Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid function) creates many different symptoms. This is because the function of the thyroid gland is so central to the function of the whole body.
An underactive thyroid disturbs the proper function of cells, organs, and hormones.
Low Cellular Energy
As explained hypothyroidism leads to low cellular energy production, meaning that each cell of the body produces too little energy to meet its tasks.
In the low energy state, the body loses structure and function and lets harmful processes occur instead of healing and repair.
It is the gap between the body’s resources and the demand placed on it from the environment that creates inflammation and disease eventually leading to all the symptoms characteristic of hypothyroidism.
The extreme forms of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid function) are quite rare, but they deserve a detailed look because they so clearly indicate the importance of proper thyroid function.
Cretinism is a condition found in infants and children resulting from a deficiency of thyroid hormone during fetal or early life.
In cretinism, the skin is thick, dry, and wrinkled, the tongue is enlarged the lips are thickened and the mouth is open and drooling, the nose is flat and the feet and hands are puffy.
The child is apathetic, and without treatment growth and development are impaired resulting in mental retardation and dwarfism.
In adulthood, an extreme form of hypothyroidism called Myxedema develops due to a severe lack of thyroid hormone.
Myxedema brings about gradual personality changes along with marked physical changes. The symptoms include slowing of mental and physical activity. Increased weight, decreased apatite, facial changes with a mask-like appearance.
In Myedema the skin becomes dry, cold, rough, scaly, waterlogged, and swollen.
Other common symptoms of myxedema are severe drowsiness, joint pain, stiffness, constipation, anemia, depression, loss of libido, frequent infections, and wounds that are slow to heal. The hair becomes dry and tends to fall out. There is often decreased muscular coordination and slow and clumsy speech that resembles that of an intoxicated person.
Despite the severity of the symptoms of both cretinism and myxedema they can be overcome with the administration of the right thyroid medication in suitable dosages. Diet and lifestyle also play an important role.
Milder forms of Hypothyrodism
As cretinism and myxedema demonstrate no system of the body may escape the effects of a severe lack of thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism in milder form can be much more subtle. However, it too may affect many body systems but usually not all to the same degree, and one hypothyroid person may have manifestations that another don’t.
Below you find a list of symptoms that are common in milder forms of hypothyroidism, you do not need to have all the symptoms to be hypothyroid. But if you have several of the symptoms and your body temperature and pulse rate are low then you might have hypothyroidism.
Fatigue & weakness
Hypothyroidism is usually associated with lethargy and weakness. A hypothyroid person can have severe fatigue including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Sensitivity to cold
Hypothyroidism leads to feeling cold including cold hands and feet. There is often decreased sweeting.
Hypothyroidism leads to slow digestion and constipation.
Hypothyroidism often leads to painful digestion, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), as well as an overgrowth of bad bacteria and candida.
Dry & scaly skin
In hypothyroidism the skin is often cold, pale, dry thin and scaly. The lips can have a blueish colour.
Brittle hair & nails
Brittle hair and nails are typical in hypothyroidism. The hair often becomes very fine or coarse and may fall out.
Slow movement & thought
Hypothyroidism slows your body down and leads to brain fog. Slow movement and impaired memory are common.
Edema & swelling
Water retention is very common in hypothyroidism, symptoms often include Edema of the eyelids, swelling of the face, tongue and feet.
Pressure headaches and migraines are common in hypothyroidism.
Painful muscles & joints
Muscle and joints aches and muscle cramps and weakness are common in hypothyroidism.
Blood sugar issues
Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) is common in hypothyroidism. Diabetes is also associated with hypothyroidism.
Carpel tunnel syndrome
Pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand arms and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome).
Sleep issues are extremely common in hypothyroidism.
Sadness, depression and emotional instability are common in hypothyroidism.
All allergies become wose when you have hypothyroidism.
In hypothyroidism the immune system doesn't function optimally making the body more prone to infections, colds and flues.
Hypothyroidism is often associated with weight gain. However, some people experience a wasting syndrome and lose weight.
Skin infections with staphylococcus bacteria, boils, acne, perioral dermatitis, rosacea, and eczema are common in hypothyroidism.
Loss of libido (sex drive)
Hypothyroidism is associated with loss of or decreased libido in both men and women.
Infertility & miscarriage
Hypothyroidism is often the cause of male as well as female infertility. Women with hypothyroidism also has a higher chance of miscarriage.
Menstrual problems & PMS
Hypothyroidism is associated with irregular periods, heavy periods, painful menstruation, as well as PMS symptoms.
Anemia (low number of red blood cells) is common in hypothyroidism.
High blood cholesterole
High blood cholesterol is strongly associated with hypothyroidism.
Heart problems & disease
Hypothyroidism is connected with pain over the heart, poor heart sounds, enlargement of the heart, palpitations and hypertension.
Poor vision, loss of appetite, hoarseness, choking sensation, hearing loss, thinned or partly missing eyebrows are other symptoms connected with hypothyroidism.