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Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the two main thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine and thyroxine. This deficiency can affect the body in many ways because the thyroid gland helps regulate numerous essential functions. Some people notice goiters or swelling in the neck region, and this may be the first indication of issues with the thyroid gland.

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Exhaustion

Exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. In addition to physical fatigue, a person may experience low motivation and mental exhaustion. Exhaustion occurs because the hormones the gland produces regulate energy -- too little leads to fatigue. If this symptom is a result of a thyroid issue, getting sufficient sleep will generally not alleviate the problem.

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Weight Gain

Rapid weight gain can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. When your body does not release enough thyroid hormone, it slows resting metabolism, the rate at which the body burns energy at rest. This causes weight gain. Furthermore, the exhaustion that leaves a person with hypothyroidism feeling sluggish or tired contributes to a lack of regular exercise.

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Muscle Weakness

Though another general symptom that can indicate a number of issues, muscle weakness can signify hypothyroidism. Objects or physical actions that used to feel light or easy to complete may become difficult. Hypothyroidism can sometimes cause the metabolism to switch to catabolism to get the energy it needs, and this leads to muscle breakdown.

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Depression

It's unknown why depression is a symptom of hypothyroidism. However, many people report feelings of sadness associated with low levels of thyroid hormones. Medication may help this and other symptoms by boosting the production of the missing hormone. Medical professionals can help find the right form of support, be it medicinal or psychological.

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Dry or Itchy Skin

Hypothyroidism can lead to itchy or dry skin, another sign of issues with the thyroid gland. When the thyroid is not releasing enough hormones, the skin may dry out. Furthermore, if skin cell turnover slows due to hypothyroidism, skin cells stay in place longer instead of shedding as they should. In turn, they build up and cause flaky skin.

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Hair Loss

The thyroid gland regulates hair follicles. A low-functioning thyroid can cause hair loss when low levels of thyroid hormones slow hair regeneration and growth. Unexpected hair loss or patches of dry, coarse hair that cannot be traced to a more obvious issue should prompt a doctor to test a patient's thyroid.

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Memory or Concentration Problems

Everyone experiences moments of brain fog, but when it happens unexpectedly and repeatedly and leads to confusion and trouble concentrating that interfere with work and home life, it could indicate a condition like hypothyroidism. The reason for this symptom is not completely understood, but it is noted in many individuals with underactive thyroids.

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Irregular Menstrual Cycles

Hormones released by the thyroid gland can affect the menstrual cycle. Thyroid hormones work with others in the body to help regulate menstrual cycles. When the balance of thyroid hormones is off, the other hormones are thrown off as well. Women who notice strange or repeated fluctuations in their menstrual cycles should speak with a gynecologist.

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Constipation

Constipation is a common side effect of hypothyroidism. Malfunctioning in the thyroid gland can slow the colon's ability to process and pass stool. If a person finds over-the-counter or prescribed treatments for constipation do not eradicate this issue, he or she should speak to a doctor about having a thyroid test.

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Feeling Cold

Exercising makes the body burn calories, which creates heat. An underactive thyroid gland results in decreased metabolism, which in turn causes the body to burn fewer calories. This can lead to a person feeling chilled or cold much of time.

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.