10 Symptoms of Thyroid Problems Your Doctor May Miss

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

doctor-checking-female-thyroid

The thyroid gland is one of the body’s most important components. The thyroid regulates hormone balance and contributes to weight, mood, and mental stability—and that barely scratches the surface. Because of the thyroid’s influence on so many of the body’s important, and even “secondary” functions, an unhealthy thyroid can have far-reaching, unexpected, and odd effects that manifest into symptoms that many doctors fail to identify as thyroid-related. In fact, of the 12% of Americans that will develop thyroid disease, 60% will never know they have it.[1] That’s a problem. Awareness is key, so to help, here are ten, easy-to-miss symptoms of thyroid problems.

1. Cholesterol That’s Too High or Too Low

Too much fat in your diet causes high cholesterol, right? Wrong. High cholesterol can have a number of originating factors, and diet is a small contributor compared to others. And, in some cases, low cholesterol may be a problem. If your cholesterol is off and diet and exercise don’t help, it may be time to consider the possibility of an underlying problem. If you take medication for cholesterol and it’s not working, it’s time to have your thyroid checked. You may have hypothyroidism, or low thyroid hormone levels. It’s always a good idea to get tested for hyperthyroidism, a condition caused by an overabundance of circulating thyroid hormone.[2, 3]

2. Sore Joints and Nerve Pain

Research has found that thyroid diseases, both hypo- and hyperthyroidism, can cause nerve pain. Getting thyroid health in check has produced improvements in wrist pain and tingling sensations in some people.[4] In one case, a 60-year-old Italian woman suffering from a burning sensation in her feet displayed symptoms of hypothyroidism. As she progressed with her thyroid treatment, the pain went away.[5]

3. Heart Disease

Thyroid hormones play a direct role in heart health, so if you have heart disease, you need to be aware of your thyroid status. A 2014 study out of John Hopkins University reported low thyroid hormone levels were common in young and middle-aged adults with early-stage coronary artery disease and blood vessel calcification.[6] A Polish study similarly compared 25 patients with low levels of thyroid stimulating hormone to 25 patients with normal levels and found that those with lower levels had more cardiac events.[7]

4. Weak, Fragile Fingernails

Fingernails that crack or flake may reflect thyroid problems, as those with hypothyroidism often have soft, fragile nails. Additionally, persons with hyperthyroidism often experience a nail that comes off the bed of the fingertip.[8] In both cases, dry skin and brittle hair often accompany these symptoms.

5. Anxiety and Mood Imbalances

Your hormones play a huge role in affecting how you feel.[3] Low hormone levels, such as in the case of hypothyroidism, can leave you feeling down in the dumps. Conversely, an excess of hormones can lead to anxiety or panic attacks. If you have feelings like this, it might be a good idea to get your thyroid tested before considering psychiatric drugs that could make your problems worse.

6. Inexplicable Weight Gain or Loss

If you’ve lost or gained weight and can’t explain why, it could be your thyroid. Metabolism depends directly on hormone activity. A sudden change in weight, up or down, can be an indication of a thyroid imbalance.[3]

7. Constant Fatigue

Constant fatigue is a common problem that often gets ignored. Many young adults write off fatigue and low energy as a sign of their lifestyle; but if you have an established routine and get regular sleep, you shouldn’t ignore chronic fatigue. If you get 7-8 hours of sleep and it’s not enough, it could be an early symptom of a thyroid issue. Those suffering from hyperthyroidism may find it hard to fall asleep, which can leave you dragging during waking hours.[3]

8. Low Libido

Since the thyroid is all about hormones, it comes as no surprise men and women experience problems with their reproductive organs. Women can have a more frequent, longer menstruation with low hormones and shorter, light menstruation—or have a cycle stop altogether—with too many circulating hormones. Fertility may also be a problem. Men experience infertility, low libido, and may even develop enlarged breasts when sex hormones and the thyroid become imbalanced.[3]

9. Gut Problems

IBS isn’t always caused by diet. In fact, metabolic imbalances may be to blame. This prevents necessary enzymes from getting to the gut to help with digestion. If constipation, diarrhea, or IBS are ongoing problems and therapies aren’t helping, it may be time to consider checking your thyroid.[9]

10. Weakness

Hormone imbalances don’t exist in a vacuum, they often lead to other imbalances throughout the body, and an extreme dip in energy levels is one that’s standard. Your thyroid, metabolism, and energy levels are all connected. If you get enough sleep and follow a balanced diet and routinely provide your body with the complete nutrition it needs to perform its functions, and you still feel weak, it’s time to consider underlying possibilities, and your thyroid is one.[3]

Promoting Thyroid Balance

Many factors influence thyroid health, and there are a few things you can do to encourage optimal thyroid function.

  1. Make sure you get enough iodine. It’s not a cure or treatment; it’s simply the exact nutrition your thyroid needs to function normally. Iodine-rich foods are one way to get your iodine requirements; an iodine supplement is another.
  2. Exercise regularly. The goal isn’t to become a bodybuilder; it’s to use and work your muscles—all of them. Get up and move around.
  3. Eat a balanced diet that meets all your nutritional requirements. Your body is like a Swiss watch; all its parts need to be precisely aligned for it to function properly as a whole. If you have nutritional deficiencies, of any kind, you’re not going to feel balance.

Selenium: The Missing Link?

Have you experienced thyroid problems that prove difficult to pinpoint? The culprit could be selenium deficiency. Selenium is an essential mineral that helps protect the thyroid and support normal thyroid function.[10, 11] As with iodine, you can get all the benefits of this mineral by consuming selenium-rich foods or by taking a high-quality selenium supplement.

We’d like to hear from you. Leave a comment below and share your experience.

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References (11)
  1. American Thyroid Association. "Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease." ATA Fact Sheet.
  2. Rizos, C.V, M.S Elisaf, and E.N Liberopoulos. "Effects of Thyroid Dysfunction on Lipid Profile.” The Open Cardiovascular Medicine Journal 5 (2011): 76–84. PMC. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
  3. Melish, J.S. "Thyroid Disease." In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Boston: Butterworths; 1990. Chapter 135.
  4. Roquer, J., Cano, J.F. "Carpal tunnel syndrome and hyperthyroidism. A prospective study." Acta Neurol Scand. 1993 Aug;88(2):149-52.
  5. Penza, P., Lombardi, R., Camozzi, F., Ciano, C., Lauria, G. "Painful neuropathy in subclinical hypothyroidism: clinical and neuropathological recovery after hormone replacement therapy." Neurol Sci. 2009 Apr;30(2):149-51. doi: 10.1007/s10072-009-0026-x.
  6. Zhang, Y., Kim, B.K., Chang, Y., et al. "Thyroid hormones and coronary artery calcification in euthyroid men and women." Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Sep;34(9):2128-34. doi: 10.1161/ATVBAHA.114.303889.
  7. Krysicki, M., Jaworska, M., Popowicz, B., et al. "The incidence of hypothyroidism symptoms and risk factors for cardiovascular events in subclinical hypothyroidism." Pol Merkur Lekarski. 2014 Jul;37(217):10-6.
  8. Razi, A., Golforoushan, F., Nejad, A.B., Goldust, M. "Evaluation of dermal symptoms in hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism." Pak J Biol Sci. 2013 Jun 1;16(11):541-4.
  9. Patil, Anant D. "Link between Hypothyroidism and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth.” Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism 18.3 (2014): 307–309. PMC. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
  10. Drutel, Anne, Francoise, Archambeaud, and Philippe Caron. "Selenium and the Thyroid Gland: More Good News for Clinicians." Clinical Endocrinology 78.2 (2013): 155-64. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.
  11. Arthur, John R., Fergus, Nicol, and Geoffrey J. Beckett. "The Role of Selenium in Thyroid Hormone Metabolism and Effects of Selenium Deficiency on Thyroid Hormone and Iodine Metabolism." Biological Trace Element Research 33.1-3 (1992): 37-42. Web. 13 Mar. 2017.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Debbie Canales Martinez

    Dr. Groups, I was diagnosed with Hashimotos recently. My symptoms are constant fatigue, brain fog and memory loss, constipation, gut issues etc. Is this Iodine supplement for me or do you offer something else for thyroid? Please help Dr. Groups.

  • Hi Deb,

    If you have Hashimoto’s, you should avoid supplemental iodine and get yourself under evaluation and consultation. It can be a sensitive concern with many individual components.

  • Lynn Johnsen

    My doctor said I had over active and then he said it was under active gave me pills for over active and a month later pills for under active 100 mg the drug store told me not to take them he never heard a doctor giving that amount told me it would hurr me I will not take them am I wrong?

  • Sounds like conflicting information, get a second opinion!

  • MrStiffie123456789 .

    Are there any risks to TOO MUCH nascent iodine intake? I understand the treatment of iodine deficiency for HYPOthyroidism as well as fatigue and mental clarity issues. But there’s a lot of research information in the medical community of iodine also causing subclinical HYPERthyroidism for those taking more than the daily dose of 400 mcg. One reputable study showed that long-term excess iodine intake over 400 mcg per day caused hyperthyroidism in 47% of test patients. Is the nascent one different?? I take the 1,950 mcg daily which is 3 drops from the Survival Shield X-2 which Dr. Group talked about on the Alex Jones show. Is it a safe dosage?

  • Using as directed on the label is the best idea. Do you have a link to the study you mentioned?

  • Christina

    I have all of the symptoms of hypothyroid, but when I am tested I am told that I am borderline. Presently, I have anxiety and depression along with brain fog and lethargy! I have been experiencing these symptoms …along with the dry skin, brittle nails and weight gain since I turnEd 40! I really wish I could find a natural cure. I’ve tried anti anxiety and depression meds but they do not fix the problem. I would like to return to my happy, outgoing, slender self! Please can you offer help?

  • Hey Christina, what’s your diet like? And are you getting regular exercise? A lot of people find getting those in check is at least 75% of the battle.

  • Alison Walstra

    And sometimes normal is not the same as optimal! I’d find a new doctor that checks more than tsh! I used thyroid change .org..and also the STTM website.

  • Tarnia Davison

    Is there a way to find out when thyroid function starts to decline? I have been diagnosed with low thyroid function but I’m curious to know if it is something that drops suddenly or over a certain amount of time…

  • Vanessa

    Dr Group,

    I have just been to the doctor, I have hair falling out daily in the shower and when I comb my hair, brittle nails sometimes although odd because i juice once a day masticating…and also eat certified organic where possible, make my own toothpaste, use a lime as deodorant, still drinking filtered water though… bought 18/0 stainless steel cookware although not the best still better than non stick… I have found a lump on my shoulder/neck also I have canker sores 3 weeks out of every month, heavy periods, numb area on shoulder blade same side as lump, lost weight down one dress size but very hungry, went for an ultrasound and they found two hard spots on my thyroid also along with the nodule on neck, i have had a bloodtest and the results from ultrasound and seeing doctor on thursday….my questions to you are what is the best plan of action from here you see i definately know there is something wrong with my immune system and suspected my thyroid…about a year ago I went to doc for many of the same symptoms but with weight gain and bloated stomach and nausea and felt like fainting and was sweating profusely…. now it seems the opposite is happening losing weight a year later…. whether it is thyroid cancer or thyroid issues what should i do right now and if it comes back suspecting cancer of the thyroid should I get a biopsy, i am a bit scared this may spread the cancer if it is ?? I definately do not want surgery or anything like that …but should I get a biopsy is it safe??? I heard biopsies can spread the cells…any advice or help pointing me in the right direction would be appreciated…:)

  • Patricia Jasmin

    I used to suffer from hypothyroidism for about 10 years so I have tried every treatment & supplement there is. Unfortunately nothing had any positive effect at all on me but after countless online research & trial/error I was actually able to completely cure my hypothyroidism. Here is what worked for me:

    1. Take thyroid hormone supplements. I would suggest speaking to your doctor about which ones exactly as they vary in countries but they offer great initial help.

    2. Follow every step in the free video & guide seen at the following link:

    curehealthproblem*com/hypothyroidism (obviously change the * for a dot as it won’t let me post links here). This will tackle hypothyroidism in a natural way. This is very important.

    3. Take up one of the following: tai chi, yoga or meditation. Not only will it show benefit through exercise but it will improve mental state.

    Try those two steps and hopefully you will get as much luck with getting rid of hypothyroidism as i did. Another final tip is to up the protein in your diet. Just remember it does not have to be a permanent problem, medications may slightly ease symptoms occasionally but you really need to tackle the root cause. Good luck! ][

  • Charmain Rosati

    I recently found from blood tests that I tested higher than normal for thyroid, whatever they’re looking for, I still have to talk with my doctor about it. Anyway, I suspected I had a thyroid problem for about the last 6 or 7 months. The first and most obvious sign was a throbbing in my neck. One of my immediate family members also has been diagnosed with hypothyroid. Since I have got this test result I am beginning to wonder if some other symptoms are related to my thyroid. These are a frequently scratchy throat. Also trenitis, which started a couple of years ago, and would come and go, but now it’s constant and some days very loud, especially when I’m tired or extremely stressed.

  • Paula Gervais

    2 years ago I had tremors in my hands, rapid heart beat, high BP, weight loss, you know the drill. .fired my doctor cause his only solution was let’s put you on BP meds, and radioactive iodine and I said NO. I changed diet and took natural supplement and things revered. Now I’ve put on 30 lbs, not needed asi needed to lose weight, low libido, some fatigue, not as bad since I’ve recently started meditation, intolerant to great, heatrushes, basal body temperature, did the 7 days of taking temp before getting out of bed never rose able 97.1. Mostly 96.+ had the THOUGHT tested two weeks ago and according to new doctor is”normal range” . I said I want COMPREHENSIVE THYROID PANEL done. I told her this is why I furred the first doctor because he didn’t listen either. Do you think I’ve gone hypothyroid now?

  • Marlene Duke

    I tested normal 2 years ago. The doctor acted put out that I wanted tested. Now according to my hospital charts after a stay I had, I have thyroid disease. And the doctor still hasn’t talked to me about it.

  • Donna

    My doctor said my thyroid was over active, but I have always had symptoms of under active. I can’t loose weight, dry skin, hair falling out, fatigue. My mother has hypothyroidism and my sister had Hashimotos. Should I take iodine?

  • GHC Support

    Hello Donna,
    In these delicate cases, it would be best to seek the advice of a Natural Healthcare Practitioner who may be able to determine whether your thyroid function requires iodine supplementation, since many times, hypo and hyperthyroidism symptoms can be similar.


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