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Hypothyroid Symptoms in Women

Hypothyroid symptoms are more common among women than men. This is largely due to estrogen’s role in suppressing thyroid function and women naturally have far more estrogen than men.  Because of this, the hypothyroid symptoms in women tend to be more correlated with hormonal cycles.

Hypothyroid symptoms in women are especially noticeable during adolescence, pregnancy, menopause, and peri-menopause. This is because these are the typical times when estrogen and progesterone levels are changing within a woman’s body. In fact, women who have a history of female hormone imbalance or menstrual issues almost always develop hypothyroidism at some point in life.

Unfortunately, many hypothyroid symptoms in women go undetected or misdiagnosed. The tests for thyroid hormones are not always accurate; thus leading many women who are suffering from low thyroid function to suffer a great deal as their health and sense of well-being decline steadily. This can be a frustrating and fearful experience.

As the years pass, these women will find themselves taking a long list of medications and prescriptions for various ailments, when in reality; the answer is that they have been suffering all along from one or more of the common hypothyroid symptoms in women.  The fact is, hypothyroid symptoms in women can be quite severe and sometimes life changing if not addressed.

It is therefore, crucial that women pay close attention to their bodies and especially their thyroid function and follow the right hypothyroidism treatment plan when necessary.  The best way to determine if you have a low thyroid is to determine if you are suffering from hypothyroid symptoms:

Let’s take a look at some of the more common symptoms:

Early Stage Hypothyroid Symptoms in Women

  • Unexplained fatiguehypothyroid symptoms in women
  • Oversensitivity to cold
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint aches
  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Heavy menstrual cycles
  • Rough, dry skin
  • Hair that becomes coarse
  • Mental or emotional problems
  • Depression

 

Most of these hypothyroid symptoms in women will simply go unnoticed because they are so common.  It’s natural to consider them as separate problems altogether. However, if you find you are experiencing one or more of these, it might be a good idea to take a closer look at your body and how it’s functioning to determine if in fact, you are hypothyroid.

If these early hypothyroid symptoms in women remain untreated, the condition will naturally progress.  This is especially true for depression, which, when caused by a low thyroid function, has a tendency to lead to a major depressive state.

Other hypothyroid symptoms in women include physical changes that are not only uncomfortable, but sometimes embarrassing. Let’s take a look at some of the hypothyroid symptoms in women that are the result of not being treated properly for the condition.

Later Stage Hypothyroid Symptoms in Women

  • Face develops a round, puffy appearancehypothyroid symptoms in women
  • Eyes always look tired
  • Dry, rough skin that doesn’t respond to treatment
  • Hair loss
  • Intense muscle pain
  • Increased weakness
  • Mental confusion
  • Memory problems
  • Daytime sleepiness

 

Other Common Hypothyroid Symptoms in Women

Weight gain is one of the most noticeable hypothyroid symptoms in women.  Not only is low thyroid function responsible, but the additional lack of motivation due to fatigue and other symptoms only complicates things even further.

This added weight is because women with an underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism have a tendency to have a low resting, or basal, rate of metabolism. Unfortunately decreasing calories is not the solution to lose weight because you can only cut so many calories before you no longer get the necessary nutrients for your body to function and be healthy. Instead, it’s imperative to correct your thyroid function to increase or restore your metabolism. In other words, as long as you are hypothyroid, cutting calories is not going to help you lose weight.

This is why so many women get frustrated when they are trying to lose weight and nothing seems to work. Often, it isn’t that you have been overeating or lack exercise. It’s simply because you are hypothyroid.

Women suffering from hypothyroidism often spend most of their time dieting to no avail. Often they fall into the cycle of “yoyo” dieting which consists of starving and fasting, then binging and overeating.  Not only is this not good for your body, but it decreases your metabolic rate further, leaving you further in a state of hypothyroidism and making you more susceptible to other common hypothyroid symptom in women. It’s important to follow the right hypothyroidism diet to improve your thyroid function and boost your metabolism in a healthy way for weight loss.

Because of blood sugar issues associated with poor dietary habits as well as other forms of excessive stress, your stress hormones become affected as well. Your body will overproduce cortisol in an attempt to compensate and raise your blood sugar because your liver is unable to do its job. This results in sweet cravings, which if not balanced properly, leads to further weight gain.

You can see how having a problem with your thyroid can literally put your on a merry-go-round of symptoms that absolutely must be addressed.

If you find that you have any of the hypothyroid symptoms in women that are covered here, consider that the real problem may be that you’re unknowingly suffering from hypothyroidism. Even if you’ve tested negative for hypothyroidism, remember that current thyroid testing is very insufficient and more often than not leads to false negatives.

 

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Women

Many symptoms are often elusive because there are so many different symptoms and they are connected to such a variety of systems in the body. Probably the most common system that displays symptoms of hypothyroidism is the reproductive system.  Signs that often appear to be indicative of menopause, or pre-menstrual syndrome, often actually turn out to be symptoms of hypothyroidism in women.

Women of all ages can experience hypothyroidism. It’s important to know that the majority of people in all cases of this disorder are women and that while young women can be susceptible to symptoms of hypothyroidism in women as well, the majority of women are over the age of 30 or going through menopause.

If you suspect that your symptoms are in fact the common result of hypothyroidism then be sure run your own therapeutic trial and see if a good hypothyroidism treatment improves your symptoms.

While the condition does affect men as well, the incidence is not nearly as often and the symptoms are different in men than are the symptoms of hypothyroidism in women.

In order to get a good handle on the importance of knowing your body and knowing if you are experiencing any symptoms, let’s take a look at the thyroid and determine what it is and why it’s so important.

Thyroid Gland – The Reason for Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Women

Like all the glands in your body, the thyroid manufactures hormones. Thyroid hormones control the body’s metabolism. Most of us think of weight gain or loss when we hear the word metabolism, but in reality, the thyroid hormones do much more than merely control your weight.

Not only does the thyroid regulate metabolism and determine the rate of body system functions, but it also controls how fast or slow your body uses the energy it produces.

An overactive thyroid is when the gland produces too much of the hormone; in turn an under-active thyroid produces too little. When a woman has an under-active thyroid, she will eventually develop symptoms of hypothyroidism in women until she begins eating a proper hypothyroidism diet to stimulate and heal her thyroid.

Some of the more common symptoms of hypothyroidism in women are connected to the reproductive system. Let’s take a look at some of those symptoms and then go over some of the other symptoms women experience when the thyroid gland is not working properly.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Women

Reproductive System Symptoms

symptoms of hypothyroidism in women

  • Painful menstrual periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Excessive bleeding or clotting
  • History of miscarriage
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Postpartum depression
  • Low sex drive
  • Breast milk when not lactating
  • Fibrocystic or “lumpy bumpy” breasts

Although the symptoms of hypothyroidism in women can often be related to the reproductive system, that isn’t always the case.  In fact there are many symptoms that are not at all related. Here is a check list of general symptoms that could be indicating a problem with hypothyroidism:

General Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Women

  • Weight gain/difficulty losing weight
  • Slowness or slurring of speech
  • Dry, brittle hair
  • Chronic constipation
  • Brittle nails that break easily
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent cold sores or breakouts
  • Puffy face
  • Puffy fingers or toes
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Low energy level
  • Pain in the neck area
  • Noticeable lump in the neck area

Another way to determine if you may be experiencing symptoms of hypothyroidism in women is to see the check list below which indicates risk factors for the problem.

The following is a list of risk factors that may make you more prone to problems with your thyroid:

Risk Factors for Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Women

  • Use of lithium based mood stabilizers
  • History of stress or stress related illnesses
  • Use of birth control pills in women
  • History of family member with thyroid disorder
  • Menopause
  • Pre-Menopause

Another symptom of hypothyroidism in women is depression, which is often manifested by the hormones in your body.

Along with menopause, which is a time when many women feel out of sorts or experience depression. In some cases, depression alone is the first warning that something is wrong with the thyroid gland.

There are other symptoms of thyroid that mimic the symptoms of menopause. It’s a good idea to have an understanding of what these are so you can make an educated decision as to whether you are experiencing true symptoms of hypothyroidism or menopause. As mentioned above, sometimes both conditions can occur at the same time.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Women that Mimic Menopause

symptoms of hypothyroidism in women

  • Onset of depression that doesn’t go away in a few days or a week
  • Loss of hair
  • Mood swings
  • Brittle nails
  • Inability to sleep at night
  • Exhaustion
  • Sore breasts
  • Lactation without childbirth
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Weight shift to midriff area

Unfortunately, most women in their middle years who experience the above symptoms are naturally diagnosed as being menopausal when they are really experiencing hypothyroid symptoms in women.  Although having a hormone level test done is the usual procedure for determining if your thyroid is functioning properly, these tests are not always accurate.

A good number of the tests come back with a negative result, when in fact the real problem is that you are indeed suffering from symptoms of hypothyroidism in women.

Although most symptoms of hypothyroidism in women are not life- threatening, some can be quite serious and must be addressed.  Other systems of the body can be impacted by hypothyroidism and in rare cases lead to serious illness.

That makes it important to not ignore your symptoms. If you can identify with any of those listed here, then you really need to take into consideration that you may have a problem with your thyroid.

Here are some of the other body systems that can be affected by an unhealthy thyroid gland:

  • Cardiac and circulatory system
  • Digestive system
  • Joints and muscles
  • Neurological system

There are a myriad of symptoms in each of these systems that can be indicative of a thyroid disorder.

It is important that you become involved in your own health by familiarizing yourself with the many different symptoms of hypothyroidism in women and determine if any of the symptoms you are currently experiencing may actually be attributed to your thyroid.

 

Low Thyroid Symptoms

Low thyroid symptoms can be quite frustrating. They range from making you tired, to making you feel like you’re going to blow your top, for little or no reason at all.  Usually thyroid symptoms include gaining weight, lots of aches and pains, and even fuzzy thinking. Sound familiar?  If you have been suffering from one or more of these, chances are you’re dealing with low thyroid symptoms.

This condition however, is much more complicated than just a few simple symptoms. And, in some cases, especially women, suffer from several low thyroid symptoms at the same time.

Unfortunately, suffering from hypothyroidism, which is not usually thought of as serious, can wreak havoc with your everyday life because the symptoms are so numerous and range from simple to very complicated.

There is no easy solution to determine if your health issues are really just low thyroid symptoms or are related to some other disorder. Unfortunately, the thyroid tests that are currently available are not always accurate which is making it more increasingly difficult to get an accurate diagnosis.

In fact, because of poor test ranges, tests have been known to give a false negative reading, which means there are lots of people out there suffering from low thyroid symptoms, but who are misdiagnosed because their hormone level test came back normal.

If, by chance you have had a thyroid test that indicated your thyroid was fine, but you are still dealing with any of the various low thyroid symptoms, then it’s a good idea to take into consideration the one tried and true method for determining if you have hypothyroidism.

By simply taking your basal temperature upon waking  in the morning you can get an accurate indication of whether or not your thyroid is working up to par. Most people have very low body temperature upon waking which is a tell tale sign that a good hypothyroidism treatment program is the best thing that you can do for your health.

Similarities to Menopause

Keep in mind that although anyone can have hypothyroidism, it is more prevalent in women, especially those over the age of 30.  This often creates more confusion because it is at this time of life that women go through menopause. Many of the menopausal symptoms experienced by women are almost always caused or worsened by underling hypothyroidism, whether it has been diagnosed or not.

Similar to those patients who were misdiagnosed because their thyroid test came back normal, women that are in the age group for menopause or pre-menopause are often told they are suffering from menopause symptoms, when in reality, they are dealing with low thyroid symptoms.

There are also many thyroid symptoms in men that need to be addressed as well.

Recent studies have indicated that because hypothyroidism is being misdiagnosed, it is estimated that there are many people suffering from hypothyroidism who are not being treated properly. The best way to deal with the condition, especially if your test results have come back normal but you continue to suffer from any symptoms, is to keep track of the symptoms. If, as you begin to treat yourself for hypothyroidism and begin eating the right hypothyroidism diet, if your symptoms begin to disappear, then it’s quite likely you really have been suffering from low thyroid symptoms.

Remember that you thyroid gland determines the rate and speed of metabolism in your body. Metabolism is the chemical and metabolic development in the body making a healthy thyroid necessary for good health, proper growth and timely development.

Thyroid Hormones are responsible for: 

  • Agility
  • Appetite
  • Balance of fluids in the body
  • Blood circulation
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Body temperature
  • Bone development
  • Bowels
  • Cardiac strength
  • Central nervous system function
  • Cholesterol or blood fat levels
  • Energy
  • Growth
  • Muscle tone
  • Regulation of cellular carbohydrate and protein metabolism
  • Regulation of fats

To say the least, just about every system in the human body is somewhat dependent on the thyroid to produce the proper amount of hormones that the body needs in order to survive. When the thyroid levels are too low, the body begins to experience low thyroid symptoms.

General Low Thyroid Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Slow reflexes
  • Severe PMS
  • Thick, dry skin
  • Slow weak pulse
  • Chronic constipation
  • High cholesterol
  • Pain in the neck
  • A lump or knot that is noticeable in the neck
  • A gravelly voice
  • Hoarseness
  • History of miscarriage
  • A feeling of numbness
  • Swelling of face
  • Swollen feet
  • Hair loss

Believe it or not, these are just the tip of the iceberg.

Consider the following list of possible red flags that may indicate low thyroid symptoms

  • Do you feel tired most of the time?
  • Is your menstrual cycle heavier than it used to be?
  • Have you stopped working out or doing exercise because it’s just too tiring?
  • Does your body seem to just naturally seek its own healthy weight when you eat healthy and exercise on a regular basis?  If not, you might have a thyroid disorder.
  • Do you often feel like you need a nap in the afternoon? If this is true, especially on the weekends when you don’t have to work, then you need to consider the health of your thyroid.
  • Has your cholesterol tested high in spite of efforts (including medication) to lower it?
  • Do you ever feel like you have a puffy face?

If the condition is not treated, the low thyroid symptoms can, and will, over time become more severe. Other, more severe symptoms include, decreased breathing, decreased body temperature, and low blood pressure. In some cases, these low thyroid symptoms can become quite serious. This is why it is best to determine if you have a thyroid condition early on, before the more difficult-to-treat symptoms begin to appear.

Along with the physical low thyroid symptoms, hypothyroidism can also cause symptoms that have to do with mental health. In fact, many patients who are being treated for depression are really suffering from hypothyroidism.

Let’s take a look at some of these low thyroid symptoms:

  • Depression
  • Mood Swings
  • Bipolar diagnosis
  • Fuzzy thinking
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor memory

If you discover you have been dealing with one or more of these mental health issues, it would be a good idea to consider that they are related to low thyroid symptoms.

Good thyroid health is essential in today’s world.  You just can’t afford risk your thyroid health by determining if you have any low thyroid symptoms. Once the issues to your thyroid are addressed, it is quite possible that many of the symptoms you’ve been suffering from will be alleviated.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women

When looking at the various hypothyroidism symptoms, the specific hypothyroidism symptoms in women are often difficult to discern because many are associated more closely with female hormone imbalances and no one makes the connection to hypothyroidism. But there’s actually a very strong connection.

Because of this, women are often misdiagnosed as having some other disorder when in reality they are experiencing hypothyroidism. Before we take a look at the specific hypothyroidism symptoms in women, let’s take a look at some of the causes of hypothyroidism that are often exclusive to women.

Common Causes of Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women

Childbirth

Hypothyroidism can oftentimes be a result of childbirth. The placenta is largely responsible for producing the massive amounts of progesterone that helps protect the growing fetus throughout pregnancy. But after giving birth, your progesterone levels drop fairly drastically. And this drop can cause you to become hypothyroid.

For some women, their hormones re-regulate and the hypothyroidism is only temporary. But many women find that their hormones never quite return to normal and become stuck in a state of hypothyroidism.

Stress and Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women

Like many medical conditions, stress is known to be a factor that contributes to thyroid dysfunction in a number of ways. Stress affects thyroid functioning through the sympathetic nervous system where it blocks the liver from converting inactive T4 thyroid hormone into its active T3 form.

A study done in the early 1990s on people who experienced chronic stress determined that there was a very high rate of hypothyroidism symptoms in women who participated in the study.

Of particular concern, is chronic adrenal stress, which is becoming more and more common today. Some symptoms of adrenal stress include:

  • Cravings for caffeine
  • Cravings for sugar
  • Dizziness when moving from sitting position or from lying to standing position
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Gastric Ulcers
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings

Use of Birth Control Pills

hypothyroidism symptoms in womenWomen who have a history of using birth control pills have a significant incidence of hypothyroidism due to their increased levels of synthetic estrogen and progestins. Therefore, if you have ever used birth control pills or are currently using them, and you have any sort of chronic symptoms, you may actually be suffering from hypothyroidism and not even know it.

Now that we’ve taken a look at some of the causes for hypothyroidism symptoms in women, let’s take a closer look at what some of those symptoms are and what systems they affect in women.

Common Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women

Irregular Menstrual Cycles

One of the most significant of hypothyroidism symptoms in women is an irregular menstrual cycle.  Any history of menstrual periods which are unusually long, heavy, or more frequent than your regular cycle could be an indication that you have hypothyroidism.

Or another common sign related to the menstrual cycle is amenorrhea, or lack of a menstrual cycle.

Severe Menstrual Cramps

Every woman has painful menstrual cramps from time to time, however, if you find that your periods are becoming more painful each month, take into consideration that your painful cramps may really be one of the more common hypothyroidism symptoms in women.

Excessive Bleeding or Clotting

These are especially significant hypothyroidism symptoms in women if the bleeding or clotting is post-partum. But general clotting issues are commonly cause by increased levels of estrogen which is the common secondary effect of hypothyroidism.

Menopause

Many women going through menopause naturally assume that many of the symptoms that they happen to be experiencing are unavoidable and due to menopause itself. However, it is important to keep in mind that menopausal symptoms are almost always a result of estrogen dominance which is a secondary result of hypothyroidism.

hypothyroidism symptoms in womenIf the hormonal imbalance is not addressed, it can actually lead you further down the road of hypothyroidism.  Although on occasion, the condition is only temporary during the natural shift in hormones. But most women, if not already hypothyroid leading up to menopause, will go on to develop a lifelong clinical thyroid problem.

Keep in mind that just as you may not make the connection between menopause and hypothyroidism symptoms in women because you assume that your symptoms are menopausal are normal; your health practitioner may also miss the diagnosis as well.

Below is a list of hypothyroidism symptoms in women that can easily be misdiagnosed:

  • A history of miscarriage
  • Difficulty conceiving a child
  • Fibrocystic or “lumpy” breasts
  • Fibroids
  • Low sex drive

Many of these hormonal issues can be corrected naturally through the right hypothyroidism treatment protocol with a strong emphasis on a hypothyroidism diet.

The following list of hypothyroidism symptoms in women are those which have little or nothing to do with the reproductive system. Remember that hypothyroidism is really another way of saying that your cells aren’t efficiently producing energy. As such, many of the hypothyroidism symptoms in women are indicated by fatigue.

  • Allergies that suddenly appear or get worse
  • Brittle hair, itchy scalp, hair loss
  • Bruising/clotting problems
  • Constipation
  • Depression and depressed mood
  • Difficulty tolerating cold and lower body temperature
  • Dry skin, brittle nails
  • Elevated levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and heightened risk of heart disease
  • Hoarseness
  • Joint and muscle pain, headaches
  • Memory loss, fuzzy thinking, difficulty following conversation or train of thought
  • Persistent cold sores, boils, or breakouts
  • Puffiness in face and extremities
  • Severe fatigue, loss of energy
  • Sleeping more than average
  • Slowness or slurring of speech
  • Tingling sensation in wrists and hands that mimics carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Weight gain, difficulty losing weight

For more information on the various hypothyroidism symptoms, be sure to check out this comprehensive Hypothyroidism Symptom Checklist.

Unfortunately a single thyroid function test does not always give accurate results, which means it is possible that even if you have a negative result, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a problem with your thyroid. The best way to determine if you have a healthy thyroid is by becoming aware of the many hypothyroidism symptoms in women and keeping track if you find yourself experiencing them.