Are you feeling like you’ve lost your spark lately? You’re always a bit sluggish, despite getting plenty of rest. You’re gaining weight that you can’t seem to shift, no matter how hard you work out or how many changes you make to your diet. Maybe you’re also having memory issues or suffering from brain fog. How about your skin and nails, not the glossy pride and joy they used to be? To add insult to injury, your sex life may have come to a complete standstill due to your mood swings, aching muscles, and loss of libido, right?
When faced with this avalanche of symptoms, a lot of women jump to the conclusion that they’re suffering the irreversible effects of middle age and assume there’s nothing much to be done. Or worse yet, many women are mis-diagnosed as suffering from depression, peri-menopause or menopause. The fact is, in many cases these symptoms are the cause of a very common disorder, a thyroid condition.
Hypothyroidism: A Common and Treatable Disorder
Hypothyroidism is a prevalent and easily treatable condition that often goes undetected. In Australia alone, it affects hundreds of thousands of individuals, which equates to approximately 1 in 33 Australians. It is estimated that over a million Australians are living with the unexplained symptoms of a thyroid condition, that’s 50% of those with the condition.
The thyroid gland, a small but vital butterfly-shaped organ located in the throat, regulates numerous bodily functions, including metabolism, heart rate, body temperature, digestion, cognitive development, and muscle movement. When the thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid hormone, hyperthyroidism occurs, while an insufficient production leads to hypothyroidism, which is the most common thyroid condition. Diagnosis and treatment require consultation with a healthcare professional and appropriate hormonal testing.
Recognizing the Symptoms
Here are the most common symptoms experienced by hypothyroidism sufferers:
- Fatigue and lethargy: Individuals with hypothyroidism often experience persistent fatigue, feeling excessively tired despite getting adequate rest and can get the 3pm energy slump.
- Weight gain and difficulty losing weight: Sluggish metabolism can lead to unexplained weight gain and make it challenging to shed weight.
- Cold intolerance: Hypothyroidism affects the body’s ability to regulate temperature, causing sensitivity to cold temperatures.
- Dry skin and brittle nails: Insufficient thyroid hormones can result in dry, flaky skin and brittle nails that are prone to breakage.
- Hair loss: Thinning hair or significant hair loss is another common symptom, affecting both men and women.
- Depression and mood swings: Hypothyroidism can impact one’s mental health, leading to feelings of depression, irritability, mood swings and low libido.
- Muscle aches and joint pain: Individuals may experience muscle weakness, stiffness, or generalized pain in the muscles and joints.
- Cognitive impairment: Difficulty concentrating, memory loss and brain fog are reported by many individuals with hypothyroidism.
Expert Advice and Tailored Treatment
Anyone with unexplained symptoms should seek out advice and comprehensive testing. Those who specialise in hormonal conditions will investigate further than the standard tests a GP undertakes, and so they have access to more data to really understand the causes.
We urge all Australians, especially women as thyroid conditions are 10 times more prevalent in women than men, who are experiencing symptoms that could be related to a thyroid condition, to reach out and consult with an expert practitioner. Through functional testing, the condition and it’s root causes can be identified, and a personalised treatment plan put in place, empowering individuals to regain their quality of life.
Embracing a Happier, Healthier You
Ignoring hypothyroidism can have a significant impact on your overall well-being. If you recognise these symptoms in yourself, it’s crucial to seek medical attention and testing before it develops into something more sinister. Treatment often involves a combination of appropriate medication, lifestyle modifications, stress reduction techniques (such as meditation, yoga and massage), and dietary considerations to ensure it includes key nutrients required for healthy thyroid hormones.
By embracing this holistic approach, you can experience a happier, healthier return to your vibrant (not so) old self!