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Between anxiety, chronic illnesses, autoimmune disorders, and general inflammation, it can be really hard to get a specific diagnosis when you have a variety of symptoms. Thyroid issues are, at the same time, under-recognised and under-diagnosed as well as misrepresented to be responsible for a host of symptoms that may actually be caused by something else. So, some patients find that they’re getting vague diagnoses or fobbed off by health professionals when their symptoms are very real and being caused by imbalances in the gland, while others are being told their thyroids aren’t working efficiently, when they really have another underlying issue.

Why the Confusion?

The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones, which are responsible for regulating the metabolic rate of every cell in the body. So, it essentially determines how fast and efficiently every single cell (including organ, muscle, nerve, skin, nail, and bone cells) use energy and reproduce. As such, it regulates so many functions in the body by making subtle adjustments all the time, without you even knowing about it.

But this means that, when it isn’t working properly, the symptoms start popping up all over the body, which can lead to confusion and misdiagnoses. Mystery aches and pains may be attributed to obesity, an old injury, or your imagination. Anxiety may be put down to depression, for which doctors might often prescribe antidepressants or tranquilisers. This just leads to frustration because the symptoms don’t resolve, but you’re on a cocktail of medications, each with their own side effects.

Symptoms of a Faulty Thyroid

As mentioned, there are dozens of symptoms that might indicate that your thyroid is either overactive or underactive. Don’t assume that having one or two of the following symptoms means that it is to blame. Rather, look at the big picture and see if you’re experiencing several of these, as this might mean you should turn your attention to this incredible gland.

The LONG list of more than 170 symptoms can be found here; but includes:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intolerance to the heat and cold (almost always being uncomfortable)
  • Physical weakness
  • Insomnia and/or waking up feeling tired
  • Struggling to gain or lose weight
  • Cold or clammy hands and feet
  • Night/cold sweats
  • Too much or too little perspiration
  • Slow reflexes and speech
  • A generally low immune system
  • Yeast infections and UTIs
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Alopecia
  • Hashimoto’s disease
  • Graves’ disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Diabetes 1 and 2
  • Addison’s disease
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Pernicious anaemia
  • Numb, white fingers and toes
  • Dry mouth, nose, and eyes
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Hardening of connective tissue
  • Vitiligo
  • Psoriasis
  • Feeling a constant or regular lump in the throat
  • Regularly choking
  • Pain/ tenderness in the neck
  • Goitre
  • Swollen tongue
  • Cravings and unusual tastes
  • Bad breath, cavities, gum disease
  • Deafness
  • Sensitive/itchy ears
  • Vertigo
  • Poor vision (generally or just at night)
  • Sore/sensitive eyes
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Bulging eyeballs
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts
  • Unhealthy hair
  • Abnormalities in body hair
  • Unhealthy nails
  • Ingrown toenails
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Rashes
  • Skin tags
  • Eczema
  • Boils
  • Little bumps on the legs
  • Acne
  • Chronic itching, allergies, hives
  • Depression, panic attacks
  • Memory loss, confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Mania, phobias
  • A tendency to abuse alcohol and substances
  • Rage
  • Personality disorders
  • Nightmares
  • ADHD
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Urinary issues
  • Kidney problems
  • Gallbladder disease
  • Painful and swollen liver
  • Lung problems
  • High/low blood pressure
  • Unhealthy pulse
  • High cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • Fibrillations
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Fluid retention
  • Inadequate blood circulation
  • Adrenal fatigue
  • Anaemia
  • Clumsiness
  • Fainting
  • Tremors
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Deterioration of muscle
  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hernia
  • Chronic pain and joint stiffness
  • Migraines or regular headaches
  • Gout
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Constipation
  • Haemorrhoids
  • Bowel disorders (IBS, colitis, diverticulosis, excess gas)
  • Nausea
  • Ulcers
  • Heartburn
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Incorrect timing of puberty or menopause
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids or ovarian cysts
  • Infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth
  • Abnormal progesterone/oestrogen/testosterone levels
  • Low sperm count
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Placental abruption
  • Low self-esteem
  • Cancer

Considering this partial list of symptoms, it’s no wonder that your symptoms may be misdiagnosed. So, what can you do?

Thyroid Tests to Ask For

The usual run of tests to ascertain your thyroid function measure the following:

  • TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) – this tests to see whether the brain is signalling the thyroid to produce too much or too little thyroid hormone. It doesn’t give an indication of what might be causing thyroid issues, though.
  • T3 – used to diagnose hyperthyroidism (an overly active thyroid).
  • T4 – can be used to diagnose an underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism.

However, these tests are the basics and might not indicate a more subtle issue. So, if you suspect your thyroid isn’t healthy, consider asking for these additional tests:

  • TPO (thyroid peroxidase antibodies), AKA microsomal antibodies
  • TG (thyroglobulin)
  • TGAb (thyroglobulin antibodies)
  • TSI (thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin)

Supplements to Support a Healthy Thyroid

To put your thyroid in the best position to function as well as possible, consider adding some powerful supplements to your daily routine. These may include:

For more information or to contact us directly, send us a WhatsApp on 072 621 7725 or email

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