Overview of thyroid
Women are more likely to suffer from the thyroid disease than men. The thyroid is a gland present in the neck in a shape of a butterfly. It helps in the production of thyroxine (T4) and tri-iodothyronine (T3) hormones. Thyroxine conversion occurs in the tissues and organs which requires it in the active hormone form of tri-iodothyronine. In any healthy person, the secretion of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) from the pituitary gland present in the brain regulates the hormonal production. Further, these thyroid hormones regulate the body cell metabolism.
What is thyroid under-activity?
When there is too less synthesis of the thyroid hormone, then the body metabolism also eventually slows down. Symptoms might include lethargy, extreme fatigue, hair loss, weight gain, mood deflections, dry skin and hair, lack of concentration and memory, and consistent constipation. Thyroxine or levothyroxine is recommended for thyroid hormone replacement. Many women over 50 receive treatment for under-active thyroid with thyroxine.
It is also known as hypothyroidism and in this condition low amount of thyroid hormone is produced by the body.
Following are its two main causes:
- Autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Overactive thyroid or thyroid cancer treatments might also lead to hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism and menopause have few symptoms in common. It happens mostly in the middle age women who are either approaching menopause or are already there.
What is thyroid over-activity?
Thyroid over-activity is also termed as hyperthyroidism and this condition is comparatively less common. It mainly occurs due to two main reasons:
- Autoimmune thyroid disease or the Graves’ disease followed by TSH-receptor antibodies present in the blood.
- The presence of one or more non-cancerous or benign thyroid nodules which leads to secretion of excess amounts of thyroid hormone and causing the over-activity of it.
With the presence of too much of thyroid hormone, the metabolic rate of the body gets high, which might be accompanied by symptoms like extreme tiredness or fatigue, intolerance towards heat, sleeping disorders, palpitations, anxiety, shakiness, sweating, and weight loss. The people experiencing from Graves’ disease might even develop some eye problems like grittiness and soreness or even eyeball protrusion, however, in rare cases vision issues appears.
Hyperthyroidism condition is easily manageable with the help of certain anti-thyroid drugs, and radioiodine treatment or with thyroid surgery in extreme cases.
How are the thyroid and menopause connected?
Some of the symptoms of thyroid disease are similar to the postmenopausal symptoms. So there are chances of wrong pre-assumptions until a complete diagnosis is made to rule out one of the condition and diagnose the actual culprit. The complete blood test for thyroid function can certainly help in this. So why to wait if you are in delusion simply get your Thyroid Function Test done with ease. You may easily get it done through a good diagnostic lab and nowadays it can be done just a click from the comfort of your home via online. In case you
Also, estrogen levels decrease significantly during menopause period and it results in menopause-associated symptoms. The estrogen level also affects thyroid function to a certain extent.
How can hypothyroidism affect menopausal symptoms?
Hypothyroidism can trigger an increase or even worsen of the menopausal symptoms. Few research studies over the time revealed, that many women with a thyroid disorder along with severe menopause, underwent a treatment for thyroid disorder and their condition improved finally in respect to their menopausal symptoms. So treating the thyroid disorders might actually help in managing severe menopause symptoms.
Experiencing both hypothyroidism as well as menopause might lead to few overlapping symptoms. Over the time existence of both diseases simply increases the risk and severity of the symptoms. Where menopause can occur at or post the age of 51 on the other hand hypothyroidism has no age connection to show its existence.
Some of the symptoms seen in both conditions are as follows:
- Hot flashes or night sweats
- Excessive urination urge even at night
- Sudden changes in body weight
- Skin problems like dryness and chapping
- Cessation of menstrual cycles
- Hair thinning
- Vaginal dryness
- Mood disorder
- Sleep problems
- Memory issues or even trouble in focusing
- Extreme fatigue
- Depression etc.
Can hypothyroidism cause any increased complications risk for menopause?
Thyroid disorders might impose a risk of developing menopausal complication in the long-term. One of the most common and widespread complications is osteoporosis. In this bone density is affected over the time. Few studies reveal that hypothyroidism can also cause a reduction in the bone density. Few races amongst women along with low body fat are at high risk of developing osteoporosis.
The cardiovascular diseases come up as the second most common complication linkup with menopause. Also, low thyroid levels impose a high risk of developing heart disorders as well.
When to see your doctor?
You must speak with your doctor if you observe any related symptoms or you experience any troubles with menopause. Your physician might even refer you to a specialist which is an endocrinologist. He can assist you best in case you have any hyperthyroidism issues specifically. You might even visit a gynecologist regarding your menopausal issues. Your doctor might refer you to undergo few blood tests like thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), T3, T4, and thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin (TSI) tests for complete evaluation of thyroid functioning.
You must never ignore any thyroid or menopause-related symptoms. In order to avoid any kind of future complications, it is best to get the early correct diagnosis and treatment for the same.