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Can Thyroid Make Your Period Irregular

Ditch Hormonal Birth Control

Can Thyroid cause Menstrual Problems? #AsktheDoctor

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.

How To Track Your Period

Tracking your period is a good idea even when your period is regular. You can track your period on a calendar or in a notebook, or use one of the many period tracking apps available.

Begin tracking your period by marking the first day of your period on a calendar. Within a few months youll begin to see if your periods are regular or different each month.

Keep track of the following:

  • PMS symptoms, such as headaches, cramps, bloating, breast tenderness, and moods
  • when your bleeding begins and whether or not it was earlier or later than expected
  • how heavy your bleeding was, including how many pads or tampons you used
  • symptoms during your period, such as cramping, back pain, and other symptoms and how bad they were
  • how long your period lasted and whether or not it was longer or shorter than your last period

Irregular Periods And Hypothyroidism

When the balance of these four key hormones becomes impaired, your menstrual cycle can be disrupted in several ways:

  • Prolonging the duration of menstruation
  • Inhibiting the development and release of an ovum with subsequent effects on the later part of the cycle and preventing fertility
  • Creating irregularities in the timing of menstruation, so that the time between one period and the next is never the same.

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Absent Or Infrequent Menstruation

On the opposite end of the spectrum, absent periods or infrequent periods may occur with hypothyroidism. Infrequent menses are more common.

Amenorrhea or oligomenorrhea can occur from the increase in thyroid releasing hormone in women with hypothyroidism. The high TRH levels trigger the release of prolactin by the pituitary gland .

Prolactin interferes with the production of estrogen from the ovaries, causing infrequent or absent periods, as well as other potential symptoms like infertility, an abnormal milky discharge from the breasts , and symptoms of menopause, such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness.

How Hyperthyroidism Can Affect Your Periods

Thyroid and infertility in women

The most common way in which hyperthyroidism is seen to affect the menstrual cycle is stopping periods or making them more irregular and lighter. This is known as hypomenorrhoea and occurs because increased thyroid hormone causes an increase in SHBG

Mainly produced by the liver, SHBG is a protein which controls the amount of sex hormones; – testosterone,; dihydrotestosterone; and oestradiol; in your blood stream. These hormones are found in two forms free and bound. The latter is caused by SHBG binding to the sex hormone molecules and rendering them inactive.

Levels of SHBG change as we age.; For most people they are high in childhood, level off between 9 and 12 and then rise again during puberty. Post puberty levels settle at between 18 and 14 nmol/L

In hyperthyroid women, SHBG concentrations are usually high, which results in

  • high serum levels of oestradiol which are bound and therefore inactive
  • low to normal levels of active oestradiol levels
  • high levels of luteinizing hormone levels which are bound and therefore inactive
  • a reduced mid-cycle surge in LH secretion

This leads to irregular periods and infertility due to the lack of ovulation. Women with a severely overactive thyroid may also experience their periods stopping for three or more months

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More Info About Hyperthyroidism And Menstrual Problems

Studies have connected hyperthyroidism with menstrual irregularities as well. These are the problems that may occur when hypothyroidism is undiagnosed or improperly managed:

  • Delayed puberty or late menstruation Unlike hypothyroidism, which causes early onset of the first period hyperthyroidism can delay the start of puberty. Girls with hyperthyroidism may get their first period at 15 or older
  • Light menstrual periods Hyperthyroid women tend to have periods that are lighter than normal
  • Shorter menstrual periods While hypothyroidism can prolong your periods, hyperthyroidism can shorten them. Bear in mind that a short period isnt automatically better
  • Sporadic menstrual periods Hyperthyroid women may find that their periods dont occur at a normal rate. They may have a period one month and a pause of month or two before the next period
  • Absent menstrual periods Besides sporadic menstruations, women with hyperthyroidism may experience a complete absence of their periods for a certain period of time

Sensitive Skin And Skin Discoloration

Thyroid hormones also influence the quality of your skin in a variety of ways. With hyperthyroidism, you may notice itchy and dry patches of skin.;

Your face may feel softer and swollen. You may even notice swelling around your fingertips. Other symptoms include darkening of the skin, rashes, lumps, and reddish spots.

Read Also: How To Tell If You Have Thyroid Disease

How Thyroid Affects Periods

There are numerous mechanisms by which thyroid hormone affects menstruation.

Thyroid disease causes;failure to ovulate with resulting progesterone deficiency. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism disturb pituitary hormones . Hypothyroidism deprives the ovarian follicles of the thyroid hormone they need to develop .

Hypothyroidism impairs insulin sensitivity, which is one reason thyroid disease is associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome .

Hypothyroidism reducessex hormone binding globulin , which causes greater estrogen exposure and therefore heavy periods. In contrast, hyperthyroidism increases SHBG which causes light periods.

Hypothyroidism impairs the healthy detoxificationof estrogen, which causes greater estrogen exposure and therefore heavy periods.

Hypothyroidism decreases coagulationfactors, which causes heavy periods. In contrast, hyperthyroidism increases coagulation factors, which causes light periods .

What If You Have Thyroid Disease

What can cause irregular periods, and what should I do about it?

Medical treatment of thyroid disease includes thyroid hormone replacement for hypothyroidism and thyroid suppression for hyperthyroidism.

Natural treatment works primarily to reduce the autoimmune reaction that underlies most thyroid disease. For example, elimination of dietary gluten has been shown to reduce thyroid antibodies . The supplements vitamin D and selenium can also be helpful. A low-dose iodine supplement is appropriate only for non-autoimmune thyroid dysfunction. You can find more information about treatment on this post on my blog.

Periods are not separate from the rest of the body. They are an expression of general health and are affected by nutritional status, digestion, immune function, insulin sensitivity, and most profoundlythyroid disease!

Lara Briden is a board certified naturopathic doctor who qualified from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1997. She currently runs a busy hormone clinic in Sydney, Australia, and posts regularly at Lara Bridens Healthy Hormone Blog. Early in 2015, Lara released her book;Period Repair Manual: Natural Treatment for Better Hormones and Better Periods.


  • Pucci E et al. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2000 Jun;24 Suppl 2:S109-12. Thyroid and lipid metabolism. PMID: 10997623
  • Koutras DA. Disturbances of menstruation in thyroid disease. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1997 Jun 17;816:280-4. PMID: 9238278
  • Radaideh AM. Precocious puberty with congenital hypothyroidism. Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2005 Jun;26:253-6.
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    Can An Over Or Under Active Thyroid Affect Your Period

    In our clinic we often see ladies with under or over active thyroids and give advice regarding the impact of a thyroid problem on the menstrual cycle.

    So does an underactive or overactive thyroid affect periods?

    The short answer is yes. Excessive or deficient levels of thyroid hormones can lead to heavy, irregular or even absent periods.

    Doctors will often arrange for thyroid function tests when dealing with abnormal or extremely heavy periods. The hormones which control function of both thyroid as well as ovaries are secreted from the same area in the brain. That is why an overactive or underactive thyroid gland can also lead to significant impact on ovarian function and menstrual cycle.

    Symptoms of underactive thyroids include; fatigue and tiredness with low energy levels and lethargy, weight gain and muscle aches.

    Symptoms of overactive thyroids include; palpitations, anxiety, hand tremors, weight loss, poor sleep and sometimes prominent eyeballs.

    If you have irregular periods and are concerned about a thyroid problem, please contact us London Gynaecology on 0208 367 8999.

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    How Is Hypothyroidism Treated

    Hypothyroidism is treated with medicine that gives your body the thyroid hormone it needs to work normally. The most common medicines are man-made forms of the hormone that your thyroid makes. You will likely need to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of your life. When you take the pills as your doctor tells you to, the pills are very safe.

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    Thyroid And Irregular Periods

    Although irregular periods are most commonly associated with menopause, they can be caused by other lifestyle habits and medical conditions, such as a thyroid disorder. Continue reading for more detailed information about the thyroid and irregular periods so you can be on the path to optimal reproductive health.

    Reasons Why Your Periods Are Irregular And What To Do About It

    Irregular Periods

    Women need to know their bodies and keep track of their menstrual health to reduce the risk of contracting grave ailments. Womens health, both mental and physical, is also affected by the changing hormones. No matter the period taboo, it is important for women to have more conversations around their menstrual health with their peers, family members and spouses. Even though the average woman bleeds every 28 to 34 days, every woman has a unique menstrual cycle.

    Irregular periods are a common occurrence in women across the globe. Research shows that its not alarming to have a gap of up to 35 days before your next period. However, if your period is more frequent than the minimum gap of 21 days, or if the gap is over 35 days, then it is considered as an irregular period and its imperative that you keep track of them.

    Why do periods get irregular?

    This can be attributed to various psychological and physiological reasons. They could be temporary factors like stress, dietary changes, hormonal imbalance, physical activity, travel, irregular sleep patterns, pregnancy-related or breastfeeding. Listed below are seven such causes that cause your periods to be irregular and what can be done about it. Look out for the ones where you must see your doctor.

    Watch your diet and maintain your weight

    Stay Active – Exercise Regularly and Practise Yoga

    Include These Ingredients in Your Diet: Ginger, Cinnamon and Unripe Papaya

    Avoid Stress

    Quit Smoking or Stay Away From it

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    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.

    Muscle Weakness And Cramps

    Some reports indicate that about 20% of people with hypothyroidism experience weak muscles, and almost 35% have muscle cramps. Our muscles need enough thyroid hormones to work well. Low thyroid hormones can affect muscle function.

    In hypothyroidism, muscle weakness is most likely to start between the ages of 30 and 49 years, and is most likely to affect the upper arms and upper legs. Its important to keep in mind that sometimes, weakness and cramps can be the main or only symptoms of hypothyroidism.;

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    Immaturity Of The Hypothalamic

    What is immaturity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis?

    In the 2-3 years that follow the first period, many adolescent girls experience irregular periods. Sometimes this comes in the form of missed or very light periods, while others may experience heavy menstrual bleeding . The menstrual cycle is controlled by complex interactions between the hypothalamus, the pituitary gland, and the ovaries . This system takes time to mature, and when it is not functioning properly, ovulation may not occur. When ovulation does not happen, there is no progesterone present in the uterus, and the lining of the uterus becomes very thick and contain more blood vessels than usual. This can result in a heavy and prolonged period. This is one of the most common cause of HMB in adolescents.

    What causes immaturity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis?

    It is not known why the hormonal regulation of the menstrual period is sometimes slower to develop.

    What are the symptoms of an immature hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis?

    You may have irregular periods or skip a period. Or, you may have HMB. The HMB associated with immaturity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis is not different from other causes of HMB. This means you have any of the following:

    How is immaturity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis diagnosed?

    How is immaturity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis treated?

    How Is Postpartum Thyroiditis Treated

    What can cause bleeding between periods?

    Treatment for postpartum thyroiditis depends on the phase of the disease and what symptoms you have. For example, if you get symptoms of hyperthyroidism in the first phase, your treatment may include medicines to slow down the heart rate.

    In most women who have postpartum thyroiditis, the thyroid returns to normal within 12 to 18 months after symptoms start. But if you have a history of postpartum thyroiditis, your risk is higher for developing permanent hypothyroidism within 5 to 10 years.

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    Signs You Might Have A Thyroid Problem

    When your thyroid stops working as it should, you can experience a variety of symptoms that might seem unrelated or even odd. From chills and brain fog to thinning hair and weight gain, if your thyroid isnt functioning well, you may be experiencing symptoms that are subtle and hard to characterize.

    Women are more likely to experience issues with their thyroid, but anyone can suffer thyroid problems. Recognizing the symptoms of an overactive or underactive thyroid is the best way to get the treatment you need.

    Why Is My Period So Heavy

    Having your period is one thing you can expect every month for a large portion of your life. However, sometimes the monthly flow can become unpredictable. Some women get their periods like clockwork; others may experience irregular flow or severely painful PMS symptoms that last for days. You may even experience a heavy period flow that impacts your daily activities.

    If youre wondering what is considered heavy period bleeding, lets start by defining what is considered normal menstruation. Your menstrual cycle starts from the first day of your period until the start of your next period. On average, women experience a period every 24 days to 38 days.According to a report by the Office on Womens Health, an irregular menstrual cycleis classified as either longer than 35 days, or shorter than 21 days. Heavy period bleeding, or menorrhagia, refers to a menstrual flow that is prolonged or involves a heavy flow rate.

    Signs of a heavy period flow include:

    • Soaking through one or more pads or tampons an hour
    • The need to double up on sanitary products;
    • Waking up to change pads or tampons during the night
    • Periods that last longer than a week
    • Passing menstrual blood clots that are larger than a quarter
    • Inability to perform normal daily activities due to heavy period flow
    • Development of anemia

    Read Also: How To Improve Thyroid Function Naturally

    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.

    Feeling Chilly Or Overheated

    6 Things That Can Make Your Period Irregular

    Blood pressure is directly linked to circulation. Low circulation will result in feelings of being chilled. You might find that you are reaching for a sweater when others are feeling just fine. If you are always cold or notice that your hands and feet become particularly;chilled when uncovered, you may be experiencing a symptom of hypothyroidism.

    Hyperthyroidism might present in the opposite way. This could cause you to feel hot flashes or experience excessive sweating.

    Recommended Reading: How To Lose Weight With Underactive Thyroid And Menopause

    What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Thyroid Nodules

    Most thyroid nodules do not cause symptoms and are not cancerous. Some thyroid nodules make too much thyroid hormone, causing hyperthyroidism. Sometimes, nodules grow so big that they cause problems with swallowing or breathing. About one-third of nodules are found by the patient, another third by the doctor, and the other third through an imaging test of the neck.

    You can sometimes see or feel a thyroid nodule yourself. Stand in front of a mirror and raise your chin slightly. Look for a bump on either side of your windpipe below your Adam’s apple. If the bump moves up and down when you swallow, it may be a thyroid nodule. Ask your doctor to look at it.


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