Thyroid gland is a small but incredibly important part of your body. It secretes hormones throughout your body, and controls everything from your thinking to your body temperature. Unfortunately, about 1 in 8 women develop a thyroid disorder.
This means that 2-inch gland just below your neck is either producing too much or producing far too little. Because the hormones produced by your thyroid are so important to every aspect of your body, the symptoms of hyperthyroid include fatigue, extreme weight loss, shakiness, and frequent trips to the bathroom.
Hypothyroidism, in which your thyroid under produces hormones, can result in weight gain, depression, high cholesterol, and dry hair. As women, we’re much more likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men. Your thyroid affects your period, so if your menstrual cycle is lighter, heavier, or more sporadic than usual, you may want to see your doctor.
Thyroid problems are also a problem for women trying to get pregnant, or who are already pregnant. It may be more difficult to conceive and, once pregnant, the mother and child are both at risk. Preeclampsia, anemia, and low birth weight are all possibilities during a hyper or hypothyroid pregnancy. So what can you do to avoid hyper or hypothyroidism? If you’re a smoker, stop now! We all no smoking negatively affects our lung, but it also takes a toll on our thyroids.
Another prevention step is avoiding soy. While soy has been marketed as a health food for years, the hormones in most soy products can actually be a detriment to your health. Finally, be sure to do self checks at home. Watch your neck as you sip water in front of a mirror and take note of any strange bulges or protrusions. Tell your doctor immediately. Remember, early detection is the best prevention.