Hypothyroidism Can Make Periods Heavy Absent Or Irregular
Hypothyroidism can put the brakes on ovulation a phenomenon known as anovulation resulting in heavy periods. In some women with uncontrolled hypothyroidism, this anovulation can lead to disordered growth and shedding of the uterine lining, causing unpredictable bouts of heavy bleeding from the uterus, says Jessica Spencer, MD, an associate professor of gynecology and obstetrics at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. This can be monthly in some women and far apart in others.
Changes in prolactin levels can lead to thinning of the uterine lining and changes in how the pituitary gland controls the ovaries; both can result in periods stopping completely, says Dr. Spencer.
Hypothyroidism can also change coagulation factors, increasing the risk of heavy bleeding.
Women of reproductive age with hypothyroidism may experience heavy periods, absent periods, or irregular periods, says McConnell, and the symptoms of menstrual irregularities will depend on the severity of the hypothyroidism.
Menstrual irregularities tend to be more common in women with severe hypothyroidism compared to mild hypothyroidism, says McConnell.
What Is Postpartum Thyroiditis
Postpartum thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth, affects 10% of women. It often goes undiagnosed because symptoms are much like the “baby blues” that may follow delivery. Women with postpartum thyroiditis may feel very tired and moody.
Postpartum thyroiditis typically happens in two phases, though not everyone with the condition goes through both phases:
- The first phase starts 1 to 4 months after giving birth and typically last 1 to 2 months. In this phase, you may have because the damaged thyroid leaks thyroid hormones out into the bloodstream.
- The second phase starts about 4 to 8 months after delivery and lasts 6 to 12 months. In this phase, you may have because the thyroid has lost most of its hormones or because the immune attack is over and the thyroid may recover later.
Issues Related To Hyperthyroidism
A disorder of an overactive thyroid gland, meaning there is excessive thyroid hormone being produced, is called hyperthyroidism.
Absent or infrequent menses are the most common abnormalities seen with severe hyperthyroidism. This is because an increase in thyroid hormone indirectly causes an increase;in sex hormone-binding globulin , which can prevent ovulation.
As with hypothyroidism, an overactive thyroid gland that leads to scant or missed periods decreases fertility. In addition, excessive production of thyroid hormone during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage.
Treatment with an antithyroid drug can help prevent this. Another option is radioactive iodine therapy, which shrinks the thyroid; this treatment is not safe during pregnancy, however, and can only be used before or after.
Guest Post By Dr Lara Briden Nd
The thing I love about periods is the story they tell about health. I am constantly asking my patients about their periodseven if theyve come to me for something else.
For example, my patient Sharon came to me for help with elevated cholesterol. She also reported heavy periods and premenstrual spotting, which I was very interested in. You could have a thyroid problem, I said. She had already had a basic thyroid test with her doctor, and was told it was normal. I ordered further tests, and we found that she did indeed require thyroid hormone. Three months after starting;treatment, Sharons cholesterol had improved because thyroid hormone promotes the healthy removal of cholesterol from the blood . Also, Sharons periods had lightened and the premenstrual spotting was also almost gone.
Thyroid hormone affects every cell in the body. Thats why thyroid disease causes a vast array of symptoms including fatigue, elevated cholesterol, hair loss, and dry skin. Thats why thyroid disease affects menstruation.
Menstrual signs of hypothyroidism
- Irregular periods or lack of periods
- Premenstrual spotting
- Early or late menarche
Menstrual signs of hyperthyroidism
- Irregular periods or lack of periods
- Light periods
Who Is Affected By Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease can affect anyone men, women, infants, teenagers and the elderly. It can be present at birth and it can develop as you age .
Thyroid disease is very common, with an estimated 20 million people in the Unites States having some type of thyroid disorder. A woman is about five to eight times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition than a man.
You may be at a higher risk of developing a thyroid disease if you:
- Have a family history of thyroid disease.
- Have a medical condition .
- Take a medication thats high in iodine .
- Are older than 60, especially in women.
- Have had treatment for a past thyroid condition or cancer .
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How Is Thyroid Disease Treated
Your healthcare providers goal is to return your thyroid hormone levels to normal. This can be done in a variety of ways and each specific treatment will depend on the cause of your thyroid condition.
If you have high levels of thyroid hormones , treatment options can include:
- Anti-thyroid drugs : These are medications that stop your thyroid from making hormones.
- Radioactive iodine: This treatment damages the cells of your thyroid, preventing it from making high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Beta blockers: These medications dont change the amount of hormones in your body, but they help control your symptoms.
- Surgery: A more permanent form of treatment, your healthcare provider may surgically remove your thyroid . This will stop it from creating hormones. However, you will need to take thyroid replacement hormones for the rest of your life.
If you have low levels of thyroid hormones , the main treatment option is:
- Thyroid replacement medication: This drug is a synthetic way to add thyroid hormones back into your body. One drug thats commonly used is called levothyroxine. By using a medication, you can control thyroid disease and live a normal life.
Are There Different Types Of Thyroid Removal Surgery
If your healthcare provider determines that your thyroid needs to be removed, there are a couple of ways that can be done. Your thyroid may need to be completely removed or just partially. This will depend on the severity of your condition. Also, if your thyroid is very big or has a lot of growths on it, that could prevent you from being eligible for some types of surgery.
The surgery to remove your thyroid is called a thyroidectomy. There are two main ways this surgery can be done:
- With an incision on the front of your neck.
- With an incision in your armpit.
The incision on the front of your neck is more of the traditional version of a thyroidectomy. It allows your surgeon to go straight in and remove the thyroid. In many cases, this might be your best option. You may need this approach if your thyroid is particularly big or has a lot of larger nodules.
Alternatively, there is a version of the thyroid removal surgery where your surgeon makes an incision in your armpit and then creates a tunnel to your thyroid. This tunnel is made with a special tool called an elevated retractor. It creates an opening that connects the incision in your armpit with your neck. The surgeon will use a robotic arm that will move through the tunnel to get to the thyroid. Once there, it can remove the thyroid back through the tunnel and out of the incision in your armpit.
- Are not at a healthy body weight.
- Have large thyroid nodules.
- Have a condition like thyroiditis or Gravess disease.
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Why Is Treatment Important
Hypothyroidism symptoms may be mild and hard to identify, but they can also be pretty severe and affect your quality of life. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can result in serious problems, like heart disease, infertility, birth defects, and rarely, even death. Fortunately, treatment is available that can lower your risk of permanent problems and improve many of the symptoms that can happen.
Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed with a simple blood test, and its easily treated with a thyroid-replacement medication like . Once treatment is started, your provider will want to monitor your thyroid levels regularly to make sure you stay healthy.
Ditch Hormonal Birth Control
Well it is common for doctors to prescribe hormonal birth control to regulate a woman’s period, it is important to understand that this doesn’t address why you have menstrual irregularities. If your period problems are because of hypothyroidism, using hormonal birth control can make the situation worse.
The birth control pill can sabotage thyroid health by:
- Causing nutrient deficiencies by depleting vitamins and minerals crucial to thyroid function
- Elevating Thyroid Binding Globulin, a protein that holds onto your thyroid hormone
- Causing inflammation We know inflammation is bad, but did you know that inflammation can cause T4 to be converted to Reverse T3 instead of T3? I call RT3 the hibernation hormone because its designed to store fat and make you want to sleep.
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What Can Cause A Missed Period
Missing your period can be stressful. You worry about whether youre pregnant or not, or whether there is something wrong with you. Although pregnancy and illness can cause your period to be late or not come at all, there are also other factors like stress or the natural variation in your menstrual cycle that can cause your period to arrive late. Read on to learn all about what causes missed periods.
- If youve had unprotected sex and your period is late, take a home pregnancy test to find out if youre pregnant or not
- You may also have a late or skipped period due to stress, sudden weight loss, excessive exercise, being overweight, breastfeeding, approaching menopause, or taking some contraceptives
- Some long-term medical conditions, like an overactive thyroid, polycystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes, and heart disease can also cause your periods to stop or become irregular.
- Many women have irregular cycles due to natural variation.
Hypothyroidism In Women: 10 Signs And Symptoms To Know
Do you always feel tired? Have thinning hair? Or struggle with depression? What you may not know is that these common and difficult symptoms could all be related to an underactive thyroid, a condition called hypothyroidism.
Your thyroid is a small but very important gland located at the front of your neck. It produces two hormones called T3 and T4 that travel throughout your body. These hormones play an important role in making sure all your systems are working properly, from weight and metabolism to reproduction and brain development, among many others.;
In hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland isnt producing enough thyroid hormone. Its pretty common; up to 5% of the population has this diagnosis . Its also up to 10 times more common in women than in men.
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Why Get Checked For Hyperthyroidism
Thyroid disorders are manageable once theyâve been diagnosed, but it can be difficult to spot their symptoms. Left untreated, symptoms can worsen and impact a personâs quality of life. Untreated hyperthyroidism can lead to brittle bones, heart problems, and eye problems . Rarely, people with hyperthyroidism may experience a sudden and serious intensification of symptoms called a thyrotoxic crisis, also known as a hyperthyroid storm . Thyrotoxic crisis is considered a medical emergency that should be treated immediately.
Pregnancy with untreated hyperthyroidism can have negative outcomes for both the pregnant parent and child, including low birth weight, preterm delivery, and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure .
Thyroid Hormone Is Needed To Make Hydrochloric Acid
That means without it you cant break down food to get all the nutrients you need to heal your hypothyroidism. This is why heartburn can be a symptom of hypothyroidism. There are truly a lot of ways thyroid disease can affect the gut. Read more about how your digestive symptoms may be due to a thyroid disorder.
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When Should You Consult Your Doctor
There are several reasons why your periods can become irregular, ;the main thing is to seek advice if
- Your flow is heavy for in excess of 24 hours
- Your periods are occurring more frequently than every 21 days
- Your periods have not occurred for more than 3 months
If you already have hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism ;ask your doctor to check your TSH levels by doing a blood test.; If these are normal or do not normalise with treatment you should ask your doctor to look into other causes.
This is also extremely important if you are trying to conceive and are experiencing fertility problems. In this instance the following blog posts also contain helpful information
I hope this has been helpful.
How Is Thyroid Cancer Treated
The main treatment for thyroid cancer is surgery to take out the whole thyroid gland or as much of it as can be safely removed. Surgery alone can cure thyroid cancer if the cancer is small and has not yet spread to lymph nodes.
Your doctor may also use radioiodine therapy after surgery. Radioiodine therapy destroys any thyroid cancer cells that were not removed during surgery or that have spread to other parts of the body.
Your doctor may also talk with you about other treatments for thyroid cancer. Learn more about thyroid cancer treatments at the National Cancer Institute.
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Adenomyosis And Uterine Fibroids
Adenomyosis is a relatively common condition in which your uterine lining, or endometrial tissue, grows into the wall of your uterus. Sometimes, this condition causes no symptoms at all. When symptoms do strike though, excessive bleeding tends to be the most common one.
Adenomyosis is often caused by an excess of estrogen. Because the endometrium is growing into the wall of the uterus, it can cause your uterus to become larger and heavier. You may have heavy periods, painful menstrual cramps, chronic pelvic pain, and bleeding in between periods.
Uterine fibroids are abnormal growths inside your uterus that can make your periods more painful and cause heavier bleeding, as well as bleeding between periods.
How Does The Thyroid Impact My Periods
You might be wondering what a small gland in your neck has to do with your periods? A lot. Your thyroid releases hormones that react with other hormones, even the ones in your ovaries.;
If your thyroid is underactive, also known as hypothyroidism, and not producing enough hormones, it can impact your period in a couple of different ways.
First, it can prevent your ovaries from producing progesterone which is a hormone that can decrease your flow. Secondly, underactive thyroids can also reduce your ability to coagulate or stop bleeding. Without the ability to control your flow during each menstrual cycle, youre at risk for developing heavy, uncomfortable, and inconvenient periods every month.;
The good news about having a thyroid issue is that its generally easy to diagnose and treat.
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Causes: Why Hypothyroidism Happens
The thyroid gland produces two main hormones: thyroxine and triiodothyronine . When someone has hypothyroidism, their thyroid gland doesnât produce enough of these hormones. This can happen for a few different reasons:
*Iodine deficiency *
In some places where malnutrition or iodine-deficient soil exists, people are not able to get enough iodine in their diets. Without enough iodine in the diet, people can develop an iodine deficiency. This can cause hypothyroidism and a goiter to develop .
In places where people have access to enough iodine in their diet, hypothyroidism is most often caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s disease . This disease causes a personâs immune system to attack their thyroid gland, preventing it from working properly . Itâs not yet clear what causes this to happen.
Physical or medical damage to the thyroid
Hypothyroidism can also develop when the thyroid is physically damaged. This can happen when someone is receiving treatment for hyperthyroidism or having surgery or radiation around the area of the thyroid . Medication, such as lithium, can also cause hypothyroidism as a side effect .
How Hypothyroidism Is Diagnosed
Hypothyroidism can be diagnosed in two forms: subclinical hypothyroidism and hypothyroidism.
People with subclinical hypothyroidism do not usually have any of the typical symptoms. On laboratory blood tests their thyroid hormones are shown to be within normal ranges . Subclinical hypothyroidism is diagnosed through laboratory tests, which indicate that the thyroid stimulating hormone is above the normal range . Subclinical hypothyroidism is more common than typical hypothyroidism . Some people with subclinical hypothyroidism can progress to develop hypothyroidism.
In comparison, people diagnosed with hypothyroidism have clear underfunctioning of their thyroid gland and often have typical symptoms. The blood laboratory results of someone with hypothyroidism have low levels of thyroid hormones and high levels of thyroid stimulating hormone .
A healthcare provider will probably ask questions about symptoms and medical, family, and menstrual history. In particular, they will want to hear about possible miscarriages or trouble getting pregnant. They will likely perform a physical exam. If the healthcare provider thinks a thyroid disorder might be present, they will likely run some blood tests to measure levels of thyroid hormones. In some cases, an ultrasound of the thyroid gland will be performed.
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Cancer And Precancerous Conditions
Several types of cancers and precancerous states can cause abnormal bleeding, including during periods and after sex. These cancers may also cause pelvic pain and pain during sex.
The types of cancer or precancerous conditions include the following:
- ;;;;;Endometrial cancer
- ;;;;;Ovarian cancer
- ;;;;;Vaginal cancer
Each type of cancer may have unique risk factors and symptoms. These conditions can generally be diagnosed by a biopsy. Talk to your gynecologist about your concerns.