Your brain, digestion, and your metabolism start slowing down because of an underactive thyroid gland. It stops you from thinking and functioning properly.
You may wonder just how much of a difference can a small butterfly-shaped gland make to your body, but the difference is huge. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing the thyroid hormone and without it, your body won't be able to use up energy, it won't be able to keep you warm, and it won't be able to maintain the health of your brain, heart, muscles, and other organs, according to the ATA (American Thyroid Association).
Sometimes it's possible that your thyroid gland is overactive or underactive. When it's underactive, what you have is known as hypothyroidism. Because of it, your body is not able to produce enough thyroid hormone for your body to function properly. It can have a number of effects on your body and these signs will help you figure out whether you have hypothyroidism.
If you are a woman nearing menopause, you need to be especially careful of these signs. Estrogen levels fall significantly in the time leading up to and after menopause. According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Thyroid Research, there is a link between the hormone and thyroid functions. Though the study wasn't conclusive on the matter, it does give us enough information to assume that there is a probability there.
Without enough thyroid hormone in your body, things start slowing down and your body processes start decelerating. As this happens, it can slow down your metabolism. And what you will notice is that you have started gaining weight. However, this need not be because of excess fat. It could be the extra salt and water that's causing the weight gain.
Noticing that your hair is changing in texture or in volume could be a sign of hypothyroidism. Your hair might start becoming weak and fall off easily. You might also see that it's becoming a lot dryer than what it usually is. It is even possible that a bit of the hair from your eyebrows also start falling.
Another of hypothyroidism is the weakening of your muscles and joints. While your muscles might ache, your joints might feel stiff. "Hopefully you’re in tune with your body and recognize something feels different than your baseline," said, endocrinologist, Valentina Rodriguez, according to Women's Health. You need to be concerned if you're noticing these effects when you haven't particularly started doing anything new or extra physical during your regular routine.
If you always notice that you feel cold even when everyone around you is feeling perfectly okay with the temperature, it could be because of hypothyroidism. The level of thyroid hormone could be affecting your temperature sensitivity, making you feel unusually cold all the time.
Fatigue is another common symptom of hypothyroidism. You may feel like you don't have the energy to do any of the things you normally do. "This is total generalized fatigue of your body, and it’s the most common symptom of this disease," said endocrinologist, Dr. Pessah-Pollack, according to Prevention.
Just like everything in your body starts slowing down, your thinking ability or the functioning of your brain might slow down, too. You might have troubling focusing on your everyday tasks or you might struggle to recall certain things. Dr. Rodriguez said, “You won’t be able to think as clearly, and you might feel like you have brain fog.”
It is said that often times, a dermatologist could be the first to notice that you have the symptoms of thyroid disease because of the effect it has on your skin. You are most likely to notice that your skin is becoming extremely dry and itchy. Sometimes, it might take your body longer to heal from wounds than usual. Noticing that your face has swollen up could also be because of hypothyroidism, according to AAD (American Academy of Dermatology).
When your periods start changing, it usually means that your body is going through something different. And one reason could be hypothyroidism, where your periods might be heavier, meaning you have more flow than usual. They might also last longer than the usual number of days you have your periods.
Feeling moody or somewhat "off" is rarely associated with thyroid. However, it is a symptom of hypothyroidism and could even make some women experience depression. "There is a link between hypothyroidism and anxiety and depression, which can affect your ability to function and pay attention," says Dr. Pessah-Pollack in an article in Prevention.
Once again, because of the slowing down of your entire body, the process of digestion and throwing out of waste also slows down. Because of this, you might experience constipation, which can lead to other medical issues as well.