Winter is a difficult time of year for lots of women. The days are cold and dark, and this changes how we eat, spend our time and even how we feel emotionally. As a result of these changes, many women experience a temporary form of depression called SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Unfortunately, many women are misdiagnosed with SAD because it shares similar symptoms with a much deeper health problem: hypothyroidism. Here’s how to identify low thyroid issues.

To help you understand if your thyroid is bringing you down, we’re turning to Aviva Romm, MD, midwife and herbalist. She’s helped thousands of women understand their bodies and health.

According to Romm, hypothyroidism (low thyroid function) affects 1 in 8 women. So, chances are, you or someone you know has experienced low thyroid function.

What does low thyroid function look like? Romm lays out common symptoms, including the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Brain fog
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Dull skin and hair
  • Trouble with hormones and/or fertility

As you can see, these symptoms can be easily confused with Seasonal Affective Disorder. So, how can you know when these symptoms suggest a thyroid problem?

Romm suggests that if your fatigue is staggering and you always feel like you’re dragging, this may be more than just SAD. And if consistent exposure to sunlight makes little to no difference,  it could be that your thyroid isn’t functioning properly.

Finally, an easy clue is that if your symptoms continue even after the winter, you may be dealing with a thyroid issue.

Living with hypothyroidism is exhausting and draining. So, if this article resonated with you, it’s a good idea to have your thyroid checked by a trusted medical professional.