Can I Check My Thyroid At Home
You can do a quick and easy self-exam of your thyroid at home. The only tools you need to do this self-exam are a mirror and a glass of water.
To do the thyroid self-exam, follow these steps:
- Start by identifying where your thyroid is located. Generally, youll find the thyroid on the front of your neck, between your collar bone and Adams apple. In men, the Adams apple is much easier to see. For women, its usually easiest to look from the collar bone up.
- Tip your head back while looking in a mirror. Look at your neck and try to hone in on the space you will be looking once you start the exam.
- Once youre ready, take a drink of water while your head is tilted back. Watch your thyroid as you swallow. During this test, youre looking for lumps or bumps. You may be able to see them when you swallow the water.
Repeat this test a few times to get a good look at your thyroid. If you see any lumps or bumps, reach out to your healthcare provider.
Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatments And Support
Endless energy, unexplained weight lossthe initial symptoms of an overactive thyroid are often seen as good symptoms. Thats why hyperthyroidism is one of the most underdiagnosed endocrine conditions. But if left unchecked, it can lead to serious complications. Were here to empower you with clear answers to all your hyperthyroid questions.
What is hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism is the abnormal function of your thyroid gland, an organ located in the front of your neck that releases hormones to regulate your bodys use of energy. In other words, if you have high thyroid levels, it means that your thyroid gland is overactive and makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs, which causes hyperthyroidism.
The hormones produced by your thyroid gland are thyroxine and triiodothyronine , and they play an important role in the way your entire body functions. For this reason, when there is an imbalance, such as high T4, it can have far-reaching effects on almost every aspect of your health.
Infographic by Lauren Hunter
- body temperature
What Are The Symptoms Of Thyroid Problems In Women
Being a woman is not an easy job in this modern world. We are so trapped in the complicated juggle of both work and home life so we often neglect our health.
We may face a plethora of health issues in todays fast going life. The thyroid is among the most common problems faced by women of todays generation.
A projected study shows that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases.
However, women are more likely to have thyroid diseases as compared to men. Every eighth woman develops thyroid problems during her lifetime. But, the reason why women are more vulnerable is not known.
One reason can be the high flux of hormones during pregnancy and again at menopause. A common cause of hypothyroidism and its variants is autoimmunity, which is more common among women.
Special antibodies can destroy thyroid cells leading to autoimmune thyroiditis. Hence, it enhances the chances of thyroid in women.
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Most Common Hypothyroid Symptoms In Women:
Even though the current treatment paradigm may not be ideal for most women you can still evaluate your own symptoms at home to determine if you have hypothyroidism.
Both sexes have thyroid hormone circulating in their body, but men tend to react differently to low thyroid levels than women do.
We can use this to our advantage.
Many of the symptoms related to hypothyroidism in women have to do with the changes that low thyroid hormone causes to other sex hormones in the body.
If you’ve ever felt like your hormones were “out of balance” or that “something was off” then you may have been right.
These types of symptoms are actually quite common among women who have hypothyroidism.
Let’s talk about the most common and discuss why they occur:
#1. Menstrual Changes and Infertility
The most common symptom experienced by women with hypothyroidism is a change in their sex hormones.
Specifically, these changes are seen in the estrogen and progesterone levels .
Studies have indicated that thyroid hormone is involved in the regulation of the menstrual cycle in women.
What this means is that low thyroid hormone may cause changes to menstruation and even lead to infertility.
We know that there is a connection between both progesterone and thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone helps increase the action of progesterone at the cellular receptor .
In the case of low thyroid hormone, women may experience the symptoms of relatively high estrogen .
These symptoms may include:
What Women Need To Know About Thyroid Disease
According to the American Thyroid Association, women are five to eight times more likely than men to develop thyroid disease more than 12 percent of women will develop a thyroid disorder during their lifetime.
Because women are more likely to develop thyroid disease, its especially important for women to know what causes thyroid problems, how to identify that theres an issue, and when to talk to a doctor for thyroid disorders.
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What Is A Goiter
A goiter is an unusually enlarged thyroid gland. It may happen only for a short time and may go away on its own without treatment. Or it could be a symptom of another thyroid disease that requires treatment. goiter is more common in women than in men and especially in women before menopause.
Some common causes of goiter include:
Usually, the only symptom of a goiter is a swelling in your neck. It may be large enough that you can see it or feel the lump with your hand. A very large goiter can also cause a tight feeling in your throat, coughing, or problems swallowing or breathing.
Your doctor will do to see if it is caused by another thyroid disease.
Tiredness And Feeling Cold
Tiredness and feeling cold are two more common signs of an underactive thyroid. About 40% of people with an underactive thyroid feel tired, and 50% are more sensitive to cold. These symptoms also seem to get worse as hypothyroidism worsens.
When your thyroid levels are low, your energy levels decrease, and your metabolism slows down this results in feeling tired and cold. So if youve recently been feeling more tired and find yourself chillier than normal, you may want to have your thyroid checked.
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/8unexplained Weight Loss Or Gain
Thyroid levels have a huge impact on your overall metabolism and keep your weight in check as well. While there are a lot of reasons for weight loss or gain, if you have been recording abrupt or unexplained changes in your weight, chances are that you may first need to get your thyroid checked. While low levels of thyroid hormones could lead to weight gain, an overactive thyroid could land in an overdrive and make you lose weight unexpectedly. Weight loss related to hypothyroidism is one of the most common changes observed in women.
Common Problems: Hypothyroidism And Hyperthyroidism
More than one in 10 people will develop a thyroid problem in their lifetime, estimates the American Thyroid Association . Many of these problems can lead to either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
The more common of the two, hypothyroidism, happens when the thyroid makes too little hormone. This underproduction can slow down body functions like digestion and metabolism, leading to symptoms such as tiredness, weight gain and constipation. Up to 3.7% of people in the United States have hypothyroidism.
When the thyroid makes too much hormone, it’s known as hyperthyroidism. This overproduction can speed up your body’s functions, leading to symptoms like restlessness, weight loss and diarrhea. Just 0.8% of people in the United States have hyperthyroidism.
Though the two conditions can cause opposite symptoms, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism share something in common: They are each the result of an underlying problem, usually an autoimmune disorder. For example, the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s disease can cause hypothyroidism, while Grave’s disease can lead to hyperthyroidism. If you have a thyroid problem, your healthcare provider will be able to help you determine the underlying cause.
Other causes include too much iodine or thyroid nodules and prior thyroid treatments . Thyroiditis, which is when the thyroid becomes inflamed, can also cause hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
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How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy
Pregnancy-related hormones raise the level of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid hormones are necessary for the baby’s brain development while in the womb.
It can be harder to diagnose thyroid problems during pregnancy because of the change in hormone levels that normally happen during pregnancy. But it is especially important to check for problems before getting pregnant and during pregnancy. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.
Hyperthyroidism that is not treated with medicine during pregnancy can cause:
- Premature birth
- a serious condition starting after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Preeclampsia causes high blood pressure and problems with the kidneys and other organs. The only cure for preeclampsia is childbirth.
- Thyroid storm
- Fast heart rate in the newborn, which can lead to heart failure, poor weight gain, or an enlarged thyroid that can make it hard to breathe
- Low birth weight
/8what Role Does The Thyroid Play
Just like other organs of the body, controlling and regulating proper thyroid function is quite crucial. The thyroid organ, a butterfly-shaped organ which rests in front of our neck is an organ responsible for production of important hormones, from triiodothyronine and thyroxine , which regulate vital functions such as weight loss, metabolism, energy to maintaining your skin, hair health as well or even affect your body temperature. The thyroid stimulating hormone is yet another important hormone which further instructs the thyroid to produce more of T3 and T4 levels. Thus, any flare-up or concerning elevation or lowering down of these important hormones can lead to an overactive or underactive function, and lead to a thyroid disorder.
When the hormonal levels fluctuate abruptly, a range of symptoms could appear, which can be very profound in women and affect other vital functions as well. What should also be remembered is that thyroid is such an impactful organ, which can impact every other organ in the body, and it can be increasingly difficult to tell symptoms apart, especially when you are unaware. Thus, women should be diligently looking for warning signs and symptoms, and take the right care. Some of the symptoms may also require further testing for TSH, T3 and T4 levels and know if what you may be suffering from is hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism . Having said that, we list some common symptoms to be particularly careful of:
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Treatments For An Overactive Thyroid
An overactive thyroid is usually treatable.
The main treatments are:
- medicine that stops your thyroid producing too much of the thyroid hormones
- radioiodine treatment where a type of radiotherapy is used to destroy cells in the thyroid, reducing its ability to produce thyroid hormones
- surgery to remove some or all of your thyroid, so that it no longer produces thyroid hormones
Each of these treatments has benefits and drawbacks. You’ll usually see a specialist in hormonal conditions to discuss which treatment is best for you.
Thyroid Symptoms In Women That Could Point To A Serious Problem
Many of the people always listen about thyroid from our family, friends or other acquaintances. Thyroid basically has a control almost all over the body in different ways but any misbalance in thyroid makes you face various serious medical conditions.
What is thyroid? Thyroid is one of the glands of endocrine system, present on the base of your neck. Thyroid has many functions such as growth, development and metabolism. As thyroid gland has many functions there is no surprise that in case of improper release of thyroid hormone causes many issues.
Hypothyroidism is the condition where thyroid gland release less hormone while excessive release of thyroid hormone cause hyperthyroidism.
According to American thyroid association one in eight women will prone to develop thyroid disorder and women are 5-8 time prone to thyroid than men.
If a person avoid thyroid medical condition it will cause damage to your other organs especially heart.
There is really need to known about what are the thyroid symptoms in women which can point a serious problem due to thyroid. There are some symptoms that you should know are as follows:
What Is Hyperthyroidism
Hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid, happens when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs.
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. It makes hormones that control the way the body uses energy. These hormones affect nearly every organ in your body and control many of your body’s most important functions. For example, they affect your breathing, heart rate, weight, digestion, and moods. If not treated, hyperthyroidism can cause serious problems with your heart, bones, muscles, menstrual cycle, and fertility. But there are treatments that can help.
Seek A Solid Diagnosis
While doctors continue to debate what comprises normal thyroid levels, some laboratories will still stamp a particular TSH reading “high,” while another calls the same reading as “normal.” Weiss contends that the best diagnosis is one that takes into account not only the patient’s blood test results, but a full personal history of symptoms and risk factors for hypo or hyperthyroidism.
Risk factors for thyroid disease include:
- Diabetes or another autoimmune disorder
- A history of radiation treatment to the thyroid area
- A family history of thyroid disorder
- Hormonal changes, such as those that occur in pregnancy or menopause
- Gender: Women constitute 80 percent of all thyroid cases.
- Age: Incidence of hypothyroidism is higher in menopausal women than in very young women.
A clinical exam is important, too, as the physician looks for physical signs of thyroid problems, such as abnormalities in the appearance of the eyelids.
This is the symptom that first flagged Clement’s doctor to suspect hyperthyroidism. The doctor will palpate, or feel, your thyroid, looking for enlargement or thyroid nodules .
In addition to drawing blood, your doctor may also order an ultrasound exam of your thyroid to look for irregularities.
It is generally only after the doctor has conducted a full exam that a diagnosis can be made and treatment started.
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How Is Postpartum Thyroiditis Treated
Treatment for postpartum thyroiditis depends on the phase of the disease and what symptoms you have. For example, if you get symptoms of hyperthyroidism in the first phase, your treatment may include medicines to slow down the heart rate.
In most women who have postpartum thyroiditis, the thyroid returns to normal within 12 to 18 months after symptoms start. But if you have a history of postpartum thyroiditis, your risk is higher for developing permanent hypothyroidism within 5 to 10 years.
Can Hyperthyroidism Be Prevented Or Avoided
You cannot prevent hyperthyroidism. However, some people are more at risk for the condition. This includes people who:
- Were born female.
- Have a family history of thyroid disease.
- Are younger than 40 or older than 60.
- Have certain problems, such as type 1 diabetes, pernicious anemia, or an immune system disorder.
- Consume large amounts of iodine, either through food or medicine
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What Is Thyroid Cancer
Thyroid cancer happens when cancer cells form from the tissues of the thyroid gland.
Most people with thyroid cancer have a thyroid nodule that does not cause any symptoms. If you do have symptoms, you may have swelling or a lump in your neck. The lump may cause problems swallowing. Some people get a hoarse voice.
To tell if the lump or nodule is cancerous, your doctor will order . Most thyroid nodules are not cancerous.
For more information about thyroid cancer, visit the National Cancer Institute’s thyroid cancer page.
How Is Hyperthyroidism Diagnosed
Contact your doctor if you have symptoms of an overactive thyroid. He or she will check for an enlarged thyroid gland, rapid pulse, moist skin, eye changes, and a slight tremor in your fingers or hand. Your doctor also will do a blood test to measure the amount of thyroid hormone in your blood. This confirms the diagnosis.
Your doctor may do a thyroid scan to find the cause. If your entire thyroid is affected, you have Graves disease. Or the doctor will look for thyroid nodules or an inflammation.
Your doctor also may do a radioactive iodine uptake test. This test measures your thyroids ability to take up iodine. A high uptake of iodine means your thyroid gland may be producing too much hormone. This indicates Graves disease or a hyperfunctioning thyroid nodule. A low uptake of iodine indicates thyroiditis as the cause.
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How Is Hyperthyroidism Treated
Your doctor’s choice of treatment will depend on your symptoms and the cause of your hyperthyroidism. Treatments include:
- Antithyroid medicines block your thyroid from making new thyroid hormone. These drugs do not cause lasting damage to the thyroid.
- Beta-blockers block the effects of thyroid hormone on your body. These medicines can be helpful in slowing your heart rate and treating other symptoms until one of the other forms of treatment can take effect. Beta-blockers do not reduce the amount of thyroid hormones that are made.