Are you exhausted all the time? Low sex drive? Do you suffer from weight gain and hair loss? Or, are you loosing too much weight? Is your heart a flutter; are you breathless? How about fatigue and fuzzy thinking? Wondering what sleep is these days?
If any of this sounds like you, and you are experiencing any or all of the above mentioned, it is time to head off to your physician and check your thyroid gland because sounds like it’s having a little party of its own!
Or, putting this another way, you may be suffering from hyperthyroidism.
Now, to get to the point, hyperthyroidism is a common condition where the thyroid gland works overtime and produces too much a particular hormone or hormones and leaves your body in an unbalanced condition. Which we will discuss more below.
So, without any delay, let’s deal with some basics.
What does the thyroid gland do in your body?
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland in your body.
It secretes hormones that get delivered to different organs in your body by blood and aid them in performing some major function.
It’s a small gland in your lower neck area (just below your Adam’s apple) that secretes Thyroxin which plays a key role in may areas of your life including your metabolism.
Your metabolism is the engine of your body and it manages everything. It keeps you alive. Your metabolism can make you fat or make you skinny.
Your metabolism also affects your heart rate and oh so much more.
Bottom line, every cell in your body is dependent on your thyroid gland and when you have hyperthyroidism, your entire body is thrown out of whack.
What is hyperthyroidism and how does it happen?
Hyperthyroidism is a condition that occurs due to over-secretion of thyroxin from the thyroid gland.
When this happens, levels of thyroxin in your body elevate and needless to say, this has a variety of harmful effects in your body. It disturbs your body chemistry to its very core affecting multiple organs and producing a number of signs and symptoms.
Source: Medical Institution
Conditions and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Grave’s disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism in women. The name says it all! The disease is definitely “grave”. The proof is that your neck swells and gets morbidly enlarged (Does ‘goiter’ rings a bell?) and that’s just the tip of iceberg! It’s a problem related to your immune system and your body tends to make a lot of antibodies that act as thyroid stimulants —a hormone that triggers activity of thyroid gland. Your body falls into this trap and responds by secreting a lot of thyroxin that tends to mess up your body.
Thyroid nodules play their part too! If there’s a lump in your thyroid gland, it means your thyroid cells have an uncontrollable cell division. Excess thyroid cells mean excess functioning ability of the thyroid and as a result excess thyroxin secretion. So, hyperthyroidism symptoms might be a pointer towards an underlying cancer.
Iodine supplementation is a cause that’s fairly common these days. This trend of taking supplements has produced a lot of new issues. Although deficiency of iodine is fairly dreadful, you can’t feed yourself too much of it either. Too much iodine leads to excess secretion and hyperthyroidism symptoms in women.
Since we are aware of hyperthyroidism and how it happens, it’s time to discuss the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism. It can occur in both genders and both suffer the consequences but women are more prone as well as more affected. So, I’m focusing my article on women but to all the men reading this: don’t go away just now, there’s a lot in the store for you too!
Hyperthyroidism symptoms in women: What should you look for?
Some of the signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism are common in both genders. But since women are affected by it more, some symptoms vary. They are related to their reproductive system mainly. First, I’ll describe symptoms related to women solely, and then I’ll explain general symptoms that are manifested in both genders!
• Menstrual disturbances
Out of all the hyperthyroidism symptoms in women, the most detectable are menstrual disturbances. Your periods are heavily disturbed by over-secretion of thyroxin.
Ever had missing episodes of menstruation for a long time? Which is a fancy way of saying: have you ever had bouts of missing your period?
That’s probably due to hyperthyroidism.
Too little thyroid secretion isn’t good for the menstrual cycle but too much of it is equally harmful.
In teenage girls too much thyroid secretion can delay the onset of puberty. Irregularity in the menstrual cycle can vary to a great extent and it can cause too light or too heavy bleeding in periods. In women it can also cause Amenorrhea —a condition in which you don’t get periods at all for a long time. Science has established the link of amenorrhea with hyperthyroidism. It also can reduce the amount of bleeding in monthly periods. In the worst cases (which are not very uncommon to be honest), it can lead to early menopause (complete stoppage of periods in old age women).
The natural age of menopause is 45-55 years but hyperthyroidism can bring it a bit early and by a bit early, I mean before 40 years old.
• Bone weakness
Bone weakness is related to menstrual troubles. When women reach menopause, their bones tend to weaken and calcium deposition decreases. That’s when they become vulnerable to osteoporosis.
Since hyperthyroidism can causes early menopause due to hormonal disturbance in the body, this can lead to osteoporosis at a relatively young age.
General bone weakness is also the result of high levels of thyroid hormones in your body. Bone weakness is what women need to look out while keeping track of hyperthyroidism symptoms.
Calcium supplements help in alleviating osteoporosis. So, you should treat your hyperthyroidism and feed your body a lot of calcium to control your hyperthyroidism symptoms.
• Pregnancy problems
Pregnancy itself can cause hyperthyroidism symptoms but hyperthyroidism interferes with your pregnancy outcomes up to a dangerous level.
Science says hyperthyroidism is related to pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and low birth weight of baby. It also hinders ovulation (release of egg from your ovaries).
That explains menstrual problems but it also tells us that late pregnancy or no pregnancy at all might be a sign of hyperthyroidism. If you are trying to have a baby for a long time and you can’t seem to find any other reason for the delay, hyperthyroidism might be the culprit! You also need to check your thyroid gland if you have frequent abortions or miscarriages. It’s another symptom of out of control thyroid. Besides these, premature labor, heart failure in mother and fetal death is also a consequence of hyperthyroidism and can act as a pointer to it. Women who have frequent pregnancy troubles need to take care of their thyroid levels.
• Weight loss
If you are eating too much (because you are always hungry) yet losing a lot of weight, it’s a clear cut sign of hyperthyroidism. Sudden, unexplained, weight loss in women is due to a high metabolic rate. Whatever you eat gets burned up quickly and your body stores get depleted. Your metabolic rate becomes so high that fat stores plus the food that you consume can’t compensate for the energy consumption. As a result you get thinner even after eating a lot! So, if you are losing weight it’s time to put a leash on the thyroid gland.
• Hair loss
Both low and high levels of thyroid hormones can cause hair loss. So, if you’re losing your hair excessively, don’t pull the remaining ones in frustration. Get your thyroid hormones checked and look out for hyperthyroidism.
• Changes in heart rate
High thyroxin injects thyroxin in your blood constantly and your body gets on a speedometer.
Everything starts racing. Your heart rate increases and it starts pumping blood fast. Your breath gets out of control and you become breathless even with a small amount of exertion. It’s due to the increase in your metabolic rate. If you can hear your heartbeat and feel your pulse running even though you did nothing in the way of exertion, that’s the time for checking up your thyroxin levels. It also causes shivering in hands so you need to watch out for this symptom.
• Mood disorders
Too much thyroid hormone in the blood leads to a boost in energy and metabolism. That means production of too much energy. This metabolic boost also means an increase in neuronal transmission and high brain function. This whole process lays a foundation for anxiety. You have so much energy that you become over active and anxious. That leads to mood disorders like irritability.
Stretch this irritability and anxiousness a bit and you get insomnia. You can’t sleep because you are too energetic. Your brain is programmed to induce sleep when your energy levels get drained and your feel tired. But since hyperthyroidism leads to too much energy supply, sleep becomes hard!
• Feeling too hot
Thyroid regulates your body temperature. That means you will experience some symptoms related to body temperature if anything goes wrong with the thyroid. There you have it! Feeling too hot? If you observe that as compared to other people you tend to be more sensitive towards heat and feel too hot, it’s your hyperthyroidism problem. It also causes too much sweating.
• Enlarged neck
Swelling in neck “goiter” is a clear cut symptom of hyperthyroidism. It’s painful and you need to check your thyroid levels immediately.
As I said everything seems to be racing in your body when thyroid levels are high. Your gut joins the race too! Too much peristalsis leads to contraction of the gut and too much contraction movement causes diarrhea. There you have it, just another common symptom of hyperthyroidism. It also causes nausea for same reasons.
What to do about these symptoms?
Always check with your physician. Get your thyroid checked and confirm hyperthyroidism. Opt in for an eating plan that will help you manage these symptoms.
Avoid processed foods, genetically modified foods, dairy, soy and preservatives. Stay away from wheat and corn.
Diets rich in Omega-3 and vitamin D can rescue you! Berries, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, all these are helpful to support your quest in reducing hyperthyroidism.
Reach for foods rich in B-vitamins and try out some of the many sea veggies available today which are so rich in natural iodine.
Never fear, you can throw in the occasional brewskie (beer) as it is rich in friendly hops.
So, there you have it! Many of the hyperthyroidism symptoms in women and also men! Look out for them and manage them to put a control on your thyroid gland.
Please! Head off to your doctor and don't self diagnose!
Till Next Time
Growing Younger Everyday