Common Symptoms of Underactive Thyroid
Underactive thyroid is a difficult diagnosis to pin down immediately. Patients may experience symptoms that are not initially mentioned by their doctor. These symptoms include:
- Thinning hair
- Menstrual irregularities
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Irritated skin
While doctors may or may not mention these symptoms; what they are really looking for is a change in your TSH and hormone levels.
The Value of a Specialized Opinion
The difficulty with a standard blood panel for underactive thyroid is that it only detects a drastic change in pituitary gland function and the level of one hormone produced by your thyroid. This does show a malfunction in the gland eventually, but the key word here is eventually.
Patients can go months or even years slowly exhibiting more and more signs of underactive thyroid. Finally, when the imbalance is severe enough it will show up in the blood work. There is an alternative approach to this outcome. It begins with three steps any patient can take at any time:
- Review a symptom checklist for underactive thyroid (available online)
- Take a self-assessment
- Depending on the results of steps one and two, ask for a referral to an endocrinologist.
A specialist can offer stop-gap treatments that your primary physician usually doesn’t.
Why Play the Waiting Game?
If you have symptoms of an underactive thyroid, it’s only a matter of time before the condition is diagnosed and treated. The question is: why wait when you don’t have to?
Your symptoms are libel to get bad enough to require hormone replacement therapy, but treat them sooner rather than later, and you can stabilize the condition before it gets to that point. You will still need to develop a long-term treatment plan, but this way, it can be more effectively customized.
What are the symptoms to look for? Here’s what MedHelp specialists typically list as signs of a thyroid condition:
- fatigue, exhaustion
- feeling run down and sluggish
- depression, moodiness
- difficulty concentrating, confusion
- unexplained or excessive weight gain
- dry, coarse and/or itchy skin
- dry, coarse and/or thinning hair
- feeling cold, especially in the extremities
- muscle cramps
- increased menstrual flow
- more frequent periods
- low blood pressure
- frequent infections
- bloating/puffiness in hands, feet, eye area, face
There are more symptoms than the ones listed here. Get as comprehensive a checklist as you can.
Don’t be surprised if your symptoms start out relatively minor and worsen from there. Underactive thyroid is a progressive condition. Symptoms will get increasingly more pronounced and visible the longer it goes untreated.
If you are currently exhibiting 5 or more symptoms on the list above, get referred to an endocrinologist now. They have more accurate testing and customized treatments available. Get help; don’t put it off.