connection between a slow thyroid and cold intolerance? When all parts are functioning properly, the body is a fine-tuned mechanism capable of adapting to changes in its environment, including environmental temperature. It has numerous methods for maintaining a constant baseline body temperature.
Your baseline body temperature is your body's temperature at rest. For most people, 98.6℉ is normal. Your body uses sweating and shivering to help maintain body temperature.
Your thyroid gland is important in regulating your temperature. Having hypothyroidism often results in a lower basal body temperature. Even reducing your internal body temperature by point degrees can make you feel cold.
Fatigue despite adequate rest
Another common symptom of hypothyroidism is feeling tired and worn out. You may feel exhausted all of the time, regardless of how much sleep you get.
Daytime naps or a persistent need for coffee may also be indicators of a thyroid problem. If you feel tired even after a restful night, it’s wise to speak with a health care provider at Executive Medicine of Texas about it.
Trouble getting pregnant
Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid disease. If your thyroid function is abnormal, it can impact your menstrual cycle and affect fertility. Not only might you notice irregularities in your cycle, but hypothyroidism tends to cause issues like heavy periods.
If you’re trying to conceive, you may have difficulty if you have hypothyroidism. Treating underactive thyroid increases the chances of getting pregnant. Your physician monitors you closely throughout your pregnancy.
Constipation is very common in people with an underactive thyroid. Hypothyroidism slows many of your body's functions, including digestion. Some signs of constipation are
- Having fewer than three bowel movements weekly
- Passing hard, lumpy, dry stools
- Straining during bowel movements
- Abdominal discomfort
You may also feel as if you need to pass stool but aren’t able to.
Recovery from underactive thyroid
A simple blood test to check your thyroid levels can confirm underactive thyroid. It’s treated with thyroid hormone replacement medication that you take daily to maintain normal hormone levels. Regular testing allows for adjusting your hormone replacement dose when necessary.
Rely on the experts at Executive Medicine of Texas to get your thyroid levels back on track. If you have symptoms of underactive thyroid, schedule a visit with one of our providers for a comprehensive thyroid evaluation.
To get started, call our Southlake office to book your visit.