All of us moms know about the post baby mega shed fest, right? We know this is because during pregnancy, our hormones go crazy and our hair and nails grow stronger as our bodies produce everything for our growing child. As our bodies return to normal post pregnancy, we have a period of major hair shedding and then that too returns to normal… but what if it doesn’t? This was my first indicator that something was not right with my body after having my second daughter. My hair continued to fall out in frightening amounts, I was beyond exhausted even after she started sleeping through the night, and I was not able to lose the weight I had put on while pregnant. Eventually, I went to the doctor and after one simple blood test found out that I have hypothyroidism. And let me tell you, I had a whole slew of questions that went beyond my anatomy and physiology classes!
So, what is your thyroid? It is the small butterfly shaped gland that sits below your Adam’s apple at the base of your throat.
What does the thyroid do? Basically, your thyroid secretes numerous hormones grouped together called your thyroid hormones. Together, they balance everything from your metabolism and body temperature to growth and development. It was here that I started to get the picture about why I couldn’t lose weight and even why I was so tired all the time.
What is hyperthyroidism? This condition is where the thyroid produces too much of the thyroid hormones and it is often caused by an overactive thyroid nodule or Grave’s disease. Once this is diagnosed, the thyroid is typically dealt with by “killing” it and then a person is given a synthetic thyroid hormone to take every day for the rest of their lives… the good news is they do start feeling better and getting healthier in a couple months!
What is hypothyroidism? Think the opposite of hyperthyroidism! The thyroid just does not produce enough thyroid hormone and must be given medication to aid the thyroid. Speaking from experience, this is a lengthy process as they have to give a certain dosage for a month, perform a blood test, and adjust the dosage until it is right, but still a pill every day for the rest of one’s life isn’t too bad in exchange for feeling well rested and keeping your hair on your head!
Add to these most common thyroid conditions, goiters which are normally harmless growths on the thyroid gland to thyroid cancer and you have the full scope of the illnesses that can plague this little gland. How do you know if you have a thyroid condition aside from exhaustion and hair loss? Well, here are a few other signs and symptoms, but just like everything else, remember these are for prolonged periods of time and cannot otherwise be explained. Also, if you would like to learn more about your thyroid and any possible problems, do what I did and check out www.webmd.com!
Thyroid Problem Warning Signs:
- Excessive sweating
- Rapid heart rate
- Weight loss
- Feeling hot
- Lower energy levels
- Feelings of being weak or tired
- Fine or soft hair falling out
- Heavy or irregular menstrual cycles
- Memory loss or troubles focusing