Five Key Thyroid Symptoms in Women to Watch For

At CentreSpringMD, our functional medicine practitioners take a holistic approach and look at all of the parts of the person, including the thyroid and its effects on the body. Oftentimes, thyroid disease or hormonal changes influence weight loss, skin issues, and energy levels.

  • In turn, our functional medicine practice assesses 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 five of the most common signs and symptoms of thyroid problems in females.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms vs. Hyperthyroidism Symptoms

Before we touch on symptoms and thyroid issues in women, understand how the gland works. Located toward the base of the neck, the thyroid is a small gland that generates two general hormones — thyroxine (T-4) and triiodothyronine (T-3) — that influence how your body uses fats and carbohydrates and regulates its temperature, metabolism, protein production, and heart rate.

signs and symptoms of thyroid disorder

As such, having too much or too little of a thyroid hormone impacts your body on a holistic level. Two types of hormonal imbalances include:

  • Hyperthyroidism: Here, your body receives elevated levels of thyroid hormones. Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism include increased weight loss, a fast or irregular heartbeat, heart palpitations, changes in hunger, shaking, elevated anxiety levels, skin and sleep issues, thinning or brittle hair, weaker muscles, fatigue, more frequent bowel movements, and sensitivity to heat. Women may also notice a change in their menstrual cycles. Hyperthyroidism may be in response to overactive thyroid nodules, thyroiditis, or Graves’ disease.

Hypothyroidism: The thyroid isn’t generating enough T-4 or T-3. Symptoms of hypothyroidism often come on slowly and may occur in conjunction with elevated cholesterol levels or a heart issue. Common signs include fatigue, weight gain, sleep issues, increased cold sensitivity, dry or rough skin, constipation, a hoarse voice, puffy face, thinning hair, a slower heart rate, depression, memory issues, and irregular menstrual cycles. This condition may occur in response to Hashimoto’s disease, pregnancy, thyroiditis, an iodine deficiency, or a pituitary gland disorder. Patients may also experience hypothyroidism following thyroid surgery or radiation therapy to the head or neck area.

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What are the Symptoms of Thyroid Problems in Females?

1. Goiter

There has been a recent increase in television stars diagnosed with thyroid issues after viewers have noticed they have goiters. A goiter is where the 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, which may lead to difficulty swallowing or 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 on the scalp and the outer parts of their eyebrows.

3. Change in Weight or Energy

Being hypothyroid can cause slowing of the metabolism or 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 to 30 pounds in a year) without changing your diet or exercise routine. The body starts the store more fat cells and uses less of it for energy production, thus making it harder to lose weight. The body normally uses food as its energy source, but when it starts to store your nutrients, people will notice a reduction in physical energy and become more fatigued than normal.

Hyperthyroidism can lead to the opposite problem and induce unexplained weight loss, because elevated hormone levels increase your metabolism/basal metabolic rate. Your body uses more of the food for everyday energy production. So, more calories are being burned and will sometimes leave people with a faster heartbeat 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 wef just mentioned, an underactive thyroid can make your body hold onto more fat. This can then increase your cholesterol levels, leading to hardening and narrowing 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, on the other hand, will often feel jittery and anxious because of their heart racing. Unfortunately, thyroid disorder symptoms often get dismissed as anxiety or age-related changes in female patients. For a more thorough assessment of your hormonal health, turn to our holistic primary care and family medicine practice for a more comprehensive approach that connects your thyroid to your heart, life, and wellness and attempts to identify the root cause of the issue. Contact CentreSpringMD today to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.


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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.
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