Ask The Expert
September 21, 2012
Your symptoms certainly could be explained by a thyroid problem. Typical symptoms for an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) include:
Women may also have changes in the menstrual period.
Your doctor can order a simple blood test to see if your thyroid is working properly. The test is called TSH, which is short for thyroid stimulating hormone. If your symptoms are caused by hypothyroidism, a daily dose of thyroid hormone medicine may dramatically improve your symptoms within weeks.
Thyroid disease is very common, especially in women. It is also the main condition that would explain all of your symptoms.
But if your major concern is the excessive sleepiness, there are other diagnoses to think about. These might include:
Excessive drowsiness can also be caused by simply not getting enough sleep. This is a common and generally under-appreciated problem. Many people try to get by on five or six hours per night. But over a period of time that adds up to a significant sleep deficit.
I recommend trying to get eight or more hours per night for at least a week. If your symptoms donít begin to improve, see your doctor for a more thorough evaluation.