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The Thyroid: Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism


The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the front of the neck.  Its job is to regulate hormones that support the heart, muscles, brain, and general organ health.  If it is not working properly the result is either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism (where one is sluggish and the other is overactive).

Symptoms of Under Active Thyroid (Hypothyroidism) (1):

  • faitigue, feeling sluggish
  • brain fogginess or forgetfullness
  • dry skin, dry hair, paleness, or brittle nails
  • weight gain
  • muscle cramps or achey joints
  • depression
  • heavier, irregular menstrual periods
  • constipation, irregular bowel movements
  • swelling in front of neck
  • increased sensitivity to cold


Symptoms of Over Active Thyroid (Hyperthyroidism) (2):

  • fatigue or muscle weakness
  • shaky hands
  • mood swings
  • anxiety or nervousness (new or worsening)
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • heart palpitations
  • dry skin
  • sleep problems
  • weight loss
  • more common bowel movements
  • lighter, irregular menstrual periods


Why does a gynecologist care about the thyroid?  Well, as you know, the entire reproductive system runs on hormones.  Having too much or too little of the right hormone at the right time can make you feel awful– headaches, mood swings, night sweats, insomnia, backaches, etc.  But sometimes despite our best efforts to level out hormones some women still aren’t feeling great.  This is a sign to me that something else is going on and a sign that I need to start looking at other areas of the body to help figure out where the problem is.

Next time we are going to discuss the thyroid blood test (TSH) and how to analyze results properly.


Source:  (1) https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000353.htm

Source:  (2)  http://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/hyperthyroidism/hyperthyroidism-overview-overactive-thyroid

Posted in Anxiety, Bowel Movements, Diseases and Conditions, Hormones, Insomnia, Periods/Menstruation, Resources, Symptoms, Thyroid

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