The 10 Signs & Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Have you been suffering from low energy, poor focus, or negative mood? Do you wish you had a little more get-up-and-go so could you live more, do more, and be more?
If you answered yes to any of these questions then your thyroid may be the cause of your symptoms.
Millions of people suffer from undiagnosed hypothyroidism because their blood tests haven’t revealed it yet. Are you willing to suffer—possibly for years or even decades—with low energy, focus, and mood before you finally get a hypothyroid diagnosis?
Take the Hypothyroid Quiz to determine if your symptoms may be related to poor thyroid function.
The Hypothyroid Quiz
Rate the severity of each symptom on a scale of 0-10.
Give the symptom a score of ‘0’ if you do not experience it,
and a score of ’10’ if it is constant, severe, or extremely pronounced.
You will probably not have all of these symptoms. However, the more symptoms you have, the more advanced your hypothyroidism is likely to be regardless of your current blood labs. Blood takes some time to catch up to what is happening in the body at the cellular level. It can take months or even years before a blood test will finally confirm your hypothyroidism.
The 4 Causes of Hypothyroidism
Take the full 60-question Hypothyroid TYPE Quiz to figure out what's causing your hypothyroidism; your adrenals, your liver, your gut, or a dopamine deficiency.
Double your energy, lose 5-10 lbs. in 30 days, and restore your thyroid health by following the 100% done-for-you blueprint found in the book.
The 10 Signs & Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
1. THE OUTSIDE 1/3 OF THE EYEBROW IS EITHER MISSING OR THINNING
The thyroid gland is linked to color and thickness of body hair--especially in the eyebrows. In the early stages of hypothyroidism the outer third of the eyebrow starts to thin and eventually disappear. The natural (unplucked) eyebrow should extend beyond the outside edge of the eyeball. When the entire eyebrow starts to thin, and eventually disappear, the issue has extended beyond the thyroid alone. The liver and adrenal glands are now involved, and will require healing as well.
2. PALE COMPLEXION or OVERLY TAN, EVEN IN WINTER
The thyroid determines metabolism and works closely with the heart to regulate body temperature and blood flow. That includes bringing heat to the surface of the skin, which will lend a slight red or golden/yellow/tan complexion. An under active thyroid will not perform this function well leaving a pale, almost pasty complexion. This is one distinction between a pale complexion (think Irish heritage) and a pale/pasty complexion. A pale complexion can (sometimes) still look healthy.
Sometimes a person can suffer from hypothyroidism but have very tan skin, even in the winter. This occurs commonly in females and is related to estrogen dominance occurring from impaired liver function.
3. HANGING JOWLS, OR CREASES IN SKIN ON FRONT OF NECK
The jowls are the area of skin underneath your jaw bone. This skin will start to sag and then apparently become fat-filled. This is one of the surest signs of hypothyroidism, as it is located only inches away from the anatomical location of the thyroid at the midline of the neck. The lower the jowls hang or "the more chins somebody has" the worse their thyroid function. This symptom occurs when the lymphatic system becomes congested with immune material like bacteria and fungi. These substances should be broken down into smaller parts by the healthy thyroid, cleared through the liver, and ultimately eliminated through bowel movements.
Picture #1 (far left): a young Paul McCartney with a healthy thyroid--full eyebrow extends past eye, no jowls
Picture #2: you can see the tinning of the outer eyebrow but it still extends past eye, no jowl yet
Picture #3: outer eyebrow no longer extends past the eye, jowl clearly visible
Picture #4: near complete loss of outer eyebrow, thinning of inner brow, advanced jowl & sagging cheeks
Creases in the skin on the front of the neck are related to dehydration and an inability to digest and absorb essential fatty acids like Omega 3s, 6s, and 9s. This usually derives from faulty gall bladder metabolism of fatty acids and insufficient bile production.
4. FALLING, THINNING, OR LIMP HAIR THAT WON’T HOLD A CURL
Increased thyroid function creates a stronger hair follicle. Hair grows faster and stronger, falls out less, and has more body. This greater texture and thickness also allows the hair to hold a curl for a longer period.
In most cases eyebrow thinning precedes thinning on top of the head. Thinning hair on the crown would be a sign of a more chronic thyroid dysfunction.
5. BAGS AROUND AND UNDER THE EYES
This fluid accumulation is a sign of delayed protein metabolism. A healthy thyroid breaks down protein adequately and prevents it from backing up into the lymph system (jowls & “double chin”). Fluid bags under the eyes also indicate adrenal gland insufficiency, specifically related to decreased progesterone levels.
As the eyes are further away from the thyroid (neck) than the jowls and “double chin”, bags around the eyes would signal a more severe and chronic thyroid dysfunction than jowls.
6. FAT DISTRIBUTION
In all cases of weight gain there is an under-active thyroid. But the distribution of body fat provides important clues to extra-organ involvement. In some cases of weight gain you are dealing only with a thyroid issue, but this is rare.
The three main organ dysfunctions that interfere with thyroid health come from the adrenal, liver, and ovaries. Each creates a unique fat accumulation in the body that acts as a warning sign.
Adrenal weakness causes a sagging belly or “pooch” below the belly button. Liver weakness leads to a firm potbelly that bulges out. Ovarian weakness and estrogen dominance leads to the accumulation of fat around the hips and upper thighs.
Hypothyroidism related to one of these three major interferences will not respond to hypothyroid medication optimally until the interference is addressed and healed.
7. COLD HANDS, FEET, “CHILLS” OR “GOOSEBUMPS”
When the entire body runs cold (not just the hands and/or feet) it is primarily an under-active thyroid.
When the hands or feet are the major problem there are two possibilities; blood coagulation and/or adrenal hyperactivity.
One of the major functions of the thyroid gland is to breakdown protein material in the blood stream. All blood in the body passes through the thyroid every 17 minutes. The thyroid cleanses the blood of bacteria, fungi, and other protein fragments. Under-active thyroid leads to accumulated protein material in the bloodstream because the thyroid can’t keep up with the load. This protein coagulates the blood preventing it from flowing freely and carrying heat and oxygen to the parts of the body with the smallest arterial supply and least blood flow (hands and feet).
The other physiological possibility of cold hands and feet stems from over-activity of the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands make adrenaline and are the primary “fight-or-flight” responders in the body. When the adrenals are hyper-active the blood vessels clamp down, restricting blood flow to the hands and feet.
An efficient thyroid keeps metabolism at an optimal level. Metabolism is the speed that your engine runs at. This has to do with weight loss and burning calories and also determines the frequency of your bowel movements. An under-active thyroid will produce fewer bowel movements because it is not driving (speed of the engine) the bowels as quickly.
However, this constipation, which we think of as a symptom of hypothyroidism, can also be a cause of constipation.
9. DIFFICULTY FINDING WORDS or ADD
Difficulty finding words is a tell-tale symptom of hypothyroidism. The slower a person's rate of speech, the longer it takes them to find the word they're looking for, and how much time is required for them to get back on their thought if they've been interrupted depends on thyroid function.
Thyroid hormone passes the blood-brain barrier to link up the the centers of your brain associated with clear thinking and elevated mood. Under-active thyroid leaves these brain centers under-stimulated, leading to foggy thinking, low energy, and low motivation.
While these are symptoms normally associated with adults, can you imagine the effect on a child during their school years? Thyroid dysfunction can begin at very early ages. If an expecting mother is deficient in iodine, an essential ingredient of healthy thyroid function, thyroid dysfunction may begin as early as the womb. Many children who are "slow learners" will receive a hypothyroidism diagnosis later in life.
Attention Deficit Disorder always involves thyroid dysfunction, but includes a dopamine deficiency. Dopamine and thyroid hormone are both required for optimal memory, focus, learning, and impulse control.
10. SWOLLEN TONGUE WITH TEETH MARKS
A tell-tale symptom of a sluggish thyroid is the presence of teeth marks along the outer edges of the tongue. This occurs when the tongue swells and pushes outward against the inside of the teeth. This tongue swelling results from protein or bacteria accumulation in the lymph system.
This person may bite their tongue a lot or have a speech impediment. Their tongue is swollen and a little too big for their jaw making normal speech difficult. Their tongue may feel thick and heavy. They may trip over their words or have trouble enunciating certain vowel sounds.
As you might have realized, there are several systems that connect with the thyroid. The adrenal “fight-or-flight” system, the liver “detox” system, the ovarian “hormone” system, and the digestive system all impact thyroid function. An underlying issue with one of those systems can cause thyroid dysfunction.
If dysfunction in one of these three systems is causing your hypothyroid symptoms then thyroid medication will do very little to help you, and will certainly not cure you.
To find out what's causing your hypothyroidism, click to read
The 4 Causes of Hypothyroidism. You’ll discover your unique hypothyroid “type” which lays the foundation for creating your personal cure, and gives you the road map to ending your thyroid struggles forever.
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Mind Body Spirit was founded by Dr. Michael E. McGovern, DC, a 2006 graduate of the Palmer College of Chiropractic. "Dr. Mike" is a runner, cat dad, and chess geek.