Your Brain Feels Fuzzy
Sure, it could be caused by sleep deprivation or aging, but cognitive functioning can take a hit when your thyroid is out of whack. Too much thyroid hormone can cause difficulty concentrating and too little may cause forgetfulness and general brain fog. “When we treat patients for hypothyroidism, they are often surprised at how fast their brain fog goes away and how much sharper they feel,” Dr. Miller says. “Many women think it’s just something that comes along with menopause when it really is a sign of a thyroid problem.”
Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Thyroid disorders are common. In fact, about 12% of people will experience abnormal thyroid function at some point during their lives.
Women are eight times more likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men. Also, thyroid problems increase with age and may affect adults differently than children.
At the most basic level, thyroid hormone is responsible for coordinating energy, growth and metabolism in your body.
Problems can occur when this hormones levels are too high or low.
Hypothyroidism, or low levels of thyroid hormone, slows your metabolism and decreases growth or repair of many parts of the body.
Other Causes Of Hypothyroidism
In some cases, hypothyroidism results from a problem with the pituitary gland, which is at the base of the brain. This gland produces thyroid-stimulating hormone , which tells the thyroid to do its job. If your pituitary gland does not produce enough TSH, levels of thyroid hormones will fall. Other causes of hypothyroidism include temporary inflammation of the thyroid or medications that affect thyroid function.
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What Are The Types Of Thyroiditis
Types of thyroiditis include:
- Hashimotos thyroiditis: This autoimmune condition, also called chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is caused by antithyroid antibodies. Its the most common form of thyroiditis and the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
- Silent or painless thyroiditis: This is an autoimmune condition caused by antithyroid antibodies.
- Postpartum thyroiditis: This is an autoimmune condition caused by antithyroid antibodies that can occur within one year after giving birth. Its relatively rare.
- Radiation-induced thyroiditis: This is a condition caused by radiation therapy used as a medical treatment for certain cancers or by radioactive iodine used to treat hyperthyroidism.
- Subacute thyroiditis or de Quervains thyroiditis: This is an often painful condition thought to be caused by a virus. Its usually preceded by upper respiratory infections.
- Acute infectious thyroiditis: This is a rare condition caused by an infectious organism or bacterium.
- Drug-induced thyroiditis: This is a condition caused by the use of medications such as amiodarone, interferons, lithium and cytokines. It only occurs in a small fraction of people using these drugs.
- Riedel thyroiditis: This is a rare disease caused by chronic inflammation and fibrosis of your thyroid gland. Fibrosis is the thickening or scarring of tissue.
Can Thyroid Cause Trouble Swallowing
Thyroid enlargement can cause difficulty swallowing, or dysphagia, as a result of the thyroid gland directly compressing the swallowing organs. The thyroid gland, which is usually about the size of a quarter, can become enlarged as a symptom of various thyroid disorders, as well as other medical conditions.
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Symptoms Of Thyroid Nodules
Most thyroid nodules dont cause symptoms. For people who do have symptoms, they may have trouble swallowing or breathing or have a feeling of fullness, pain, or pressure in the throat or neck. Some people might notice a lump in their neck when they look in the mirror, but this is uncommon. Some people experience rapid unintended weight loss, feelings of nervousness, or an irregular heartbeat.
How Bad Can Your Thyroid Make You Feel
Thyroid problems can have a significant influence on your energy and mood. Hypothyroidism causes people to feel weary, sluggish, and sad. Anxiety, difficulty sleeping, restlessness, and irritability are all symptoms of hyperthyroidism. The severity of these symptoms depends on how far along in either hypo or hyperthyroidism you are. In general, the more severe your thyroid problem, the more noticeable those symptoms will be.
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What Is The Difference Between Hyperthyroidism And Hypothyroidism
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are medical conditions that both have to do with the amount of thyroid hormone your thyroid makes and releases the difference is how much.
Picture something related to the word hyper. Most likely, you just thought of something fast or full of a lot of energy. When you have hyperthyroidism, your thyroid is overactive and produces and releases too much thyroid hormone.
In the medical world, the prefix hypo- means low or not enough. When you have hypothyroidism, your thyroid is underactive and doesnt make and release enough thyroid hormone that your body needs.
How Are Goiters Treated
Depending on the test results, a goiter might not need to be treated. If it does, treating the thyroid disease causing the goiter usually will decrease or control the enlargement.
Surgery might be needed if the thyroid keeps getting bigger even with treatment and causes discomfort or a very large lump in the neck.
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When To Call A Doctor
In most cases, problems with your thyroid arent an emergency. If you feel you have some of the symptoms above, you can simply make an appointment with your doctor to discuss testing and treatment options. However, you should call your doctor immediately if:
- Youre very drowsy, cold, and lethargic. This could be the start of a myxedema coma, which is caused by hypothyroidism that eventually leads to unconsciousness and in some cases death.
- You have a rapid pulse, accompanied by a fever, agitation, or delirium. This can indicate thyrotoxic crisis, a complication of hyperthyroidism.
Its not always easy to know if you have a problem with your thyroid. Knowing some of the common symptoms of an underactive or overactive thyroid will help give you an idea of you need to talk to your doctor.
Talk with your primary care provider about testing and treatment of thyroid issues. They may refer you to an endocrinologist or thyroid specialist for follow-up care.
Your Bowels Are Unpredictable
People with hypothyroidism sometimes complain of constipation. The disruption in hormone production has likely caused a slowdown of digestive processes.
“There’s just no motility in your gut,” Dr. Miller says. “This is one of the top three most common symptoms of hypothyroidism I see.”
On the reverse side of the spectrum, an overactive thyroid gland can cause diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements, which is why they’re symptoms of hyperthyroidism.
Thyroid Nodule Symptom # : A Lump In The Neck That You Can Feel
- What to do about it?
Thyroid nodules that the patient can feel under the skin, which is confirmed by a doctor should almost always be examined by an ultrasound test. Depending on the characteristics of the nodule , the nodule may need a needle biopsy. We have an entire section of this website on thyroid needle biopsies.
How Can I Prevent Goiter
A goiter caused by iodine deficiency is generally the only type of goiter you can prevent. Consuming a diet that includes fish, dairy and a healthy amount of iodized table salt prevents these types of goiters. Iodine supplements and other supplements are generally not recommended and may do more harm than good.
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Thyroid Supplements Can Be Risky
You’ve probably seen supplements claiming to offer “thyroid support.” Don’t believe the hype: When the Mayo Clinic researchers analyzed popular pills available online, they discovered that even those billed as herb-based contained varying amounts of actual thyroid hormones.
Even scarier, the doses of hormones found in some of these products were higher than those in prescription meds. “A large dose can cause dangerous side effects, such as arrhythmias and problems with your bones,” says Dr. Fink.
What Foods Are Bad For Thyroid
Foods that are bad for the thyroid gland include foods from the cabbage family, soy, fried foods, wheat, foods high in caffeine, sugar, fluoride and iodine. The thyroid gland is a shield-shaped gland located in your neck. It secretes the hormones T3 and T4 that control the metabolism of every cell in the body.
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What Does A Lump/thyroid Nodule Feel Like And What Should I Do If I Have One
Typically, the nodule will feel firmer than the rest of the thyroid gland, but you should look for asymmetry, and if you can palpate something that counts. If you feel a nodule, you should contact your doctor.
Patients are referred to an endocrinologist, where an ultrasound can determine if the thyroid gland lump looks suspicious. If it does, the endocrinologist or pathologist will use a small needle to remove tissue or fluid from the thyroid to examine it for cancer cells.
Thyroid nodules are very common and frequently reported, and the overwhelming odds are that they will be benign.
Although the chances are low that a thyroid lump is cancerous, early detection is important. If you feel any changes to your thyroid gland or are experiencing symptoms like tenderness or difficulty swallowing, it is important to talk to your doctor.
Thyroid cancer is a very curable disease it is important to detect early and have treatment right away.
This article was originally published in 2016 and was reviewed again in 2022 for medical accuracy.
Heavy Or Irregular Periods
Both irregular and heavy menstrual bleeding are linked to hypothyroidism.
One study showed that about 40% of women with low thyroid hormone experienced increasing menstrual irregularity or heavy bleeding in the last year, compared to 26% of women with normal thyroid levels .
In another study, 30% of women with hypothyroidism had irregular and heavy periods. These women had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism after other symptoms had caused them to get tested .
Thyroid hormone interacts with other hormones that control the menstrual cycle, and abnormal levels of it can disrupt their signals. Also, thyroid hormone directly affects the ovaries and uterus.
There are several problems besides hypothyroidism that can cause heavy or irregular periods. If you have irregular or heavy periods that disrupt your lifestyle, consider talking with a gynecologist before worrying about your thyroid.
Summary: Heavy periods or irregular cycles that are worse than usual could be caused by a medical condition, including hypothyroidism. Its best to talk to a gynecologist about them.
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Who Should Be Tested
If you think you have symptoms of a thyroid problem, ask your doctor if you should be tested. People with symptoms or risk factors may need tests more often. Hypothyroidism more frequently affects women over age 60. Hyperthyroidism is also more common in women. A family history raises your risk of either disorder.
Signs Your Thyroid Isnt Working Right
by The Surgical Clinic |
Keep in mind, your body is a complicated and intricate system that operates on many levels of performance. However, over time many factors can build up and disrupt the balance of your body. Specifically, your systems can become overactive or underactive in order to compensate or respond to these factors.
Thyroid function problems, in particular, occur when the thyroid either becomes under or overused. These conditions are called hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, respectively. Both of these conditions can cause several problems. In order to explore twenty signs of thyroid problems, our Nashville, TN surgeons have divided them into ten signs for each of these separate conditions.
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Know How To Check Your Neck
Try this simple test from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists to see if you have a telltale sign of thyroid disease.
1. Use a handheld mirror to look at the lower front area of your neck, above your collarbones and below your voice box.
2. Tip your head back, take a sip of water, and watch for protrusions in that area.
3. If you notice a bulge, call your doc. You may have a thyroid nodule or enlarged thyroid .
What Are The Symptoms Of Goiter
The size of a goiter can range from very small and barely noticeable to very large. Most goiters are painless, but if you have thyroiditis , it can be painful.
The main symptoms of goiter include:
- A lump in the front of your neck, just below your Adam’s apple.
- A feeling of tightness in your throat area.
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Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- Is my thyroid nodule cancer? If it isnt now, does this mean that I am more prone to developing thyroid cancer?
- Will my children be more likely to get thyroid nodules?
- What is the best treatment for my thyroid nodules?
- If I have one thyroid nodule now and it goes away, will it come back?
- What can I do at home to prevent thyroid nodules?
- Do you have any educational materials I can read?
- Can you recommend any websites?
You Can’t Always Blame Your Thyroid
“One of the most common questions I hear is ‘I’m gaining weight. Could it be my thyroid?'” says endocrinologist Dorothy Fink, MD, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Women’s Health Director, Office on Women’s Healthr.
It’s true that if you’re hypothyroid, you may see a change on the scale. But the condition typically comes with other symptoms, too, such as fatigue, constipation, and irregular periods. And even if you are experiencing multiple signs, your doctor will likely also consider a hormone dysfunction or perimenopause, as well as unhealthy habits .
Ideally, says Dr. Fink, your doc would analyze these factors in addition to ordering a blood test for thyroid disease.
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Surgery For Thyroid Disorders
Removing the thyroid gland can cure hyperthyroidism, but the procedure is only recommended if antithyroid drugs don’t work, or if there is a large goiter. Surgery may also be recommended for patients with thyroid nodules. Once the thyroid is removed, most patients require daily supplements of thyroid hormones to avoid developing hypothyroidism.
Check If You Have A Goitre
The main symptom of a goitre is a swelling at the front of the neck, which is usually painless.
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What About Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer is uncommon and is among the least deadly. The main symptom is a lump or swelling in the neck, and only about 5% of thyroid nodules turn out to be cancerous. When thyroid cancer is diagnosed, it is most often treated with surgery followed by radioactive iodine therapy or, in some cases, external radiation therapy.
You’re Feeling All Fluttery
That fluttery feeling you’re having may be heart palpitations. It can feel like your heart is actually fluttering or skipping a beat or two, or beating too hard or too quickly. You may notice these feelings in your chest or at pulse points in your throat or neck. Heart flutters or palpitations can be a sign of too many thyroid hormones flooding your system .
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Can Your Thyroid Cause You To Be Tired
The body’s metabolism slows down in persons who have an underactive thyroid . This can frequently result in a variety of symptoms, including lethargy and weariness. Being tired can also mean that you need more sleep than normal people. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you may feel more tired than you actually are.
Your thyroid gland controls the rate at which your body uses energy. Therefore, it plays a key role in determining how tired you feel. If your thyroid is abnormal, you may experience fatigue. Not only will you likely feel tired, but you may also suffer from weight loss even though you are eating more than usual and trying to exercise more. These are all signs that something is wrong with your thyroid function.
Thyroid disease can be permanent or temporary. With permanent disease, the thyroid tissue itself is damaged, so it cannot produce sufficient amounts of hormones. With temporary disease, the problem goes away when you correct the reason for the low blood sugar levels. Most cases of thyroid disease are due to problems with your pituitary gland communicating with your thyroid gland. This can happen for many reasons including surgery to remove brain tumors, called craniopharyngiomas . The surgeon must remove some of the connecting nerves between the two glands in order to prevent memory loss or other neurological problems after the operation.
Symptoms Of Thyroid Nodules: The Complete List
Each of these is discussed in detail below with “what to do about it” recommendations.
As you read about these different thyroid nodule symptoms below, we will provide links to other parts of the website that will be important to read next. Most thyroid nodules don’t need a biopsy, however, thyroid nodules that have symptoms almost always will need scans and most will need a thyroid biopsy. We will help you understand this. We are also developing a Thyroid Nodule App for smart phones which will help you diagnose your thyroid nodule and tell you what you should be doing about it. Look for it in the App Store about March, 2017!
Almost all thyroid nodules that cause symptoms will require surgery.
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