The small, butterfly-shaped gland at the front of your neck: your thyroid. This gland produces hormones that help regulate metabolism and digestion.
Chances are you haven’t thought about your thyroid much unless you’ve been experiencing problems. Women are up to eight times more likely to experience thyroid problems than men. That’s why undergoing a routine thyroid and hormone evaluation is a great way to keep your health front and center.
Thyroid issues often don’t cause problems until they’re in a more advanced state, so it's important to know what to look out for. Copperfield Family Clinic, located in Houston, Texas, is here to share five signs of a thyroid imbalance in women.
You’ve probably experienced many weight fluctuations as a woman. On average, women can experience five pounds of weight fluctuation per day, which is often tied to water weight. However, if you’ve experienced 5-10 pounds of unexplained weight gain or weight loss, this may be attributed to a thyroid problem.
Hypothyroidism describes a condition in which your body doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone to carry out normal functions. When thyroid levels are low, your metabolism slows down, and your body will burn less energy, resulting in weight gain.
Also known as an overactive thyroid, hyperthyroidism occurs when your thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone. This allows the body’s metabolism to speed up leading to weight loss without a cause.
A well-functioning thyroid allows the body to produce 65% energy and 35% heat. The thyroid produces hormones that affect how your blood vessels dilate, and this can shift your body’s temperature, allowing you to feel too hot or too cold.
Hypothyroidism can cause you to feel too cold and allow you to add extra layers or get chills when other people feel comfortable. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, can allow you to feel too hot and to sweat excessively.
Do you notice you’re shedding more and more hair? While some hair loss is normal, if you’re losing more than 100 strands a day this may be attributed to a thyroid problem.
Hair loss can occur from either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. This hair loss occurs all over your scalp, leading to uniform thinning all over. Luckily, this type of hair loss can be improved by successfully treating the thyroid disorder.
Treatment may involve:
Nearly all thyroid problems can be improved with treatment and result in normal thyroid function.
Located at the front of your neck, a thyroid can become inflamed and cause swelling. A lump in your neck, also known as a goiter, can appear with either kind of thyroid imbalance.
Approximately 5% of people in the United States develop a goiter; and while they’re usually not dangerous, sometimes, goiters are a sign of thyroid cancer. Schedule a meeting with Regina Ottan-Obi, FNP, DNP, or your primary health care physician to examine your goiter and undergo necessary testing for thyroid cancer.
Do you feel tired and sluggish all the time? Hypothyroidism may be the culprit. Your body needs a certain level of energy for optimal performance, so a decline in production can result in feelings of tiredness and fatigue.
Many people may also experience depression from a thyroid imbalance. Levels of certain hormones that are produced by the thyroid are directly linked to depression. Similarly, symptoms of thyroid problems are also associated with depression.
If you are experiencing thyroid problems along with depression, it is important to let your physician know so they can order a blood test and give you the most accurate diagnosis.
Are you experiencing one of these five signs or something different? Don’t wait — get help today. Call 281-789-6477 to schedule your consultation or book online.