The Most Important Signs Your Thyroid Isn’t Working Right

The Most Important Signs Your Thyroid Isn’t Working Right

goa novi / Shutterstock


Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock

The first symptom of Hypothyroidism (not enough thyroid hormone) doctors mention is feeling very tired all the time. If you have no energy in the morning even though you slept well, your thyroid may be underactive. Managing fatigue can take time and low energy can continue for a while.

Feeling anxious or unhappy

wavebreakmedia / Shutterstock

Your thyroid may be producing too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little thyroid hormone. If you feel like you just can’t relax no matter what you do or that you are never in a good mood, your thyroid may be to blame. In case your thyroid is overactive, you may experience nervousness, rapid heartbeat, hand tremor, excessive sweating, and weight loss, among other symptoms.

Lack of focus or forgetfulness / Shutterstock

Studies indicate that an underactive thyroid can take a substantial toll on your mental health. Thyroid hormone deficiency slows everything down, including neurological functions, and then a domino effect follows – you can’t concentrate, you feel confused, have short-term memory loss. “I wouldn’t call these symptoms most specific, though,” Dr. Shenker says.

High blood pressure

Irenaphoto / Shutterstock

That is one symptom not many people are aware of or associate with thyroid problems. Hyper- or hypothyroidism both have been pointed out in some cases as the cause for high blood pressure. Factors related to having low blood pressure can create high blood pressure over time. One such scenario is when the kidneys fail to filter waste products properly when your pressure is low. That’s when angiotensin is produced, a peptide hormone that causes increase in blood pressure.


Twinsterphoto / Shutterstock

This condition is common for hypothyroidism, Dr. Shenker says. The irregular hormone production often leads to unpredictable digestive functions. The complete opposite can also be a sign of a thyroid condition – overactive gland can cause diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements.

For women: Irregular periods, difficulty conceiving

Irina Bg / Shutterstock

Menstrual abnormalities are common for women who have a thyroid condition. Their periods are more intense, last longer, with a heavier flow, which can lead to anemia. More cramps are a common as well. With hyperthyroidism, periods can be shorter and very light.

“Women of reproductive age can have difficulties conceiving,” Dr. Shenker says. If hormone levels are too low, a woman may not be ovulating as she should. Up to 5 percent of women who have trouble getting pregnant turn out to have a hypothyroidism. Newborns are screened for congenital hypothyroidism. “It’s not common but it’s important to diagnose,” Dr. Shenker says. “Otherwise kids can suffer from low IQ.”

Excessively dry skin

CruZeWizard / Shutterstock

Itchy and dry skin is another common symptom of hypothyroidism, according to Dr. Shenker. You may find your nails very breakable all of a sudden. Insufficient thyroid hormone slows down metabolism, which reduces sweating. The dryness can be extreme so that there is no sweating and the palms and soles get thick and dry.

Fluttering in your throat

file404 / Shutterstock

Your beats very fast and it may skip a beat. This often happens when your emotions go from zero to 100 on the intensity scale. You will probably experience palpitations in your throat and chest even when you’re resting. Increased levels of thyroxine released from the thyroid gland stimulate the heart to beat more quickly and more strongly. If that happens often, this might be a sign of a thyroid disorder.

Constantly feeling cold

Kekyalyaynen / Shutterstock

An underactive thyroid may be affecting your body temperature. Slowed metabolism means that your body is burning less energy. The opposite can also occur. An overactive makes your cell burn too much; hence, the excessive sweating.

Insomnia or sleeping all the time / Shutterstock

It’s not normal to feel like you need to sleep for hours during the day every day. A sluggish thyroid can do that to you. On the other hand, an overactive gland can make you stay awake when you shouldn’t be by making you anxious and increasing your pulse. The condition overstimulates the nervous system, making it hard to fall asleep.

Hair loss

ketmanee / Shutterstock

If all of a sudden you find a lot more hair on your brush after combing, your thyroid hormones may be out of balance. Hair loss of not among the most common symptoms, according to the British Thyroid Foundation, but it’s a possibility. Both hypo- and hyperthyroidism can be the cause. But don’t worry, the hair will most likely grow back one the condition is treated.

Weight gain

Ai825 / Shutterstock

The most common sign of a thyroid not working right: You’ve gained weight. This may be caused by an underactive thyroid which has significantly slowed down your metabolism. Having trouble losing a few pounds can also be a sign of hypothyroidism. The other extreme is losing weight fast. This may be due to an overactive thyroid gland.

Hungry all the time / Shutterstock

You may have heard before that healthy people have a good appetite. Too good may be a sign that you have hyperthyroidism. It is normal to be hungry after exercising or another intense physical activity. But feeling like you need more – and that happens every day for several weeks – may be a sign of diabetes or thyroid abnormalities.