Thyroid Disease Symptoms: Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism

Fatigue, depression, anxiety, and changes in weight are just a few common thyroid symptoms.
Fatigue, depression, anxiety, and changes in weight are just a few common thyroid symptoms.

It sometimes seems like the symptoms of a thyroid problem -- whether you are underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism) -- are as hard to pin down as the thyroid diagnosis itself. Open any medical reference or check out any website, and you might see very different, lengthy lists of the symptoms that supposedly point to a thyroid condition.

Thyroid symptoms can also be common to many other conditions.

Joint aches/pains can be signs of arthritis or insufficient exercise, weight gain may be related to your thyroid or to overeating, fatigue can be a sign of dozens of conditions. It's easy for you -- and your doctor -- to assume that thyroid symptoms are actually related to other conditions, age, lifestyle, or stress. 

In my case, after I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in the early 1990s, I started developing a variety of symptoms they didn't mention in my doctor's office.

The doctor initially described hypothyroidism as something can make you tired and gain weight. While problematic, these were understandable symptoms. Then my hair fell out. And my menstrual periods started coming more frequently, and more heavily. And my skin started flaking. The doctors hadn't mentioned many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism I started to experience. So I read more, learned more, and talked to other thyroid patients.

And I found out that things like hair falling out, erratic menstrual periods, trouble catching my breath, and feeling depressed were all symptoms of hypothyroidism. 

For me, despite the fact that these were caused by my thyroid, I felt that knowing was better than not knowing! I'd rather realize that my thyroid problem still needs some further treatment than worry in the middle of the night that something awful is happening to my body!

Among reputable medical sources, it seems that there is some medical agreement that the following are the some key basic symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.


An underactive thyroid - known as hypothyroidism - can have a number of symptoms. They include:

  • weight gain, difficulty losing weight
  • fatigue, exhaustion
  • feeling run down and sluggish
  • depression, moodiness
  • difficulty concentrating, brain fog
  • dry, coarse and/or itchy skin
  • dry, coarse and/or thinning hair
  • loss of hair in the outer edge of eyebrows
  • feeling cold, especially in the extremities
  • constipation
  • muscle cramps, aches/pain
  • increased menstrual flow
  • more frequent periods
  • infertility/miscarriage
  • low blood pressure
  • frequent infections
  • bloating/puffiness in hands, feet, eye area, face
  • carpal tunnel syndrome / tarsal tunnel syndrome
  • foot and heel pain

These symptoms are only the tip of the iceberg. With hypothyroidism, there are a many symptoms and risk factors that should be looked at to evaluate whether or not you are hypothyroid.

Start by reviewing the Hypothyroidism Risks/Symptoms Checklist, a detailed, comprehensive checklist of hypothyroidism symptoms that you can review and bring to your doctor to aid in getting a proper diagnosis.


With hyperthyroidism, your symptoms will usually reflect an increased metabolism, due to the excess thyroid hormone, and a speeding up of common body processes. Common symptoms include:

  • anxiety, nervousness
  • panic attacks
  • weight loss without dieting
  • increased appetite with no weight gain
  • tremors
  • heart palpitations
  • high heart rate
  • high blood pressure
  • changes to hair and skin texture
  • diarrhea or loose bowels
  • insomnia
  • lack of menstrual periods

For more information on hyperthyroidism symptoms, see this Graves' Disease / Hyperthyroidism Risks and Symptoms Checklist.

More Information About Thyroid Symptoms

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