Is it Menopause or a Thyroid Problem?

Can you relate to signs of the signs of hypothyoidism or or hyperthyroidism?

by The North American Menopause Society
woman eye image
Photograph: Shutterstock.com

Meet your thyroid gland. It's a small, bow-tie shaped organ, located in the front of the neck above your collarbone. Its main job is to manufacture the thyroid hormones that regulate metabolism. These powerful hormones affect nearly every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. When this touchy gland becomes imbalanced, which it does in approximately one in eight women, the problem is classified in two ways, hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid no longer produces enough of the hormones to keep the body functioning properly. If untreated, it can lead to high cholesterol, osteoporosis,  heart disease, and depression. Some symptoms of hypothyroidism are similar to symptoms reported during the menopause transition. These include fatigue, forgetfulness, mood swings, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles, and cold intolerance.

Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) occurs when the thyroid produces too much of its hormones. Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism can also mimic those of the menopause transition, including hot flashes, heat intolerance, palpitations (short episodes of rapid heartbeat), tachycardia (persistent rapid heartbeat), and insomnia. The most common signs of hyperthyroidism are unplanned weight loss, goiter (an enlarged thyroid gland) and exophthalmos (bulging eyes).

Hypothyroidism is usually treated with prescription oral thyroid hormone medication to replenish the supply. Hyperthyroidism treatment options include antithyroid drugs, radioactive thyroid therapy, or thyroid surgery.

It's important to distinguish menopause symptoms from thyroid symptoms. Thyroid disorders are common in women and can be diagnosed with a simple blood test called thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). If you are having symptoms of hyper- or hypothyroidism, you should be screened with a TSH test. You can learn more from The North American Menopause Society.

Photo courtesy of Luba V Nel/Shutterstock.com

Next: The Skinny on Menopause
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I totally agree with the previous comment regarding the THS thyroid blood test. It does not show the whole picture involving thyroid function. My personal experience started almost 25 years ago after being diagnosed with thyroid nodules and then going on synthroid for 10 years. After researching natural treatments for thyroid problems, I weened myself off the medication, started taking specific vitamins/supplements and have had no adverse problems since. My blog, healthymenaturally.com goes into detail on this and other health issues in my life.

Surfdancer 01.11.2014

Unfortunately, the TSH test does not tell the entire story. One can have a 'normal" TSH, while presenting an array of hypo or hyper symptoms. A more thorough physical exam and interview are needed by an Endocrinologist who understands the latest developments in thyroid disease diagnosis and protocol.
A simple way to find out if your Endo is not up on the latest developments in endocrinology is to ask if they solely use the TSH result to make a diagnosis.
I have been through many, many doctors and a ton of heartache, reading and research before finding a Dr. who understood it's important to truly listen to the patient and hear what symptoms they are struggling with.

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