By CARINA WOLFF
photos courtesy of Bustle
When something feels off in our bodies, our minds don’t usually jump to thinking that we have problems with our thyroid. However, there are a number of silent symptoms of thyroid issues to watch out for, especially because you might not even realize they’re a thyroid-related issues. Recognizing these symptoms can be helpful, especially when you’re unsure what’s causing these changes. Pinpointing what’s going on in your body can help encourage you to see a doctor, who can determine what’s wrong through testing and help you find solutions.
“Symptoms of thyroid disorders can oftentimes be very subtle or nonspecific,” Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, M.D., M.S. tells Bustle. “The symptoms that manifest may also be seen in various other medical conditions. Therefore, it’s not surprising that it may be difficult to spot a thyroid problem since signs and symptoms may be easily confused with other health problems.”
These symptoms may disrupt your life, but certain symptoms, like feeling tired all the time, do not always give us reason to check our thyroid health because it’s not the first thing we think to do. If you suspect something is off in your body, you’ll want to watch out for these seven silent symptoms of thyroid issues — and then discuss with your doctor what to do next.
Fatigue is a nonspecific symptom that may manifest in many medical conditions, including hypothyroidism, a condition in which your thyroid isn’t producing enough of important hormones. “If you feel chronically sluggish and fatigued, then discuss the symptoms with your physician,” says Okeke-Igbokwe. “Blood tests can be obtained to check your thyroid levels and determine if that is why you feel so tired all the time.”
“Hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland is speeding up — your metabolism is moving at a faster pace than normal, which often results in unexplained weight loss,” Dr. Taz Bhatia tells Bustle. On the flip side, when the thyroid gland is underactive (as is the case with hypothyroidism), your metabolic rate can slow down.
“Depression is a symptom of hypothyroidism that is often overlooked,” says Okeke-Igbokwe. “If your depressive symptoms are also accompanied by other signs [like these mentioned], then it is more likely that your thyroid is the root of the problem.” Although it is important to note that depression doesn’t always signify thyroid issues, but by speaking with a doctor or a psychologist, you can figure out what is causing your mood changes.
Having some bathroom problems? Your thyroid may be to blame. “A deficiency of thyroid hormone affects metabolism and may slow down the gastrointestinal tract, leading to problems with constipation,” says Okeke-Igbokwe. If this has become a consistent issue for you, a trip to the doctor can help.
Hair loss is a symptom of thyroid issues, but you can also experience more subtle changes with your hair. “Your hair texture might change before you experience hair loss,” says Bhatia. “In the early stages of thyroid imbalance, you may notice that your hair breaks easily or the strands are thinner.” But do not worry too much — by being mindful of this problem early on, and consulting with your doctor, you can help nip this issue in the bud.
With hyperthyroidism, your metabolism is sped up, which can cause a number of issues in the body beyond just weight loss. “You might even notice a bit of shaking or tremors,” says Bhatia. “You might grab a pen to write and notice you’re shaking.”
If you’re experiencing strange shifts in body temperatures, it might be an issue with your thyroid. Hypothyroidism can cause sensitivity to cold, while hyperthyroidism can result in sensitivity to heat and sweating, according to Dr. Melissa Cavaghan, an endocrinologist at IU Health.
Experiencing some of these symptoms doesn’t always mean you have an issue with your thyroid, but by checking with your doctor if you suspect something is up, you can help take care of your overall health.
Learn more at Bustle