All About the Thyroid

The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland in the front of neck that affects your entire body. The hormones your thyroid gland makes are secreted into the blood and carried into tissues throughout you body. These hormones keep your organs in working order, like telling the body when to use energy.

The thyroid works in tandem with your pituitary glad that sits below your brain, in the middle of head. When there is an imbalance of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) this gland will adjust the amount throughout the bloodstream to help get the body back to normal. With so many functions relying on this gland to function properly, it is incredibly important to know when something might be going wrong and what you can do to stay healthy.

Thyroid Disease and Symptoms

Anyone regardless of age or gender can be affected by thyroid disease, but some conditions, like diabetes, can cause someone to be at more risk than others. There are myriad of symptoms that could indicate a problem with the thyroid, as well as several different hormone disorders. Thyroid disease is just the general term for these disorders which can include hypothyroidism, graves disease, thyroiditis and more.

If any of these symptoms apply to you, consider speaking with your healthcare provider at your next check up about your thyroid health.

Overactive Thyroid Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Losing Weight
  • Enlarged thyroid
  • Muscle weakness
  • Irregular periods or no longer having a menstrual cycle
  • Sensitive to heat
  • Vision problems or eye irratation

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms

  • Feeling tired/fatigued
  • Weight Gain
  • Trouble with memory/forgetfulness
  • Heavy and/or frequent menstrual periods
  • Changes in hair being dry and coarse
  • A hoarse voice
  • Having an intolerance to cold temperatures

Hypothyroidism in Pregnancy

It is normal to experience slight changes to the thyroid during pregnancy due to hormonal changes. The human chorionic gonadotropin hormone (HCG) can cause a lower level of TSH in the first trimester, but should return to normal for the remainder of the pregnancy. While uncommon, the thyroid glad can also increase in size during pregnancy.

Around 0.2% of patients who are pregnant develop a form of hyperthyroidism called Graves’ disease. This can cause severe morning sickness puts a mother more at risk for pre-eclampsia and early labor if inadequately treated. Luckily, anti-thyroid medications are available if needed, but mild hyperthyroidism cases are just closely monitored. Anti-thyroid medications can also help your infant to not develop fetal hyperthyroidism, and do not prevent you from breastfeeding your baby.

Post-partum thyroiditis can develop in the first few months after delivery, and Graves’ disease can worsen during this period. Normally a higher dosage of anti-thyroid medications and close monitoring of thyroid function is required at this time.

Healthy Habits to Adopt

While it is not entirely possible to prevent thyroid disease, there are habits to help you feel your best after receiving a positive thyroid test.

  • Take your medication as directed by your physician
  • Exercise regularly after consulting with your doctor
  • Watching your diet or following any nutrition plans provided by your healthcare professional
  • Getting a full nights sleep
  • Keeping up with tests an check-ups as needed

If you have a family history of thyroid disease, or have questions about symptoms you are experiencing, talk to one our family physicians or endocrinologists here at RMC.


January is Thyroid Awareness Month