You May Be Hypothyroid If…by Mary Shomon Patient Advocate
You may be hypothyroid if you are experiencing some of the common — and lesser-known — signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid. Learn about these signs and symptoms now.
You are unusually exhausted, even after getting enough sleep
Hypothyroidism can make you extremely exhausted. Even if you’re getting the necessary seven or more hours of sleep per night, you make wake up exhausted. You may need a nap to make it through the day, or you may find yourself sleeping 10 or more hours every weekend night in an effort to catch up on sleep. If fatigue is getting in the way of your daily life, you may be hypothyroid.
You are gaining weight, or you can’t lose weight
Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain, even without a change to your diet or exercise. An underactive thyroid can also make it difficult to lose weight, even after you’ve reduced calories and/or increased your amount of calorie-burning exercise. If you find yourself gaining weight, where even the most rigorous diet and exercise plan is not working, then you may be hypothyroid.
You are depressed, anxious, or moody
Hypothyroidism can cause mood changes. An underactive thyroid is also associated with reduced effectiveness of antidepressant medications. If you’re experiencing depression, anxiety, or moodiness, you may be hypothyroid.
You are losing hair, especially from the eyebrows
Hypothyroidism is associated with hair loss in both men and women. Typically, you may experience loss of hair not only from your head but also from other parts of your body. A unique sign of hypothyroidism is the loss of hair from the outer edge of your eyebrows. When you have an underactive thyroid, your hair may also become drier, coarser, and more prone to breakage. If you have noticeable hair loss and hair changes, you may be hypothyroid.
You have high cholesterol, even with diet changes or medication
Hypothyroidism is associated with cholesterol levels. You may develop elevated cholesterol levels, even with a healthy diet and exercise. Or, if you’re prescribed a cholesterol-lowering drug, like a statin, it may not work as well as expected. If you have inexplicably high cholesterol, or high cholesterol that is not responding well to medication, then you may be hypothyroid.
You have a low sex drive
Hypothyroidism is associated with sexual dysfunction and low sex drive in both men and women. In men, hypothyroidism is also linked to erectile dysfunction. If you’re experiencing sexual dysfunction, you may be hypothyroid.
You are having menstrual irregularities
Hypothyroidism is linked to a number of menstrual irregularities, including heavier menstrual periods and periods that come more frequently and last longer than normal. If you’re experiencing menstrual problems, you may be hypothyroid.
You are having trouble getting pregnant or you are experiencing recurrent miscarriages
Fertility problems and recurrent miscarriage are associated with hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism increases the risk of infertility, defined as the inability to become pregnant after a year of sexual activity without contraception. Recurrent miscarriages are also more common in people with hypothyroidism, especially hypothyroidism caused by the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. If you’re experiencing infertility, failed assisted reproduction treatments, or recurrent miscarriages, you may be hypothyroid.
You have constipation or chronic constipation
Chronic constipation is associated with hypothyroidism. Constipation is defined as having fewer than three bowel movements a week and/or experiencing difficulty passing stools. Chronic constipation is when constipation persists for several weeks or longer. If you’re experiencing chronic constipation, or your constipation is not responding to prescription drugs, over-the-counter remedies, or changes to your diet, then you may be hypothyroid.
You are sensitive to cold temperatures
Cold sensitivity is linked to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism can make you feel acutely sensitive to and intolerant of cold temperatures. Hypothyroidism is also associated with lower-than-normal body temperatures in some people. If you feel cold when everyone else feels warm, or if you need a sweater when everyone else needs air conditioning, you may be hypothyroid.
You have pain or aches in your shoulder, hands, and legs
A number of pain-related conditions are linked to hypothyroidism. These include frozen shoulder, as well as carpal tunnel and tarsal tunnel syndromes. If you have pain in your shoulder with restrictive range-of-motion, or if you experience numbness, tingling, or pain in your fingers, wrists, forearms, feet, or calves, then you may be hypothyroid.
You have puffiness in your hands, feet, face, or eyelids
Hypothyroidism is linked to puffiness and swelling, known as edema. If you notice puffiness in your fingers and hands, toes and feet, or in your face — especially under your eyes and around your eyelids — then you may be hypothyroid.
You have brain fog or memory problem
Cognitive dysfunction is associated with hypothyroidism. If you have difficulty concentrating or focusing — sometimes called “brain fog” — or if you have memory challenges, then you may be hypothyroid.
You have changes in your eyes
Hypothyroidism can cause symptoms in your eyes, including dry eyes, a persistent twitch, and redness and puffiness. If you’re having eye-related symptoms, you may be hypothyroid.