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Can Thyroid Problems Cause Early Menopause

Where Can I Find Support

Managing Thyroid Problems – Perimenopause And Menopause

Hyperthyroidism impacts you physically, psychologically, and emotionally. Its critical that you have a strong network of people you trust and can turn to for support.

It starts with your family. Since thyroid disease runs in families, being honest and open with your relatives is the best policy, as you might be alerting them to a problem they didnt even know to look out for.

To help you build your own support network outside of those closest to you, check out the Graves Disease & Thyroid Foundations community resources to find a support group near you. If you dont want to leave home, their online forum is another great resource for connecting and widening your net.

Why Women Are More Prone To Thyroid Problems

Thyroid diseases can affect anyone, but some of us are more likely to be affected than others. Women are at higher risk of thyroid problems than men and conditions affecting the thyroid gland can affect women in different ways too. Its important for women to be aware of the signs of thyroid problems and to ask a doctor about any symptoms.

What Is Premature & Early Menopause

‘Premature menopause’ is when the final menstrual period occurs before a woman is 40. ‘Early menopause’ is when the final menstrual period occurs between 40 and 45 years. Up to 8% of women have had their final period by the time they are 45. The number of women reaching menopause by this time may be increased in relation to treatment after cancer, or removal of the ovaries.

This may happen because:

  • periods stop spontaneously due to primary ovarian insufficiency this affects up to 1% of women
  • menopause is induced by a secondary cause such as:
  • surgery when ovaries are removed surgically
  • chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for cancer.

This video explains the causes of and treatments for premature and early menopause.

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Relationship Between Menopause And Thyroid Conditions

Some women take hormone replacement therapy to help reduce the symptoms associated with perimenopause.

Most women do not have any issue with their thyroid after starting HRT. However, some women who are already taking medication for an underactive thyroid may find that they need to adjust the dose of their thyroid medication.

It is important to have thyroid hormone levels rechecked from time to time, especially if a woman is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid or menopause.

Stress Management To Minimize The Stress On Adrenals And Immune System

Thyroid Problems and Weight Gain: The Link

Some women may find menopause and Hashimotos symptom relief through utilizing a toolbox of stress reduction techniques.

Reducing stress is important during perimenopause and menopause for reducing the burden on the adrenal glands and immune system.

A body in balance copes with stressful day-to-day issues much better than a body in fight or flight mode.

Techniques such as meditation, visualization abdominal breathing, journaling, self-care, regular massage therapy or other personal choices are excellent for helping to calm the nerves.

For managing my Hashimotos, I personally have relied on a strict but nurturing self-care routine before bedtime.

Epsom salt baths, regular stretching, journaling, reading, essential oils like lavender on my diffuser, and lights out by 10 pm has been my regimen for nearly two decades.

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Melatonin Is A Master Hormonal Conductor

You may think of melatonin as a sleep or jetlag remedy. But its a support for hormone function. For me, after years of erratic periods during perimenopause, supplementing with 3 mg of melatonin nightly regulated my cycle and relieved morning fatigue for years. While more studies need to be done on the effect that melatonin has on thyroid hormone levels, you can learn more about the hormonal power of melatoninincluding improved T4-to-T3 conversion and elimination of morning depression in menopausal womenin this special report on the Reversal of Aging.

What Are The Symptoms Of Thyroid Disease

Thyroid disease affects thyroid hormone production it may cause your body to produce too much thyroid hormone or not enough. The effect that the disease has on your body depends on how the disease affects your hormone production.

With hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. This may result in decreased metabolism, slower heart rate, and additional symptoms:

  • feeling cold when others do not feel cold
  • muscle fatigue
  • diarrhea or more frequent bowel movements

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How You Can Relieve Thyroid Dysfunction And Depression In Perimenopause

Diagnosing low thyroid can be tricky. Even though your oestrogen/progesterone levels are unbalanced and affecting your thyroid hormones action, a routine thyroid test may show your thyroid hormones are at perfectly normal levels. Thats because your thyroid is putting out hormones that can be measured they just cant do what theyre supposed to do.

Generally speaking, adequate thyroid treatment will reverse thyroid hormone insufficiency and depression. Its important to be aware, however, that people with hypothyroidism-induced depression are often misdiagnosed and treated as having a psychiatric illness. As a result, they are frequently prescribed antidepressants.

Unfortunately, antidepressants can be addictive. Also, they can have dangerous side effects. They can, in fact, actually worsen depression even trigger homicidal or suicidal impulses and they wont fix an oestrogen-dominance problem or a low-thyroid problem.

To reverse low thyroid and depression during perimenopause, you will need thyroid testing, but the standard TSH test doesnt detect most cases of low thyroid and wont give you the answers you need.

You need a restorative medicine physician skilled in bioidentical hormone restorative therapy who offers comprehensive, full-panel thyroid testing. That includes total T3 and total T4 tests, along with a TSH test. He or she will also do full testing of your sex hormones in order to assess their status.

How Can Early Menopause Be Prevented

Thyroid disorders and how they interact with perimenopause & menopause

Though some cases of premature menopause can’t be prevented, here are some measures you can take if you suspect you are at risk:

  • Stop smoking.
  • Use hormone-free, organic skincare products
  • Eat organic, healthy food
  • Avoid processed foods

We hope you found this information useful! Are you at risk or have you experienced early menopause? Share your story with us in the comments below.

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Thyroid Therapy In Menopause

L-Thyroxine is the first line of therapy for menopausal people with an underactive thyroid. The dose might be adjusted depending on heart health, use of tobacco, and the fitness of each person .

Generally if youre taking sex hormone replacement therapy, you might need a higher dose of thyroid medication.

Current treatment recommendation :

  • People 5070 years old with TSH levels between 1.0 and 3.0 mIU/L

  • People 70+ with TSH levels between 2.0 to 5.0 mIU/L

  • Overtreatment with L-thyroxine for menopausal people can lead to excessive bone loss and heart problems .

    What Studies Say About Thyroid Health And Perimenopause

    during perimenopause, as estrogen levels fall, levels of TBG also decrease, leading to the thyroid producing lower levels of thyroid hormones.

    A review article by Santin and Furlanetto discussed the connection between estrogen and thyroid function in detail. Estrogen has an indirect effect on thyroid function by stimulating the production of thyroxine binding globulin . TBG circulates in the blood and binds to thyroid hormones, sequestering them and preventing them from interacting with tissues. In response to high levels of TBG, the body stimulates the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormones. Thus, during perimenopause, as estrogen levels fall, levels of TBG also decrease, leading to the thyroid producing lower levels of thyroid hormones.

    In addition to this indirect effect of estrogen on the thyroid, thyroid tissues express estrogen receptors. Binding of estrogen to these receptors seems to stimulate the cells to remain active and healthy. Thus, as estrogen levels fall during perimenopause, this stimulation also falls and some thyroid cells become dormant or even die.

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    How Estrogen Secretion Affects Thyroid Hormones

    As science advances, more data is becoming available to help the healthcare industry better understand how the Thyroid gland may be affected by hormones, chemicals and other substances that were not previously discussed in relation to the function of this gland.

    Estrogen is an interesting topic when we look at the Thyroid, with breakthroughs only made within the last few decades. A review paper6 published in the Journal of Thyroid Research explains that estrogen hormones bind toward intracellular nuclear receptors, which may include an estrogen receptor alpha or an estrogen receptor beta.

    The presence of these receptors within the Thyroid glands tissue was first described in 1981, but it wasnt until 1996 that both alpha and beta receptors were discovered to be present in the tissue of the Thyroid gland.

    The discovery of estrogen receptors in the Thyroid gland has led to further research, and the conclusion that estrogen hormones play a role in growth regulation, as well as overall function, of the Thyroid gland.

    With these findings in mind, it becomes clear that the depletion of estrogen levels in women who are entering their menopausal phase of life may become problematic not only for the heart and the brain, but also for the wellbeing and the regulation of the Thyroid gland.

    Why Do Perimenopausal Women Get Hypothyroidism

    What are the effects of thyroid on women?

    Perimenopause occurs in mid-life, normally beginning between your mid-30s and late 40s. Thats the same time when your risk for hypothyroidism greatly increases, so its entirely possible that the two simply occur coincidentally.

    But its equally true that perimenopause and hypothyroidism are often related. As your egg supply diminishes with the onset of perimenopause, your ovaries begin to produce less oestrogen. However, your progesterone level can fall far faster than that of oestrogen, throwing these two hormones out of balance. In other words, your optimal oestrogen/progesterone ratio is disrupted.

    This imbalance often results in oestrogen dominance a condition when progesterone falls to a level so low that its unable to limit the action of oestrogen. When this happens, you can experience symptoms exactly like those caused by low thyroid, including depression, along with weight gain and brain fog.

    But it can get worse . . . .

    All that low but excessive oestrogen can actually sabotage your thyroid hormones. Even if your thyroid is pumping out sufficient T3 and T4, oestrogen dominance can make them ineffective. And if they cant do their job, you will develop hypothyroidism.

    It can also work the other way. A pre-existing low-functioning thyroid can cause your progesterone levels to plummet. Even if your oestrogen/progesterone balance was initially optimal, the ultimate result can be oestrogen dominance, which further impairs the thyroid and worsens depression.

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    Causes Of Chemical Early Menopause

    Radiation Therapy and/or Chemotherapy

    Significant doses of radiation or chemotherapy can, as a side effect, also damage the ovaries resulting in premature menopause. In some cases especially when youve received low dose/short term treatment, you may experience temporary menopause due to chemo or radiation therapy.

    Your ovarian function may stop working regularly for a few months after treatment, but then return to normal after four months or so. But often, even when your periods return, you remain infertile.

    Tamoxifen

    Tamoxifen used to be prescribed after you were diagnosed for breast cancer and, as with other forms of chemo, you would run a risk for premature menopause as a side effect. But recently doctors have begun prescribing Tamoxifen as a preventative measure to women with a high risk for breast cancer, since it cuts breast cancer rates by about 45 percent .

    While the media has focused on the positive aspects of this drug , there is an important potential side effect to Tamoxifen that hasnt been played up a great deal: it can send you into premature menopause. Essentially, this happens because Tamoxifen takes the place that estrogen would otherwise and therefore acts as an estrogen-blocker.

    Core Lesson

    Causes And Risk Factors Of Premature Ovarian Failure / Premature Menopause

    Autoimmune Disorder

    This is a common cause of premature ovarian failure. In fact, some research has shown that up to a third of the women with premature ovarian failure have it due to an autoimmune disorder.

    When this happens, your bodys immune system mistakenly attacks itself. In effect, your body senses part of itself as an invader so it sends out antibodies to destroy this perceived threat.

    In the case of premature menopause, you may have antibodies to your own ovarian tissue, to your endometrium, or to one or more of the hormones regulating ovulation.

    These antibodies attack your reproductive system, and may interfere with and ultimately destroy your ovarian function. If you have a family history of autoimmune disorders or have one yourself , this may be the cause for your premature menopause.

    Chromosomal Irregularity

    Some cases of hereditary premature menopause are caused by defects on an X chromosome. Its a very complicated topic, but, briefly, heres what happens:

    1. Fragile X syndrome

    Women have two X chromosomes and, even though only one of these chromosomes is active, a defect on either one can cause premature menopause. This defect appears to interfere with the production of eggs.

    So if you are a fragile X carrier, you have a lesser number of eggs in your ovaries, which in turn leads to an earlier menopause generally at least six to eight years before other women.

    2. Turners Syndrome

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    Testing For Menopause & Underactive Thyroid

    Its important to test for and know your hormone levels.

    For many reasons, I recommend a work up of these tests early on in your 40s, so you have a baseline of what levels are normal for you before symptoms of menopause arise.

    If you have Hashimotos disease, I recommend being seen regularly by a practitioner who tracks your thyroid levels and manages any medication you are taking.

    Both menopause and Hashimotos can be diagnosed with simple blood tests that check levels of the following values:

    Easing The Transition To Menopause

    What Causes Early Menopause?

    A genetic test may one day determine a persons likelihood of early menopause. For now, though, only time will tell when youll start your transition.

    See your doctor for regular checkups, and be proactive about your reproductive health. Doing so can help your doctor ease the symptoms or decrease your risk factors for early menopause.

    Seeing a therapist can also help you cope with any pain or anxiety you may feel during menopause.

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    Administering An Adequate Treatment Protocol

    Estrogen replacement therapy is known to cause a number of adverse side-effects in women. Bloating, nausea, leg cramps, breast tenderness, swollen breasts, swollen body parts, headaches, vaginal bleeding and indigestion are only some of the possible side-effects that may develop8.

    At the same time, the administration of Levothyroxine, a synthetic replacement for Thyroid hormones, might also cause a patient to experience certain side-effects, including headaches, increased perspiration, an increase in their appetite, hyperactivity, anxiety, sensitivity to heat, and weight loss9.

    With both treatment options causing unwanted adverse reactions, it becomes obvious that a patient would not want to be at a double risk for suffering complications due to drugs being administered to them. For this reason, reaching a conclusion that a single treatment protocol might assist with alleviating symptoms, or at least reduce the severity of symptoms, may be beneficial and avoid the need for treating a patient with both treatment options.

    A study10 published by the Mansoura University Hospitals in Egypt monitored the effects of Hypothyroidism medication in a group of 350 women with each participant complaining about obvious symptoms related to menopause. Not all women were treated with Hypothyroidism medication.

    After T3, T4 and TSH levels were tested through blood samples, 6% of women were diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and 5.1% of women were diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism.

    How Is Early Menopause Diagnosed

    The time leading into menopause is called perimenopause. During this time, you may have irregular periods and other symptoms that come and go.

    Youre generally considered to be in menopause if you go 12 months without menstrual bleeding, and you dont have another medical condition to explain your symptoms.

    Tests arent usually needed to diagnose menopause. Most women can self-diagnose menopause based on their symptoms. But if you think youre experiencing early menopause, you may want to see your doctor to be sure.

    Your doctor can order hormone tests to help determine whether your symptoms are due to perimenopause or another condition. These are the most common hormones to check:

    • Anti-Mullerian hormone . The

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    Maca May Be A Helpful Natural Solution

    For centuries, the root vegetable maca has been a natural remedy for menopausal symptoms a use now supported by research. Maca doesnt contain hormones it helps your body balance estrogen, progesterone, and other hormones including the thyroid more effectively. This can relieve symptoms such as hot flashes and low sex drive. I recommend therapeutic-grade Royal Maca from Whole World Botanicals one of my menopause go-tos.

    Causes Symptoms Diagnosis Treatments And Support

    Thyroid and Itchy Skin: The Link

    Endless energy, unexplained weight lossthe initial symptoms of an overactive thyroid are often seen as good symptoms. Thats why hyperthyroidism is one of the most underdiagnosed endocrine conditions. But if left unchecked, it can lead to serious complications. Were here to empower you with clear answers to all your hyperthyroid questions.

    Debbie Chen MD, Brenessa Lindeman MD, and Caroline T. Nguyen MD

    What is hyperthyroidism?

    Hyperthyroidism is the abnormal function of your thyroid gland, an organ located in the front of your neck that releases hormones to regulate your bodys use of energy. In other words, if you have high thyroid levels, it means that your thyroid gland is overactive and makes more thyroid hormones than your body needs, which causes hyperthyroidism.

    The hormones produced by your thyroid gland are thyroxine and triiodothyronine , and they play an important role in the way your entire body functions. For this reason, when there is an imbalance, such as high T4, it can have far-reaching effects on almost every aspect of your health.

    Infographic by Lauren Hunter

    • weight
    • body temperature

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