Symptoms of Thyroid Disease (Do You Have Time? It’s a LONG List)

I used to be a different person. I was chronically tired, got sore muscles if I just looked at them wrong; I was depressed, angry, nauseous, and I couldn’t lose weight, despite cycling 30km three times a week. A neurologist diagnosed me with fibromyalgia, which didn’t make sense for many reasons, but I cooperated and went on courses of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets.

My mom has Hashimotos, so I’d asked for thyroid tests through the years. They always came back “clear” and I just couldn’t figure it out. Then, I got a lump. This made the doctors look. Really look. Sure enough, it was thyroid cancer.

As hard as the cancer thing was to go through, I’m so much better for having it all figured out. I’m off all the meds (except the hormone meds to make up for having no thyroid anymore). I’m happier, I lost a bit of weight and, when my muscles are sore, I don’t freak out and think I’m dying or going to be in pain for life. I understand it and I can manage it.

Thyroid disease and 300 symptoms

The thyroid is responsible for the metabolism of almost every single cell in your body. So, when it’s not working, nothing works. So many people complain (not really moaning, just in conversation) about how tired, sore, or depressed they are. And I tell all of them the same thing – go and have your thyroid checked. REALLY checked. By an endocrinologist, preferably. To give you some idea of how extensive the symptoms are, here’s a list of clues that your thyroid may not be performing at the right level (some are when it’s overactive, others when it’s underactive). Best you get comfortable, it’s a looong list:

Chronic fatigue (on a day to day basis, as well as when trying to recover from physical exertion)
Lack of concentration
Physical weakness
Insomnia and / or waking up tired
Weight gain / loss
Difficulty losing weight, even when eating well and exercising
Changes in appetite
Having cold / clammy hands and feet
Intolerance to the heat and cold (almost always being uncomfortable)
Night sweats and cold sweats
Internal shivering
Unusual perspiration (excessive or insufficient)
Slow reflexes and general movements
Slow speech
Frequent infections and a generally low immune system
Slow recovery from infections
Yeast and urinary tract infections
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Hashimoto’s disease
Graves’ disease
Celiac disease
Diabetes (Types 1 and 2) and insulin resistance
Addison’s disease
Cushing’s disease
Pernicious anaemia
Alopecia
Numbness due to Raynaud’s syndrome
Dry mouth, nose, and eyes
Rheumatoid arthritis
Multiple sclerosis
Sarcoidosis (an inflammatory disease that can affect a number of organs)
Hardening of connective tissue (also called crest syndrome)
Vitiligo
Psoriasis
Swollen or thickened skin (various locations)
Feeling a constant or regular lump in the throat
Difficulty swallowing or taking deep breaths, regular choking
Pain (burning sensation) and tenderness in the neck
Goiter
Nodules in the thyroid region
Swollen tongue
Cravings and unusual taste sensations
Bad breath
Cavities and / or gum disease
Husky voice
Persistent teeth clenching
Deaf or sensitive ears (oversensitive to sounds, ringing, itchy and / or dry)
Lots of earwax
Vertigo
Poor vision / bad night vision
Sore and / or inflamed eyes that may also be sensitive to light
Drooping eyelids
Eye tics and spasms
Bulging eyeballs
Dark rings or puffiness around and under the eyes
Glaucoma
Cataracts
Hair loss
Dry / coarse / fine / frizzy / brittle hair
Premature baldness and greying
Loss of normal body hair (including eyelashes and brows)
Growth of facial hair in women
Unhealthy nails
Ingrown toenails
Dry / flaky / itchy skin or scalp
Cracked heels
Dry mucous membranes
Discoloured skin or pale lips
Rashes
Skin tags
Eczema
Easy bruising and slow recovery time
Boils
Haemophilia
Little bumps on the legs
Acne (face, chest, arms)
Discolouration of fingers and toes
Chronic itching
Varicose veins
Fine wrinkles
Red patches
Moles
Warts
Allergies and / or hives
Depression and / or panic attacks
Memory loss confusion / brain fog
Noises in the head
Hallucinations
Mania
Phobias
A tendency to abuse alcohol and substances
Rage
Personality disorders (including schizophrenic tendencies, bipolar tendencies, and suicidal thoughts)
Nightmares
ADHD
Dementia and / or Alzheimer’s
Parkinson’s Disease
Protein in urine
Urinary incontinence or needing to urinate more frequently than others
Decreased urine levels
Bladder problems
Kidney problems (stones, infections and / or failure)
Gallbladder disease
Gallstones
Painful and swollen liver
Elevated liver enzymes
Hypoglycaemia
Lung problems (asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, finding it difficult to breathe in enough air, panting)
High / low blood pressure
Slow / weak / fast / irregular pulse
High cholesterol
Skipping heartbeats / flutters / palpitations
High triglycerides
Fibrillations
Mitral valve prolapse
Atherosclerosis
Coronary artery disease
Elevated C-reactive protein
A build up of plaque in blood vessels
Fluid retention
Inadequate blood circulation
Enlarged heart
Congestive heart failure / stroke / heart attack
Adrenal fatigue
Anaemia
Low sodium levels
Clumsiness
Fainting
Tremors
Growth problems in children
Chemical sensitivities
Restless Leg Syndrome
Deterioration of muscle
Scoliosis
Osteoporosis
Hernia
Numbness and tingling (limbs, digits, face, and back)
General, chronic pain (often in the back, the tops of the arms and legs, wrists, joints, and muscles)
Tendonitis
Migraines or regular headaches
Joint stiffness and muscle cramps
Gout
Painful feet (metatarsals and soles)
Fibromyalgia
Constipation
Haemorrhoids
Food sensitivity and allergies
Alcohol intolerance
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Celiac disease
Colitis
Diverticulosis
Excess gas
Nausea
Ulcers
Heartburn
Menstrual disorders (too light / too heavy / irregular / terrible cramps / persistent bleeding)
Incorrect timing of puberty or menopause
Endometriosis
Fibroids or cysts in / on the ovaries
Trouble getting pregnant / infertility / miscarriage / stillbirth
Abnormal progesterone / oestrogen / testosterone levels
Low sperm count
Erectile dysfunction
Vaginal dryness
Breasts leaking milk (not associated to nursing)
Fibrocystic breast disease
Anaemia and diabetes associated with pregnancy or birth
Pre-eclampsia
Placental abruption
Difficulty in breastfeeding
Irritability and mood swings
Anxiety and a general feeling of jumpiness
Personality changes
Low self-esteem
Cancer (skin / thyroid / breast / lung / endocrine / prostate)

Are you still reading? If so, I can only assume that you’ve been suspecting a problem for a while. And, the more symptoms you read, the more you became convinced that you need to have yourself checked out. When testing, it’s important that they don’t only look at your T3, T4 and TSH levels, but also your antibodies.

For more information about the thyroid gland and its function, have a look here. For advice, support and encouragement, I strongly recommend following the Hypothyroid Mom blog.

Thyroid disease is manageable. The challenge comes in the diagnosis. Don’t give up. Insist on getting answers. If you are concerned and want to talk to someone that has walked this very long road, comment below or email me (amelia@voxate.co.za).

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8 Comments

  1. 14th September 2017
    Reply

    Hi Amelia, i checked out your blog and found the thyroid information very interesting. I am going to have myself tested with the hope that a few of my challenges can be addressed.

    • 14th September 2017
      Reply

      I’m so happy to hear that. It is often ignored and even more regularly misdiagnosed. I do hope that you have good results. Yours is a battle that really humbles me.

  2. 14th September 2017
    Reply

    Hi Amelia,
    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in 2013 and have been on and off various thyroid hormone brands and dosages ever since, working with my GP and monitoring hormone levels every few months. Recently, I had a big thyrotoxicosis scare and my thyroid dosage has since been halved. However, my lovely GP has now emigrated to New Zealand and, having stumbled upon your post, I’m wondering if you could recommend a good endocrinologist I might get in touch with?

    • 14th September 2017
      Reply

      Unfortunately, I can’t. I’ve had to go through the state hospital system for a number of reasons. Although I’m extremely happy with the care I’ve received now that I’m in the Western Cape (there aren’t enough emojis in the world to describe my disgust with those in the Eastern Cape), I’ve never been able to see an endo. I also live in Knysna, so the closest one would be CT. I’m going to email you after asking a JHB friend of mine which endo she’s used. Hope it helps. Hashimotos is a bummer – the levels are just so delicate. I’m sorry you’ve had such a rough time x

    • 14th September 2017
      Reply

      Hi. I chatted to a Gautengaleng friend. This was her feedback:

      I saw one in Pretoria (it’s almost impossible to get into one in Joburg – many aren’t taking on new patients). She was good: Helena Oosthuizen 012 993 5446. Colleague with Hashimotos recommends Dr Kleiswitz 011 447 7514.

      There you have it – hope you have some joy x

  3. 17th September 2017
    Reply

    I also have had thyroid issues before. Once I was on meds it helped me get pregnant. I really was tired for a long time until I had a range of blood tests at the fertility clinic. I still take my meds.
    I can’t believe you had cancer! What a thing to go through.

    • 18th September 2017
      Reply

      That’s amazing, I’m so glad you had it sorted out. Thyroid issues seem to go undetected quite easily.

      My cancer loves me. It’s the sibling I never had 😛

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