Thyroid disorders are very common in the population of India. Around 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid disorders. These disorders may include overexpression (hyperthyroidism) or underexpression (hypothyroidism) of the thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is more prevalent in India and affects 1 adult in every 10 adults. Early diagnosis of thyroid disease is essential for controlled monitoring of the thyroid hormone. In this article, let us know about the symptoms that commonly occur in females so that you are able to identify and diagnose thyroid disorder at an early age. We will also discuss the food items that you should avoid in case you are diagnosed with thyroid diseases.
Thyroid symptoms in females
The thyroid irregularities can be due to overexpression or underexpression of the thyroid hormone. The symptoms in both cases highly differ from each other.
Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Females
Hypothyroidism refers to the condition, wherein, the thyroid hormone is underexpressed. Around 1-2% of the people across the world suffer from hypothyroidism. Out of which, the percentage of females is much more than males. The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism vary as per the severity of hormone deficiency. The following symptoms are observed in females in case of the underexpression of the thyroid gland.
The hormonal fluctuations in females due to hypothyroidism can lead to unexpected and unexplained hair loss. The hair loss continues till the thyroid disorder remains untreated. The regrowth of hair will start once the levels of thyroid hormones come under control.
Fatigue is a common symptom caused by the under activity of the thyroid gland. You might feel tired and exhausted the whole day. Your energy levels drain out very soon.
Sensitivity to cold
The disorders in the thyroid hormone disable your body’s ability to regulate body temperature. If you have hypothyroidism, you may feel cold more frequently than you used to earlier.
Constipation is common with hypothyroidism. It is a situation, wherein, you pass stool fewer than 3 times a week. Constipation is often accompanied by incomplete evacuation, discomfort in the lower abdominal region, rectal bleeding, hard or small stools, and more.
Increased cholesterol levels
The imbalanced levels of thyroid hormone can lead to extremely high cholesterol levels in your body. The increased levels of cholesterol in your body can have an adverse effect on the health of your heart. Thus, fluctuations in thyroid levels can affect the basic metabolism of your body.
Sudden weight gain acts as one of the surest signs of the under activity of the thyroid gland. Sudden weight gain refers to around 10 kgs of weight gain in around 2-3 months. This is because the reduced activity of the thyroid gland subsequently reduces the capacity of your body to metabolise fat which ultimately leads to a gain in weight.
Hypothyroidism also leads to the drying of your skin as well as your hair. You may notice that your skin almost always remains dry irrespective of how much moisturiser you apply to your skin. This is an extremely common and noticeable symptom of hypothyroidism.
Muscle weakness and ache
Underexpression of thyroid hormone can lead to muscle weakness and pain that is caused due to intense muscular fatigue.
Poor menstrual cycle
The menstrual cycle is one of the key processes that get disturbed due to fluctuations in the thyroid hormone. Improper functioning of the thyroid gland can lead to prolonged, excessive, or scanty flow during the periods. This acts as an important and unique symptom of thyroid dysfunctioning in women.
Poor mental health
Low levels of thyroid hormone can also lead to a significant decrease in concentration, and focus, and makes you more prone to forgetting things. Therefore, if your teacher suddenly starts complaining about the poor academic performance of your daughter, this might be an indication of your daughter suffering from hypothyroidism.
The enlargement of the thyroid gland present in the neck area leads to a condition known as goitre. Goitre is characterised by tiredness in the throat area, swelling in the front part of the neck, dizziness, and hoarseness. Therefore, if you observe swelling in your neck region, do get your thyroid levels checked.
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms in Females
Hyperthyroidism refers to the overactivity of the thyroid gland, that is, the gland releases more thyroid hormone than is required in your body. The overexpression of thyroid hormones can lead to various noticeable symptoms in the body of a female. The symptoms that are caused due to the overexpression of thyroid hormone are listed below.
Trouble in sleeping
The thyroid gland helps regulate the activity and metabolism of the brain. Therefore, fluctuations in the levels of thyroid hormone can lead to changes in the pattern of your sleep. If in case you feel insomniac, that is, the inability to sleep properly during the sleeping hours, it may indicate the need of getting a thyroid test done.
Weight fluctuation is highly related to the levels of thyroid hormone in your blood. If in case, the levels of your thyroid hormone increase it results in an unexpected and unexplained weight loss. Sudden weight loss is an important marker for hyperthyroidism.
Anxiety and nervousness
The elevated levels of thyroid hormone have a whiplash effect on your mood. The increased thyroid levels can lead to anxiety, tremor, and nervousness in an individual.
Irregular menstrual cycle
Fluctuations in the levels of thyroid hormone can also cause disturbance in the regularity of the menstrual cycle. You may get your periods either delayed or more frequently than before. The flow during your cycles also gets disturbed, that is, you may either have heavy or very slight blood flow.
Sensitivity to heat
The increase in thyroid hormones also increases the sensitivity of your body. In hyperthyroidism, people become more sensitive to heat. In such cases, you will often find yourself complaining about the hot environment and sweating all day.
Increased levels of thyroid hormone can also affect the functioning of your eyes. You may experience blurred or hazy vision or infection and irritation in your eyes. If you experience vision issues frequently, it’s time to get your thyroid hormones tested.
Thyroid foods to avoid
Thyroid disorder is one of the most common disorders in India. As soon as you are diagnosed with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, people around you start giving you suggestions on what to eat and what not to eat. Here is a list of food items that you should avoid if you are diagnosed with thyroid issues.
Food to avoid in case of hypothyroidism
Though food alone cannot help in the treatment or control of hypothyroidism, a balanced diet, exercise, and the right dosage of medicine are very important for controlling hypothyroidism. Following is a list of food items that must be avoided by people with hypothyroidism for more effective results.
Soy food like tempeh, tofu, edamame, soy milk, and beans contain a high amount of goitrogens and therefore should be avoided in case of hypothyroidism. Goitrogens are a group of compounds that intervene with the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.
Certain vegetables also contain a high amount of goitrogens and must be avoided. These vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and spinach. Therefore, these vegetables must be taken in moderation by hypothyroid patients.
Starchy plants and fruits
Thyroid Profile Total
There are certain plants and fruits that contain a high amount of goitrogens in them. Such food must either be avoided or consumed under the permissible limits by people suffering from hypothyroidism. These fruits and plants include cassava, sweet potato, strawberry, pears, and peaches.
Nuts and seeds
Dry fruits and nuts are also rich in goitrogens and thus not recommended much for hypothyroid patients. These nuts include peanuts, millets, and pine nuts. All varieties of millets must be avoided by people with hypothyroidism.
Highly processed food
Hypothyroid patients must also avoid highly processed food like cakes, hot dogs, cookies, and more. The processed food can reduce the effectiveness of thyroid medicines.
Although selenium and iodine are required for the proper health of the thyroid gland, an excess of these supplements can actually harm your body. You should take the iron and selenium supplements only if your doctor has prescribed them.
Food to avoid in case of hyperthyroidism
The overexpression of thyroid hormone is kept in control with medicines. However, there are certain foods that may affect the working of these medicines, and therefore, must be avoided or consumed in a limited quantity.
Iodine rich food
People with hyperthyroidism must avoid the consumption of food that is rich in iodine. The iodine-rich food includes fish, shellfish, iodized salt, dairy products, seaweed, kelp, iodine supplements, egg yolk, additive carrageenan, blackstrap molasses, and food containing red dye.
The consumption of soy and its products can interfere with the uptake of radioactive iodine used for the treatment of hyperthyroidism. Soy and its products include soy sauce, soy milk, edamame beans, tofu, and soybean oil.
Gluten found in barley, wheat, rye, and oats can cause damage to the small intestine which is the main cause of celiac disease. It is often observed that autoimmune thyroid disorder is more common in people suffering from celiac disease. Thus, gluten is often not recommended for people with thyroid issues.
It is always recommended that people with hyperthyroidism must avoid or limit the consumption of drinks that contain caffeine. These beverages include black tea, soda, chocolate, energy drinks, and coffee.
Thyroid disorders are very much prevalent in India. The diagnosis of thyroid disorder at an early age can help in controlling the level of hormones and prevents the worsening of the symptoms as well. Now that you know the symptoms of thyroid disorders commonly occurring in females, make sure that you get your tests done if you notice any of these symptoms. A healthy diet and exercise can help in managing the symptoms of thyroid efficiently. If in case you are a thyroid patient make sure that you avoid the food that is not recommended for people with hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are early warning signs of thyroid?
The early warning signs of thyroid issues include weight fluctuations (gain or loss), fatigue, variations in heart rate (increased or decreased), and increased sensitivity to heat and cold.
How do I check my thyroid at home?
Thyroid levels can be evaluated at home by going through a simple blood test. The blood sample can be collected from the comfort of your home. You can get your test booked online or through a phone call at Redcliffe labs easily.
How do thyroid problems make you feel?
Thyroid issues have an evident impact on your mood and energy level. Hypothyroidism can make you feel sluggish, tired or depressed. Hyperthyroidism can make you more anxious, irritated, restless and disturbance in sleeping patterns.