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8 Common Thyroid Symptoms and Warning Signs for Hashimoto’s 

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Learning the early thyroid symptoms of Hashimoto’s allows you to look out for red flags, and if detected, can put you on the fast track to feeling your best.

Thyroid Symptoms and Warning Signs for Hashimoto's 

Reading Time: 8 minutes

With all diseases, early detection can be a game-changer for long-term healing. Autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (HT) or Hashimoto’s Disease, are no exception. Learning the early thyroid symptoms of Hashimoto’s allows you to look out for red flags, and if detected, can put you on the fast track to feeling your best.

In this article, I am breaking down the most common symptoms associated with Hashimoto’s, the warning signs to look for, my personal story and health struggle with Hashimoto’s, and how focusing on gut health might be the best strategy for supporting Hashimoto’s thyroid symptoms. 

In addition, I’m sharing the critical lab markers and panels to test and identify imbalances caused by Hashimoto’s. 

WHAT IS HASHIMOTO’S DISEASE?

Hashimoto’s Disease is an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid gland. Autoimmunity occurs when the body mistakenly views its cells, organs, and tissues as a threat and begins attacking itself. 

In the case of untreated Hashimoto’s, the body’s immune system attacks the thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland becomes underactive, which affects various bodily functions, including metabolism, heart rate, hormonal balance, and temperature. 

WHO IS AT RISK FOR HASHIMOTO’S?

Technically, anyone can develop Hashimoto’s or any autoimmune condition. However, several factors increase the risk, such as:

Gender– Hashimoto’s Disease is much more common in women. Women are estimated to be affected by Hashimoto’s 7 to 10 times more often than men.

Age– While Hashimoto’s Disease can occur at any age, it primarily affects middle-aged women, usually between the ages of 30 and 50. 

Genetics– People with a family history of autoimmune diseases, particularly thyroid diseases, are at a higher risk. 

History of Autoimmunity– Having another autoimmune disease, such as Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease, or Lupus, can increase the risk of developing Hashimoto’s.

Pregnancy– Pregnancy can trigger autoimmunity in some women, particularly in the postpartum period. This condition is known as postpartum thyroiditis.

Viral Infections- Certain viral infections, especially those affecting the respiratory tract or gastrointestinal system, have been linked to an increased risk of developing Hashimoto’s.

It’s important to note that while these factors may increase the risk of developing Hashimoto’s Disease, not everyone with these risk factors will necessarily develop the condition. Hashimoto’s Disease can also develop in individuals without any known risk factors.

COMMON THYROID SYMPTOMS WITH HASHIMOTO’S 

Hashimoto’s often presents itself with many symptoms, including physical, mental, and emotional. However, when we can identify the early symptoms of Hashimoto’s, they are easier to address and reverse. These are the most common early symptoms of Hashimoto’s to look out for:

Thyroid Symptoms and Warning Signs for Hashimoto's 

Fatigue

Hashimoto’s-related fatigue often feels like persistent tiredness despite adequate rest and difficulty waking up in the morning, even after adequate sleep. 

Weight Gain

Unexplained weight gain or difficulty losing weight are also early signs of Hashimoto’s due to low thyroid hormone. Weight gain may also be due to changes in appetite or metabolic function caused by hypothyroidism. 

Cold Sensitivity

Feeling excessively cold, especially in the extremities, is common with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Despite normal environmental temperatures, you may also experience cold intolerance.

Hair and Skin Changes

Low thyroid hormones affect the skin and hair. Hashimoto’s common symptoms are dry and brittle hair, hair loss (alopecia), and dry, pale, or rough skin. In addition, thinning eyebrows starting at the outer edge is often a presentation of Hashimoto’s

Muscle and Joint Pain

Muscle weakness or stiffness, as well as joint pain or stiffness (often resembling arthritis), is also common. Body aches can make exercise a challenge for those with Hashimoto’s. 

Brain Fog 

Due to hormonal changes, inflammation, nutrient deficiencies, and intestinal permeability, women with Hahimoto’s often experience forgetfulness, confusion, and an inability to concentrate. In addition, women with Hashimoto’s usually present with poor blood flow to the brain, and poor circulation can impair cognitive function. 

Constipation

Infrequent bowel movements, resulting in constipation or difficulty passing stool, are common with reduced metabolic function present in those with Hashimoto’s. 

Menstrual Irregularities

Menstrual irregularities, such as irregular periods, absent periods (amenorrhea), or increased premenstrual symptoms (PMS), are common with Hashimoto’s.

THE GUT-THYROID CONNECTION

Many women with Hashimoto’s have dysbiosis (an imbalance of good and bad gut bacteria) and, therefore, struggle with the consequences and symptoms of a leaky gut (also known as intestinal permeability). A leaky gut occurs when the integrity of the intestinal barrier is compromised, giving substances like toxins, microbes, and undigested food particles a free entryway into the bloodstream. 

This process can activate an immune response, which can trigger Hashimoto’s or even cause a flare in symptoms because the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland.

A healthy balance of gut bacteria is crucial for maintaining the integrity of the gut barrier and regulating immune responses to support Hashimoto’s. Dysbiosis has been linked to increased intestinal permeability and may influence the development and progression of autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s.

You can see if your gut bacteria is out of whack by understanding the signs of dysbiosis here. 

Thyroid Symptoms and Warning Signs for Hashimoto's 

OTHER WARNING SIGNS OF HASHIMOTO’S 

In addition to the above early thyroid symptoms of Hashimotos, there are other red flags to be mindful of (especially when the above symptoms are already present), such as:

Goiter: Goiter is a visible swelling or enlargement of the thyroid gland in the neck. You may also feel fullness or pressure in the throat. Goiter is consistent with chronic hypothyroidism. 

Mental and Emotional Symptoms: Common mental and emotional symptoms include brain fog, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, mood swings, anxiety, or depression.

Hoarseness or Voice Changes: Voice changes, like hoarseness or vocal fatigue, might be a sign of thyroid dysfunction.

Swelling: Swelling in the face, hands, feet, or ankles is common with hypothyroidism. You may also experience puffiness around the eyes (periorbital edema).

Cardiovascular Symptoms: Cardiovascular symptoms like heart palpitations, irregular heartbeat, or elevated blood pressure are common symptoms of thyroid dysfunction.

Reproductive Symptoms: In those with Hashimoto’s or chronic hypothyroidism, there is an increased risk for infertility, difficulty conceiving, and recurrent miscarriages.

Neurological Symptoms: Neurological red flags include numbness or tingling in the hands and feet (peripheral neuropathy), tremors, or shaky hands.

Digestive Symptoms: Common digestive symptoms, such as acid reflux or heartburn, bloating, gas, or abdominal discomfort, may also be due to hypothyroidism.

Thyroid Symptoms and Warning Signs for Hashimoto's 

Symptom analysis by a trusted functional practitioner can help identify and address the presence of Hashimoto’s. Early detection allows you to take steps to support Hashimoto’s and prevent further autoimmunity!

HASHIMOTO’S THYROIDITIS PROGRESSION (AND MY STORY WITH HASHIMOTO’S)

While many believe autoimmunity to be incurable, it is possible to reverse the disease progression and get Hashimoto’s into remission. I have personally been able to stop the progression of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis before developing hypothyroidism. You can read more about my story with autoimmunity here

Unfortunately, many people don’t find out they have Hashimoto’s until they develop hypothyroidism. Improper diagnosis is mainly due to clinicians not testing thyroid antibodies (more on those below) beyond a basic lab panel. 

When I found out I had Hashimoto’s, I already had two other autoimmune conditions. I was struggling with severe chronic fatigue (I dozed off driving several times) and was told I had chronic fatigue syndrome. Plus, I was struggling with debilitating body aches, and I was always cold even in the middle of summer in heat. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Lastly, my stomach issues were to the point where it was keeping me from wanting to eat or socialize. I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). 

I was on a downward spiral with my health until I approached the autoimmune storm going on in my body holistically and through healing the gut. 

Luckily, I found out I had Hashimoto’s early on before developing hypothyroidism and needing medication to manage it. I was able to reduce thyroid antibodies and get Hashimoto’s into remission by the Grace of God! 

For the women I help with Hashimoto’s, staying on top of lab testing and identifying an individual’s unique chemistry and imbalances are amongst the most effective strategies for managing Hashimoto’s from a functional medicine perspective. Once you have this data, you can take a targeted, personalized approach to support Hashimoto’s and, thus, significantly improve thyroid symptoms! 

Here is where you can learn more about my approach and programs to support Hashimoto’s. 

FUNCTIONAL LAB TESTS FOR TESTING HASHIMOTO’S

In addition to symptom analysis, functional lab testing is one of the key ways to identify Hashimoto’s Disease. Functional lab testing is crucial because it gives us a closer look at what’s happening within the body. These lab tests can provide additional insight for identifying and addressing Hashimoto’s early.

Complete Thyroid Function Tests: Request a full thyroid panel to check for elevated levels of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), decreased levels of free thyroxine (T4), and the presence of thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOAb) and thyroglobulin antibodies (TgAb).

Thyroid Symptoms and Warning Signs for Hashimoto's 

Complete Blood Count (CBC): Hashmitoto’s can impact any of your cells. Studies show the connection between low red blood cell count and hemoglobin in Hashimoto’s. A low red blood cell count may reveal anemia, contributing to fatigue. 

Lipid Profile: Abnormal lipid levels, including elevated cholesterol and LDL, may be observed in those with Hashimoto’s.

Inflammatory Markers: Elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) levels and erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) may indicate inflammation due to autoimmunity. 

Stool Testing: Since microbiome health can play an essential role in Hashimoto’s, stool testing can offer valuable data to support symptoms and autoimmune progression. On a comprehensive GI Map stool analysis, H. pylori is one of the most common gut infections I see in women with Hashimoto’s. 

In addition, identifying dysbiosis (the imbalance of gut bacteria) can help to individualize unique protocols to support common symptoms of Hashimoto’s. 

Identifying the early thyroid symptoms of Hashimoto’s Disease through symptom analysis and functional lab testing is critical to proper management. It is possible to thrive with Hashimoto’s and live a life full of energy! 

WHAT TO DO IF YOU NOTICE THESE EARLY THYROID SYMPTOMS OF HASHIMOTO’S

If you recognize the early symptoms of Hashimoto’s in yourself or a loved one, it’s essential to seek medical care. Once Hashimoto’s is confirmed through lab testing, working with a trusted functional medicine practitioner can help implement a custom treatment plan as soon as possible. 

It’s important to note that individual experiences may vary, and not everyone with Hashimoto’s Disease will exhibit all of these symptoms. Additionally, many of these symptoms can overlap with other health conditions, so proper identification by a healthcare professional is essential.

For the women I help with Hashimoto’s, staying on top of lab testing and identifying an individual’s unique chemistry and imbalances are amongst the most effective strategies for managing Hashimoto’s from a functional medicine perspective. 

Once you have this data, you can take a targeted, personalized approach to supporting Hashimoto’s and thus significantly improving thyroid symptoms. 

WRAPPING IT ALL UP

Hashimoto’s Disease, an autoimmune condition affecting the thyroid, presents with various mental, emotional, and physical symptoms. Being aware of the early thyroid symptoms of Hashimoto’s is essential for long-term and complete remission. 

There is a strong connection between intestinal permeability and Hashimoto’s. Therefore, using functional medicine to heal the gut can be an effective symptom and disease management strategy. 

If you are experiencing any of these common autoimmunity symptoms due to Hashimoto’s, learn how to work together so you can thrive with Hashimoto’s! 

Which one of these common symptoms stands out to you most? Let me know in the comments below! 

Thyroid Symptoms and Warning Signs for Hashimoto's 
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