What are early signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid?

what are early signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid

Do you ever feel tired all the time, have difficulty losing weight, or experience stubborn acne or hair loss? If so, it might be time to get your thyroid checked.  Even if your basic thyroid blood tests (TSH and free T4) came back “normal”, don’t ignore your symptoms. Each symptom we are experiencing, is our body sending us signals that something is not quite right and requires our attention. That is why it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid so you can detect it in its early stages.

The earlier it is detected the quicker and easier to reverse it. And yes you can treat your underactive thyroid naturally without medication. Click here if you want to read more why in most cases levothyroxine doesn’t work and sometimes even make’s your symptoms worse. 

What thyroid is responsible for?

Thyroid hormones regulate pretty much everything in your body: your metabolism, heart rate, energy, body temperature and much more.  If your thyroid becomes underactive, everything slows down.

Most common signs and symptoms of an underactive thyroid:

Here are some of the key symptoms to look out for:

  • Tiredness – feeling exhausted all the time, even after getting a good night’s sleep and struggling to wake up in the morning are standard symptoms and also very common signs of underactive thyroid.
  • Weight gain -an underactive thyroid can slow your metabolism, making it more difficult to lose weight. You eat less, you exercise more, at the same time you still keep gaining weight and belly fat…your sluggish thyroid can be behind it!
  • Cold intolerance – feeling too cold is one of the most common signs of hypothyroidism. Epecially if you feel having cold feet and hands, even on warm days.
  • Hair loss – Thinning hair or hair loss are typical signs of underactive thyroid. That is also quite often linked with nutrient deficiencies.

Other related signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid

  • Bloating or constipation – with underactive thyroid your digestion can slow down too. You may experience digestive issues, acid reflux and feeling of fullness even when eating very little. Moreover, the food can stay in your gut longer than it should causing undigested food to ferment. That can lead to gut dysbiosis with SIBO being the most common. 
  • Brain fog, hard to concentrate or focus, irritability and feeling anxious. There is strong connection between under active thyroid and poor gut health. Gut bacteria are closely linked with your brain and healthy neurotransmitter balance. Click here to read more about brain fog and how to improve it if you have under active thyroid or Hashimoto’s.
  • Depression – feeling depressed, mood swings and anxiety are quite prevalent too. You can read here more about how under active thyroid can affect your mental health and causes anxiety
  • Dry skin – dry, flaky, or itchy skin can be a sign that something is off with your thyroid. Acne, eczema are also pretty common. I have been struggling with acne for years and fixing my under active thyroid made really a huge difference!
  • Muscle pains and aches – this can range from mild discomfort to extreme pain. It can affect joints as well.
  • Low libido – If your levels of thyroid hormone are low, many of your body processes can slow down causing further hormonal imbalances. This may lead to a loss of sex drive. 
signs and symptoms of underactive thyroid

What can cause underactive thyroid?

Unfortunately women are more prone to thyroid dysfunction than man. 1 in 5 women will develop hypothyroidism by age 60… With such prevalence, it’s very important to understand its causes and don’t ignore any signs and symptoms. Below there are the most common causes of underactive thyroid. It’s worth to mention that usually it’s not only one factor causing the problem but combination of few:

  • Iodine and other nutrient deficiencies
  • Excess of soy and goitrogenic raw vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli etc
  • Chronic stress
  • Adrenal exhaustion
  • Gut dysbiosis 
  • Toxic and heavy metals overload (from food, beauty and cleaning products, tap water and environment)
  • Excessive and intense exercise
  • Menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications, especially used to treat cancer, psychiatric conditions and heart problems.
  • Pituitary gland or hypothalamus disorder

Click here to read my full post on common causes of hypothyroidism from emotional stress to mineral deficiencies and how hypothyroidism typically develops.

Full thyroid function panel – what blood tests to run to check your thyroid?

Thyroid blood tests can certainly solve all your doubts. If you have never done full thyroid panel it isdefinitely worth investment as it can literally save your life. Untreated underactive thyroid will lead to more and more health issues overtime. A full thyroid panel can give you an insight into your current state of thyroid health and a clearer picture of what’s happening in your body and what to do about it.

The 5 most important thyroid blood markers to do are: TSH, free T4, free T3, anti-TPO and anti-TG. In UK you can get it done via Medichecks for £65 – it’s a finger prick test to be done at home so also it’s very convenient and the results are available usually within 48. You download here my quick cheat sheet how to read and interpret your thyroid blood results. It also include optimal ranges for healthy thyroid according to functional medicine reference ranges. And if you are interested in more advanced testing, drop me a message – we can choose what test would be most suitable for you.

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