7 Thyroid Symptoms Most People Don’t Know About

Dr. Jolene BrightenPublished: Last Reviewed: Thyroid & Hormone Balance Leave a Comment

Thyroid gland problems can range from weight gain to hair loss to depression, but these 7 thyroid symptoms are less recognized and often missed by many doctors.

Related product: Thyroid Support

7 Thyroid Symptoms Most People Don't Know About

#1. You may not taste or smell things the same if you’re hypothyroid. 

Too little thyroid hormone can cause alterations to how we taste and smell, which will mess with your enjoyment of food big time! Notice your sense of smell has changed? I recommend a full thyroid panel, plus testing for zinc deficiency, which is also a common cause of changes in our ability to smell.

In a 1975 study (yes, you read 1975!), it was concluded that change in the sense of smell and taste are “common clinical abnormalities of primary hypothyroidism.” This is a big reason why hypothyroidism can cause you to become adverse to food and lose your appetite.

Good news! When the hypothyroidism is treated, these senses come back! That makes this little foodie super happy!

Your thyroid depends on essential nutrients to thrive. If you're not eating these top foods then your thyroid isn't getting the nutrients it needs. Grab my free meal plan and recipe guide to help you improve your hormones today!

#2. Hashimoto’s & Grave’s disease can cause eye disorders.

In Hashi’s you can have episodes of elevated thyroid hormone, similar to Grave’s disease. These can stimulate the eyes to grow, which can cause them to “stick out.” Protruding or what is sometimes called “bulging” eyes can lead to damage to to the outer layer of the eye known as the cornea.

I have a patient who reported to me on her first visit that she had blinked off her cornea due to untreated hyperthyroidism. Yes, her own eyelids caused abrasions to her eyes and had a serious impact on her vision! Luckily, her eye doctor recognized what was happening and referred her my way to get down with some serious root cause medicine!

If you feel like your eyes are often itchy, you've got a delay when trying to close your eyelids or changes in vision then it's a good idea to schedule with an ophthalmologist to have a thorough evaluation. And of course, test that thyroid!

#3. HCG (the pregnancy hormone) also stimulates thyroid production in a pregnant woman.

That’s because baby depends on mom to make their thyroid hormone during the first half of pregnancy. And it isn’t T3 (active thyroid hormone) that baby needs, but T4. So your body, being the wise organism it is, allows HCG to stimulate the thyroid gland to increase production.

If you're struggling with fatigue, constipation, dry skin, hair loss, depression in early pregnancy it may be because of hypothyroidism and not the typical hormone changes we see in pregnancy. 

And ladies, please get your thyroid function checked before you become pregnant, early in first trimester and postpartum. If your TSH is 2.5 or higher then you need to talk to your doctor about starting a thyroid medication for baby's health. Your doctor can help you determine the best course of treatment for you. Postpartum thyroid disease affects 1 in 12 women worldwide.

If you're looking for most support as you transition into motherhood, check out my book Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth!

#4. SIBO is really common in hypothyroid patients.

We test for SIBO in every hypothyroid woman in my clinic and you know what—it’s there the majority of the time. Luckily, I’ve got a rock’n SIBO protocol that I couple with some solid individualized tools to clear SIBO for good.

In my clinic we use 3 supplements in combination to help with SIBO symptoms. I've had great success with Gut Clear, Gut Rebuild, and Digest for hypothyroid women struggling with digestive issues.

If you have gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, or other gut symptoms then this may be due to hypothyroidism. The only way to know is to test!

#5. Thyroid hormone is needed to make hydrochloric acid (stomach acid).

That means without it you can’t break down food to get all the nutrients you need to heal your hypothyroidism. This is why heartburn can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. There are truly a lot of ways thyroid disease can affect the gut. Read more about how your digestive symptoms may be due to a thyroid disorder.

#6. Period Problems

Got period problems? I'm talking irregular cycles, spotting between periods, heavy bleeding, cramps, and mood swings. This may very well be a sign of thyroid disease. In my clinic, we always test thyroid when our patients complain of period problems. In my mind, there is no exception to testing thyroid in women…after all, we are at the highest risk.

#7. Thyroid symptoms since starting the pill? The Birth Control Pill can lead to hypothyroidism. 

The pill causes an increase in thyroid binding globulin, which binds your free thyroid hormone. While some studies have stated the pill actually increases thyroid hormone, it is a basic misunderstanding of thyroid physiology that has created so much confusion. Let me break it down.

You use FREE thyroid hormone. That's all your cells can use. If you bind all that free hormone then what you have is an elevation of TOTAL thyroid hormone. So, if you're only looking at total thyroid hormone then it would appear the pill does increase thyroid hormone. But you CAN'T use it! So sure, it may look like thyroid hormone is up, but what you need to feel happy, fully of energy and maintain your mood is unavailable. This can also lead to a thyroid headache. I take a deeper dive into The Pill-Thyroid Connection here.

Get Your FREE Hormone Starter Kit with

7 Day Meal Plan & Recipe Guide

This starter pack is exactly what every woman needs to bring her hormones back into balance!

Hormone Starter


About The Author

Dr. Jolene Brighten

Facebook Twitter

Dr. Jolene Brighten, NMD, is a women’s hormone expert and prominent leader in women’s medicine. As a licensed naturopathic physician who is board certified in naturopathic endocrinology, she takes an integrative approach in her clinical practice. A fierce patient advocate and completely dedicated to uncovering the root cause of hormonal imbalances, Dr. Brighten empowers women worldwide to take control of their health and their hormones. She is the best selling author of Beyond the Pill and Healing Your Body Naturally After Childbirth. Dr. Brighten is an international speaker, clinical educator, medical advisor within the tech community, and considered a leading authority on women’s health. She is a member of the MindBodyGreen Collective and a faculty member for the American Academy of Anti Aging Medicine. Her work has been featured in the New York Post, Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Huffington Post, Bustle, The Guardian, Sports Illustrated, Elle, and ABC News. Read more about me here.