At CentreSpringMD we take a holistic approach and look at all of the parts of the person.

It is important to assess all of the factors that can affect thyroid’s normal function:

  • Are there nutritional deficiencies?
  • Is this an autoimmune thyroid issue?
  • Is there a nodule present?
  • Were there any prior infections or toxicities?
  • Are there digestive issues or food sensitivities?
  • And what are the other hormones doing?

Keep reading for 5 of the most common signs and symptoms of thyroid problems in females:


1. Goiter

There has been a recent increase in television stars being diagnosed with a thyroid issue after viewers have noticed they have goiters.  A goiter is where thyroid becomes inflamed and the lower neck appears more swollen.  This can be a sign of hypo or hyper function of the thyroid gland.  Symptoms may include tightness in the throat that may lead to difficulty swallowing/breathing, coughing, or hoarseness in the voice.  The first action you should take if you are concerned about a possible goiter is having a healthcare professional assess you and decide if an ultrasound and hormone level testing is warranted.


2. Hair Thinning

The thyroid hormone signals follicle stimulation for hair growth.  Therefore when thyroid hormones are low in the body, people will shed hair more in the scalp and the outer parts of their eyebrows.


3. Change in Weight/Energy

Hypothyroid can cause slowing of the metabolism/basal metabolic rate and create unexplained weight gain.  This weight gain is usually not a gradual change, but more recent/acute (i.e gaining 15-30 pounds in a year) without changing your diet or exercise routine.  The body starts the store more fat cells and use less of it for energy production; thus making it harder to lose weight.  The body normally uses food as our energy, but when it starts to store your nutrients, people will notice a reduction in physical energy and become more fatigued than normal.

Hyperthyroid can lead to the opposite problem and induce unexplained weight loss because it increases your metabolism/basal metabolic rate.  Your body uses more of the food for every day energy production in the body.  So more calories are being burned and will sometimes leave people with a faster heart beat and anxiety, which we will discuss as the next two symptoms.


4. Irregular Heartbeat/Cardiovascular Disease

Thyroid hormones also affect the heart and circulatory system.  As I just mentioned, an underactive thyroid can make you store more fat.  This can then increase your cholesterol levels, leading to hardening and narrowing of arteries and a slower heart rate.  When cholesterol suddenly changes from one year to the next, your healthcare provider should also be checking your thyroid hormones.  A hyperactive thyroid will increase the heart rate, sometimes leading to an irregular heartbeat like atrial fibrillation or higher blood pressure.


5. Change in Mood

With lower physical energy, a slower heart rate, and changes in appearance, hypothyroid patients will often feel more depressed and have lower motivation.  Hyperthyroid patients will often feel jittery and anxious because of their heart racing.

Rosi PatelRosi Patel is a certified Family Nurse Practitioner who joined CentreSpring MD in early 2017 and is excited to be part of a group of like-minded professionals. Prior to joining the CentreSpring family, she spent 8 years as an emergency room nurse and other various acute and ambulatory settings.

Email to schedule a visit with Rosi Patel.

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Categories: Hormones, Women's Health