Survey: What Are The Worst Symptoms of Thyroid Disease?

Patients Speak Out About Their Key Thyroid Symptoms

When I posted a poll at the thyroid forum asking people what they felt are the worst symptoms of thyroid disease, I never expected to get such a phenomenal response! In just 5 days, we had over 700 people participate in the poll.

I expected that weight problems would be the primary concern, but the largest percentage of responses, 34% (237 respondents), indicated that "fatigue and exhaustion" is their worst symptom.

Weight concerns were the next most commonly cited problem, with 29% (205) of the respondents. Depression, anxiety, and brain fog was the key problem for 23% (159) of the respondents.

Hair, nail and skin problems were the top complaint for only 6% (43) of respondents.

And 8% (57) of the respondents cited "Other," providing further input.

What other problems are people having? Other symptoms listed in the long discussion that followed included:

Neuropathy (nerve pain)
Tingling feeling in toes
Hip, leg and foot pains and aches
Multi-site tendon problems and fibro-like pain
High cholesterol
Severe hearing loss
Slurred speech when I am tired
Painful or difficult menstrual periods
Low libido
Ovarian cysts
Atrial fibrillation
Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
Dizzy spells
Feeling cold, coldness of legs and feet
Inconsistent emotional stability
Insomnia, not being able to stay asleep

Muscle/Joint Paint & Fibromyalgia

Pain in muscles and joints -- sometimes referred to as fibromyalgia, was a key complaint in the "other" category.

Michelle5616 has said:

"Fibromyalgia. . . the worst thyroid thing for me had to be fibromyalgia. Pretty bad when you hurt going to bed, hurt worse getting up in the morning and can't get comfortable no matter what."

Sheffie said:

"Besides depression problems I would say my "worst" problem is pain ..... muscular, joint etc. I hurt all over, and I'm not even sure where or why. I've been told I don't have arthritis or fibro, but I just ache and hurt most of the time."

And for Lulu, weight gain was a big issue, but chronic inflammation takes the lead:

"Most of the inflammatory process is a direct repercussion of a recently acquired injury. If I hurt my shoulder, I end up with pleuritis on the same side as the injury site. If I hurt my spine, I end up with costochondritis or some such! It is just ongoing. Chronic hip pain. Same for the feet and hands. What would be a minor injury for others ends up to be a big deal for me."

Menstrual Problems

Leslie said that if I had put menstrual problems, that would have been her my number one complaint:

"Even while medicated on thyroid hormones, the periods were killers requiring many strong pain killers, brutal cramps, huge clotting lasting 3-4 days, total flow 7, the next week was recovery time, the following week was anovulation (one cause is insufficient thyroid hormones causing estrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency) followed by bloat, achiness, headaches, mood swings and the general PMS from hell routine. And of course, let's not forget the lack of libido so that when you're feeling OK hormonally (about 3 days a month, after the period, before midcycle?), you don't feel a thing sexually.

JacqueP2 also felt that periods were her main complaint:

"I have very very heavy, frequent, excruciatingly painful periods. To the point that I cannot function. I have terrible cramping for the whole 5 days and about a week before it starts, the cramps and very bad headaches starts. I bleed so heavily that I have to change my tampon every 1-2 hours, and sometimes when I stand up it's like I am hemorrhaging. Very scary. I get my period every 19-22 days so as you can see, I don't get too many days in between until it starts all over again."

Stress, Emotional Impact

SusieQ felt that dealing with stress was her worst symptom:

"I'll be fine and then something triggers the stress and I have trouble speaking (slurring, rambling,) and I become embarrassed and/or frustrated. I am aware of what is happening and if it's family I'll just tell them I'm 'showing symptoms' and they know I'm working through a situation. If it's somebody I don't know I just handle it the best I can. If they think I'm tired, or have a communication problem, so be it."

Jo422 also felt that emotional issues and reactions of others were key problems:

"Complete loss of confidence and 10 years alone - shock of Graves' disease on the way my eyes changed, people's hostile reaction to someone with a 'stern' exopthalmic thyroidal look...then to top it all, going hypo and putting on weight. In short, any thyroid condition can be a disaster for a single person without a family for support."

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