Six Visible and Biological Signs of Hypothyroidism

Six Visible and Biological Signs of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a disease accompanied by symptoms that are often vague, are symptomatic of various other disorders and health conditions as well, and are often overlooked.  Therefore it’s often the case that by the time symptoms become noticeable enough to cause concern, the disease has already progressed beyond the initial stages.  The 6 most common visible and biological signs of hypothyroidism to watch out for are:

  • fatigue,
  • cold intolerance,
  • weight gain,
  • constipation,
  • slower metabolism,
  • dry skin.

Interesting Questions about Thyroid:

What Causes Hypothyroidism?

There are several different causes of hypothyroidism:

  • An inflammation of the thyroid gland called thyroiditis can lower the amount of hormones produced. The number one cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a painless disease of the immune system that runs in families. Another form of thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis, occurs in 5%-9% of women soon after giving birth and is usually a temporary condition.
  • Thyroid surgery or radioactive iodine treatment may cause hypothyroidism.
  • One out of every 4,000 infants is born without a working thyroid gland. If the problem is not corrected, the child will become mentally and physically retarded.
  • About 100 million people around the world don’t get enough iodine in their diets. Iodine is a chemical which the thyroid uses to produce its hormones. The problem has been solved in the United States and most developed countries by adding iodine to salt.
  • Some other possible causes of hypothyroidism are radiation therapy to the head and neck, birth defects, certain drugs, problems with the pituitary gland, and a gradual wearing out of the thyroid gland.
What About Women and Thyroid Disease?


  • means too much thyroid hormone
  • affects 2.5 million people in the United States
  • affects 2% of all women in the United States
  • affects women 5 to 10 times more than men
  • can cause infertility and miscarriage

Graves’ disease


  • means too little thyroid hormone
  • affects 5 million Americans
  • affects women 10 times more than men
  • affects 1 out of every 4,000 infants born
  • can cause infertility and miscarriage

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

  • is the leading cause of hypothyroidism
  • affects 1 out of 5 women over the age of 75
  • is an autoimmune disease*
  • is associated with a higher rate of miscarriage

Postpartum thyroiditis

  • occurs in 5% – 9% of women after giving birth
  • is usually temporary but can recur with future pregnancies

Thyroid nodules

  • affect 4% – 7% of the population
  • are benign 90% of the time
  • are less likely to be cancerous in women

*Autoimmune diseases run in families and are 5 times more common in women than men.

What is Graves’ Disease?

Graves’ disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism. It affects many Americans, including Olympic athlete Gail Devers, who won a gold medal in track after being diagnosed with and treated for Graves’ disease.

Graves’ disease is caused by problems with the immune system. Normally, the immune system defends the body against germs and viruses. In autoimmune diseases such as Graves’, the immune system attacks the body’s own tissues. In Graves’ disease, the body produces antibodies which make the thyroid gland produce too much thyroid hormone.

Diseases of the immune system tend to run in families and are about five times more common in women. Graves’ is linked to other autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, premature gray hair, diabetes mellitus, arthritis and patchy loss of skin pigment (vitiligo).

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Common Signs Of Hypothyroidism

Fatigue: if you find you’re constantly tired to the point of wanting to take naps during the day regardless of how much sleep you get at night it may be a sign your thyroid is playing up.  Or that you have some abnormalities going on in your cells that prevent them from using thyroid hormone properly (type 2 hypothyroidism).  An excessive need for coffee could also be a warning sign (or maybe you just love coffee!)

Cold intolerance: do you feel the cold right down to your core?  Try taking your basal temperature every morning before you get up for several weeks.  If it’s consistently lower than 98.7°C you probably have either an under active thyroid or type 2 hypothyroidism.

Weight gain: unexplained weight gain is usually one of the first visible signs of an under active thyroid.  So if you find you’ve begun putting on weight even though your diet hasn’t changed and you’re still doing the same amount of exercise you’ve always done (even if that’s none) it’s time to head off to your doctor for a check up.

Constipation: hypothyroidism is one of the known causes of consistent constipation so if you find yourself constantly dealing with this condition, you could have hypothyroidism.  You may also be not physically active enough, on certain medications, have reached the age where this problem becomes more common, not be eating enough fiber, have IBS or even be lactose intolerant.  All of which are rather more common causes of constipation!  However, constipation in combination with other hypothyroidism symptoms is worth a doctor’s visit.

Slower metabolism: this is the underlying cause of most other hypothyroidism symptoms!  Therefore, if you’re experiencing many of those symptoms, you almost certainly have a slow metabolism.  Then again, overeating and not doing enough exercise is another common reason for a slow metabolism!

Dry skin: if your skin is itchy, red, flaky or cracked you have dry skin.  Whilst this is normal for some people and is typically harmless, it is also one of the most common signs of hypothyroidism.

Whilst there are many other symptoms of hypothyroidism because ultimately low levels of thyroid hormone eventually affect cellular metabolism in every living cell in your body, these 6 are amongst the most common.  However, as we pointed out at the start, there are also other things that can cause these too, menopause being one of them.  Nevertheless, if you’re concerned it’s always a good idea to speak to your doctor who can order the appropriate tests if they feel you have good cause to be concerned.

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