A thyroid is a butter-fly shaped gland, rich in blood vessels that is located on the lower front part of the neck. It has two-sides called lobes that are connected by the isthmus.

Its function is to control and balance metabolism, puberty, and the amount of hormones flowing into the bloodstream. The main two hormones released from the thyroid are triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). If these hormones are too high or too low, they can cause problems within the body.

Too much T3 and T4 can cause hyperthyroidism symptoms such as:

  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Weight loss
  • Hand tremors
  • Irregular rapid heartbeat
  • Hair loss
  • Excessive sweating

There are other causes of hyperthyroidism such as Graves’ disease, sometimes pregnancy, and toxic nodular, when lumps in the gland produce too much hormones.

Too little T3 and T4 can cause hypothyroidism symptoms such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Memory loss
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Cold intolerance
  • Depression
  • Decreased libido
  • Muscle cramps and aches
  • Hair loss

There are other causes of hypothyroidism such as inflammation of the thyroid gland, also called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and different types of medical treatments such as radioactive iodine therapy and surgical removal of the thyroid gland.

Please contact your physician if you are experiencing any hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism symptoms for proper treatment.

Cancer can also form in the thyroid gland. The most common type of thyroid cancer is papillary thyroid cancer which is when an irregular, solid or cystic mass develops on the thyroid tissues.

Thyroid nodules are the common symptom of thyroid cancer. However, less than 1 percent of nodules are cancerous. Thyroid cancer is more likely to develop in women and common after the age of 30.