Thyroid Symptoms in Women

Although many women experience perimenopause weight gain, they should also be aware that another health related condition, hypothyroidism, may also contribute to those additional pounds.

The thyroid gland, located in the front part of the neck, is basically the gas pedal for the whole body. It controls metabolism and keeps the body functioning effectively. When the thyroid gland does not work efficiently, it can produce many types of different symptoms including weight gain.


The statistics for hypothyroidism are alarming. According to Angela Hynes in the Natural Health article “Thyroid Trouble,” over “12 million American adults have been diagnosed with thyroid disease, and nearly 10 million of those are hypothyroid.” Moreover, says Hynes, many health professionals believe that the actual rates for hypothyroidism are significantly higher than reported.

In the past several years there has been an increase in hypothyroidism, and some of the reasons are a rise in unhealthy dietary changes and the increase of toxins in the food and the environment. Hynes notes that according to David Brownstein, M.D., medical director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan, the past few decades have seen an epidemic of hypothyroidism which he attributes to the growth in “dietary deficiencies and toxins associated with our modern lifestyle, both of which also lead to obesity and chronic illnesses like type II diabetes.”

The majority of people affected by hypothyroidism are women, and the risk increases during pregnancy and with age.

Many health experts say that all women should have their thyroid gland levels checked beginning in their thirties. Most people who suffer from hypothyroidism don’t realize they have the condition because symptoms appear gradually over time. Many women consider the symptoms to be a part of getting older, or they associate the symptoms with perimenopause.

Keep in mind that many hypothyroid thyroid symptoms can vary widely depending how deficient the hormone. If you suffer from some or all of the following symptoms, be sure to get your thyroid checked by your doctor:

  • ¦Unexplained weight gain
  • ¦Extreme fatigue
  • ¦Sensitivity to cold
  • ¦Constipation
  • ¦Puffy face
  • ¦Brittle nails
  • ¦Pale, dry skin
  • ¦High cholesterol
  • ¦Depression
  • ¦Forgetfulness
  • ¦Aches, stiffness and joint pain

If you have hypothyroidism and it’s not treated by a doctor, the symptoms will most likely continue and become more severe over time. Eventually, you may also experience a goiter (enlarged thyroid).

Thyroid Blood Tests

If you believe you may be having hypothyroidism, your doctor should perform a blood test to check your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Hynes warns that several doctors make a diagnosis based solely on a standard test, but some health experts believe the standard TSH test is still not effective enough to catch many cases of hypothyroidism.

Be sure to ask your doctor for a full thyroid panel, cautions Hynes: “TSH, free circulating T4, T3 and reverse T3.” Also make sure your doctor takes the time to listen to how you’re feeling especially if your thyroid test results are in the normal range and you have hypothyroid symptoms. Some experts recommend treating patients for hypothyroidism even if their TSH levels fall in the normal range.


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