Hypothyroidism In Women...Recognizing The Signs and Symptoms

For many people, the term hypothyroidism is just some non serious medical term thrown around. If you have ever had an annual physical, then probably had labs done, including one to check thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels.

The thyroid performs a very important function in the body. The thyroid is a small butterfly shaped gland located in the front of the neck, on either side of your windpipe. The thyroid produces the thyroid hormone, which controls your metabolism and growth for the entire body.

Women are more likely to have hypothyroidism, and thyroid disease, especially those over 60 years of age. According to The Office Of Women's Health (OWH), one in eight women will develop thyroid problems during her lifetime

What is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is basically an under-active thyroid. Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones. There are many glands in the body, but the thyroid gland is the small, butterfly-shaped organ at the base of your neck that makes hormone that regulate your metabolism, which affects how the body uses energy, and other processes.

There are two types of hypothyroidism, primary and secondary. Primary hypothyroidism is the most common type of hypothyroidism. Primary hypothyroidism is due to a disease of the thyroid, and the TSH levels will be high. Secondary hypothyroidism is less common in people,  and is due to pituitary or hypothalamic disease, and the TSH levels are low. 

Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

There are many signs and symptoms that can alert you that you are experiencing issues with your thyroid. 

  • Weight Gain

  • Fatigue

  • Weak and Achy Muscles and Joints

  • Feelings of Being Cold

  • Depression or Feeling Down

  • Dry, Itchy Skin

  • Hair Loss

  • Difficulty Concentrating and Remembering

  • Heavy and/or Irregular Periods

  • Constipation

The Risk Factors

  • Thyroid Surgery

  • Thyroid Removal

  • Autoimmune Disease

  • Treatment for Hyperthyroidism

  • Radiation Therapy

  • Medications

What To Do?

Hypothyroidism is not uncommon, and is completely treatable. Symptoms may worsen without treatment, and a goiter (enlarge thyroid) may form as your body tries to over produce more hormones. It is important to see your doctor, and seek treatment if you have the above signs and symptoms.

How It's Diagnosed

  • Blood/Lab Test

  • Physical Exam

  • Imaging

Getting treatment can make all the difference in the world to both your mental and physical well being. There are many holistic options out there as well, such as Iodine drops and selenium supplements. Talk to your doctor and do your research. I hope this blog was helpful, informative, and leads to a path of feeling better.

If you would like to share your struggles and journey with hypothyroidism please submit a comment.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, registered dietitian, or fitness expert. The purpose of my blog is to share my experiences with food, fitness, and life—not to dole out advice. When it comes to your health and fitness, do your research and consult your doctor.

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