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Empire Building Has Got Me Beat! But, Could It Be My Thyroid?

Empirelistas! We see you! Putting in those long days and nights to build your empire. Giving it everything you have and still finding a way to put in even more. Exhausting, no? Well, it’s not hard to believe that building your empire can take a toll on your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s easy to blame the long nights of no sleep on your fatigue. How about the quick take-out meals for your weight gain? So engrossed in your work that you forget to eat? Of course that’s why you have dropped a few pounds, like that’s such a bad thing after all! Maybe you haven’t had time to go to the salon and your nails are brittle and your hair is thirsting for a good steam treatment?

Related: 12 Healthy Living Tips for Women

Well ladies, there is a great mimicker of some of the side effects of hustling that we have got to talk about! Your thyroid! The thyroid gland sits in the front of your neck and produces thyroid hormone that, in all seriousness, plays a role in almost all organ systems. From your mood, to your temperature regulation and menstrual cycles; your thyroid is one busy gland. Your thyroid is like your “Go!” hormone, so when it is overactive (HYPERthyroid), your system is in overdrive. Conversely, underactive thyroid (HYPOthyroid) slows you down. Thyroid gland dysfunctions can arise due to autoimmune diseases, pregnancy, nutritional deficiencies, medications or environmental toxins. So, hold off on blaming work! Let’s look at some symptoms that may let you know your thyroid could be out of whack.

  1. Fatigue – Both over and underactive thyroid can cause fatigue. So, fluctuations in either direction can make you experience muscle weakness that could be mistaken for fatigue or tiredness.
  2. Weight Changes – An overactive thyroid can cause weight loss while an underactive thyroid causes weight gain. It is believed that increased thyroid hormone production increases appetite, but also enhances metabolism, thereby causing weight loss. Underactive thyroid conversely slows down your metabolism, making weight gain inevitable.  
  3. Mood swings – Fluctuations in the thyroid hormone can cause a wide range of emotional disturbances from irritability and anxiety with hyperthyroidism to depression in hypothyroidism. Your concentration can also be negatively affected by either condition.
  4. Skin, Hair and Nail Changes – Dry skin/hair, hair loss and dry/brittle nails (sometimes with ridges on the nails) can actually be seen in either case of thyroid dysfunction. The theory is that the changes in metabolism are responsible for these symptoms.
  5. Temperature – Overactive thyroid speeds up your metabolism, making you hot all the time. On the flipside, if you find yourself always grabbing a sweater because your are cold, hypothyroidism could be to blame.
  6. Irregular Periods – Longer, heavier cycles are often seen in hypothyroidism, whereas lighter and infrequent cycles can be a sign of hyperthyroidism.
  7. Low Sex Drive – Having little desire for sex can be caused by either thyroid dysfunction. Too little thyroid hormone does decrease your libido. In theory, hyperthyroidism can cause increased sex drive, however with some of the other symptoms like irritability, poor concentration and fatigue, it’s not uncommon to not be in the mood.

Related: Leading a Generation of Health Conscious Women

So, now you know Empirelistas! As important as it is to chase your dreams, keep a keen eye out for how you are affected physically, mentally and emotionally. Happy empire building! Til’ next time!

Dr. Gameli Dekayie-Amenu & Dr. Chantale Stephens-Archer are the co-founders of BestiesMD. As both best friends and physicians, they developed their company to provide medical information regarding women’s health issues on relatable & sisterly level.

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