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16 Signs You Grew Up With an Underactive Thyroid

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Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health or diagnoses, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a condition causes your thyroid to be underactive (such as hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis), it can be helpful and even reassuring to have a name and explanation for the symptoms you experience. But for some, a diagnosis not only sheds light on their current health situation, but the years (and sometimes decades) before diagnosis as well.

If you grew up experiencing certain symptoms that felt “normal” for you, it may have taken many years and doctor appointments before you realized they were actually early signs of an underactive thyroid. So, we asked our Mighty community to share some of the signs they grew up with an underactive thyroid, which they now recognize in retrospect. Maybe some of the following will remind you of your own childhood experiences.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. “Gaining [weight] in a year when I was around 17 or 18 wasn’t my fault. The mystery cough I had for several years, making me unable to sing and do what I loved, was my thyroid.” – Liberty W.
  2. Severe muscles aches, migraines, chronic headaches, weight gain, fatigue, not being able to stay up and hang out with friends, always sick, even in the summer… what problem didn’t I have as a child and teenager? I never felt normal! I honestly don’t know how it went undiagnosed for so long.” – Jennifer E.
  3. I was always overweight although I was a picky eater and hardly ate. When I was in sophomore year I lost a lot of weight and started having problems eating and holding things down. I also couldn’t stay awake during class. When I was 23 I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism.” – Marisa P.
  4. Tired all the time. Muscle stiffness.” – Dyna P.
  5. Being tired all the time and needing to take naps. Always the first one asleep, even at my own birthday parties. Always on the heavier side despite being very active, eating well. Sick all the time.” – Macie R.
  6. Being super exhausted all the time, gaining weight despite starving myself and slowly spiraling into depression. My mum was telling the doctors that I had an underactive thyroid years before I got diagnosed.” – Malina M.
  7. I was always so so tired. I would need 10+ hours of sleep and still nap. I struggled with my weight despite a healthy diet and very active sports schedule. I also was always cold. I always had a sweatshirt with me, even in the summer because I would get so cold indoors so easily. My skin really dries out. I had lots of aches and pains as well. My hair also would fall out a lot at times.” – Amy P.A.
  8. I would sleep for 12 hours a night, struggle to wake up, take an afternoon nap after practice (or before) and repeat. I was diagnosed shortly into college.” – Alane P.
  9. Being so tired and exhausted all of the time, along with my fluctuating weight. I could sleep for hours and never feel rested. I was always thin until my senior year, then I started to gain weight uncontrollably.” – Lauren H.
  10. “For me, I’ve always lived with anxiety which can be a symptom of hypothyroidism but also extreme constipation, fatigue, muscle aches, dry skin and brain fog. I was eventually diagnosed at 21 but have had  signs of the condition throughout my life.” – Rachel H.
  11. “I think the biggest symptoms of hypothyroidism while growing up were that I’ve been tired since I have memory, no matter how much sleep I had the night before, and the constant bruises that appeared out of nowhere. Also the weight issues, I’ve never eaten that much and my eating habits are fine, but since I was 5 I recall being above the height-weight relation charts and unable to lose weight.” – Mariana S.C.
  12. I used to sing and act, then I lost all confidence. My physical voice went shortly after, it never recovered properly from a sore throat I had aged 14 until I got on medication aged 21. Still haven’t quite got the confidence back completely, but I’m trying.” – Philippa B.
  13. “The sign I now recognize is fatigue, a total tiredness of both body and mind. For a long time I thought I was lazy or couldn’t handle life, but my diagnosis changed my view on that. I also have depression, so now when that tiredness creeps back in I have a blood test for thyroid, and then we know which to treat.” – Heidi F.
  14. My sister would call it my ‘after sleep nap.’ I’d get up, shower, dress, do my face then take a nap because I was worn out.” – Bridget J.
  15. Starting around age 6, I used to put myself to bed between 7:30 and 8:30 each night. What young child does that of their own free will and choice? At first my parents couldn’t find me until they discovered that I would be fast asleep in bed each night because it was torture for me to try and stay awake any longer. It was due to low T-3 and T-4 levels.” – Tonya W.
  16. “Brain fog and exhaustion. No matter how much I slept I was still exhausted.” – Kimberlee W.
Originally published: April 20, 2018
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