ZocdocAnswersWhat symptoms should I look for to determine if I need have my thryroid checked?

Question

What symptoms should I look for to determine if I need have my thryroid checked?

I am a 41 year old woman who has fought weight issues for years; however, I am putting on weight much more quickly with fewer calories eaten and having major problems with my period lasting for several weeks at a time and being very heavy. Would my thyroid cause these issues?

Answer

The thyroid gland can cause a number of distressing symptoms when it functions inappropriately, either too much or too little. Hypoactive (i.e. underactive) thyroid function can lead to symptoms such as weight gain, generalized slowing of the body's metabolism, decreased energy, constipation, depressed mood, difficulty concentrating, and menstrual cycle irregularities, to name a few. In your case, your thyroid gland could certainly be contributing to the symptoms of weight gain and prolonged/heavy menstrual bleeding that you are experiencing. It would be advisable for you to visit with your primary care physician to review your symptoms and express your concerns. A simple blood test measuring your TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) can be performed, which is a very accurate test for determining how appropriate your thyroid gland is functioning. If it is found that your thyroid is underactive, your doctor may choose to start you on oral thyroid replacement hormone, which could have a dramatic effect on reversing your symptoms.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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