What Are The Symptoms Of Thyroid Problems In Females
Thyroid problems can have a noticeable impact on your energy level and mood.
Thyroid problems can be thought of as one of the great mimickers of symptoms almost any symptom you have could potentially be to do with your thyroid. Most of the time, it may have nothing to do with your thyroid, but it is important to still rule your thyroid out.
If you have noticed yourself feeling tired, sluggish and depressed or anxious or even more irritable than usual, it could be a thyroid problem.
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped hormone gland found at the base of your neck. The thyroid is involved in metabolism and regulatory functions of the body. This means that the thyroid influences everything from how many calories you burn and how you break down food, to how fast your heart beats and your general health.
Thyroid disorders are surprisingly common, but they can be hard to detect- particularly in women.
Before we jump into the different types of thyroid problems you may come across, lets first have a look at some basic thyroid biology. It is important to understand what the thyroid is, so we can understand why things sometimes go wrong.
Muscle Aches And Trouble Swallowing
Muscle aches throughout the body are sometimes associated with abnormal thyroid levels. If your muscle aches have recently onset without any other obvious causes, a thyroid disorder is one likely cause. Rarely, muscle breakdown can also occur. If you find that you are unable to build toned muscle, reach out to your physician.
On a similar vein, because the thyroid is located in the neck, the neck muscles are usually the first to experience these symptoms. This includes the muscles associated with swallowing. If you are struggling to swallow, this could be another signs of thyroid problems.
What Is The Thyroid
The thyroid gland is a small organ thats located in the front of the neck, wrapped around the windpipe . Its shaped like a butterfly, smaller in the middle with two wide wings that extend around the side of your throat. The thyroid is a gland. You have glands throughout your body, where they create and release substances that help your body do a specific thing. Your thyroid makes hormones that help control many vital functions of your body.
When your thyroid doesnt work properly, it can impact your entire body. If your body makes too much thyroid hormone, you can develop a condition called hyperthyroidism. If your body makes too little thyroid hormone, its called hypothyroidism. Both conditions are serious and need to be treated by your healthcare provider.
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What Causes Hypothyroidism In Men
The causes of hypothyroidism in women and men are similar. As just mentioned, in the U.S., the main cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos thyroiditis. In this condition, your immune system makes cells that attack your thyroid gland, which keeps it from working properly.
Other causes of hypothyroidism include:
Cancer, such as thyroid cancer
Previous radiation or surgery to the thyroid or other parts of the neck
Not getting enough iodine in your diet
Causes Of An Overactive Thyroid
There are several reasons why your thyroid can become overactive.
- Graves’ disease a condition where your immune system mistakenly attacks and damages the thyroid
- lumps on the thyroid this extra thyroid tissue can produce thyroid hormones, causing your levels to be too high
- some medicines such as amiodarone, which can be used to treat an irregular heartbeat
Find out more about the causes of an overactive thyroid.
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Where Can I Find Support
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.
How Is An Underactive Thyroid Treated
Treatment depends on the cause of your underactive thyroid. If you have low thyroid hormone levels but no symptoms, your doctor might suggest more blood tests every 6 or 12 months to monitor your thyroid function. If you have symptoms of underactive thyroid, your doctor might recommend you take regular tablets of thyroid hormone .
- Thyroxine needs to be started slowly, so the dose you take and how often are gradually built up to reach the right level. This usually takes about 6 weeks.
- Your symptoms will probably go away within a few months but may stay for up to 6 months after starting the medicine.
- Having regular blood tests every 612 months allows your doctor to check your thyroid hormone level and adjust the dosage of your thyroxine if necessary.
- The amount of thyroxine you need can change over time because the function of your thyroid gland may change over time.
- It is also important not to take more thyroxine than has been recommended by your doctor because this can cause symptoms of hyperthyroidism and contribute to osteoporosis.
Talk to your doctor if you are using thyroxine and are planning to or have become pregnant. This is because the amount of thyroxine you need may need to be increased.
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Getting The Diagnosis And Treatment You Need
“Most symptoms of hypothyroidism do not develop right away. The thyroid hormone level must be overly low,” said Skugor. Men and their doctors need to be aware of the possibility of hypothyroidism in men so that getting a diagnosis isn’t delayed.
Your doctor may suspect hypothyroidism if you have symptoms and signs during a physical examination. The most reliable test for diagnosing hypothyroidism is thyroid stimulating hormone . This hormone tells your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone if your thyroid is becoming underactive.
“Treatment for hypothyroidism is replacement of thyroid hormone. Some men may not want to take medication, but thyroid hormone is more like a supplement. It is something your body naturally needs. The amount you need to take is based on your weight, so men may need to take higher doses than women,” said Skugor.
If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor. Men get hypothyroidism less than women, but you need to get treated just the same. Once you have hypothyroidism, you usually have it for life. With early diagnosis and treatment, thyroid hormone replacement is a safe and effective treatment that can manage your symptoms and prevent complications.
Mitigating The Stress Response
When you experience stress, your body goes into fight or flight response mode, diverting its attention from healing and digestion, and pumping your body full of adrenaline to prepare it to survive what your body perceives to be a life threatening event. Many people cite a traumatic incident in their lives as the precursor to when their Hashimotos symptoms began.
There are three potential stages of adrenal dysfunction:
Stage I In Stage I, there will generally be too much cortisol production. Your total cortisol level is going to be elevated throughout the day.
Stage II In this stage, the total cortisol level will be normal, but there will be some abnormalities where it might be high in the morning, then too low in the afternoon, and then high again in the evening. This can produce some annoying symptoms like blood sugar swings, irritability, or an afternoon crash.
Stage III This is an advanced stage where the adrenals become depleted and do not produce enough cortisol. Youll be running on empty and have very low levels of cortisol throughout the day. This often leads to chronic fatigue. You can reset your adrenals by getting more rest, limiting caffeine intake, and getting your daily dose of the ABCs: adrenal adaptogens, B vitamins and vitamin C. The supplement Adrenal Support by Rootcology contains all three of these adrenal tonics that can balance out the adrenals, whether they are over or underactive.
Here are some additional ways to mitigate stress:
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Thyroid Symptoms Specific To Men
There are two types of conditions that affect the thyroids ability to perform, both resulting from an autoimmune process in the body, when the immune system begins to recognize different parts of the thyroid gland as foreign invaders.
In the case of hypothyroidism, there are several symptoms that will be most apparent in men:
Mood Challenges: Some individuals report that thyroid disorders can produce changes in mood, such as depression, irritability, aggression, and even mania. This could be due to the fluctuation of thyroid hormones, or due to the presence of thyroid antibodies.
What Are The Treatment Options For Hypothyroidism
Treatment of hypothyroidism involves oral replacement of thyroid hormone.
Dr Silviya explains to Ashutosh, These oral medications contain thyroid hormone which makes up for the thyroid deficiency. It is important that you take the medications as instructed as overdose can lead to hyperthyroidism.
Ashutosh was prescribed medications for his hypothyroidism.
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What Is A Goiter
A goiter is an unusually enlarged thyroid gland. It may happen only for a short time and may go away on its own without treatment. Or it could be a symptom of another thyroid disease that requires treatment. goiter is more common in women than in men and especially in women before menopause.
Some common causes of goiter include:
Usually, the only symptom of a goiter is a swelling in your neck. It may be large enough that you can see it or feel the lump with your hand. A very large goiter can also cause a tight feeling in your throat, coughing, or problems swallowing or breathing.
Your doctor will do to see if it is caused by another thyroid disease.
How Are Thyroid Diseases Diagnosed
It can be hard to tell if you have a thyroid disease. The symptoms are the same as many other health problems. Your doctor may start by asking about your health history and if any of your family members has had thyroid disease. Your doctor may also give you a physical exam and check your neck for thyroid nodules.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also do other tests, such as:
- Blood tests. Testing the level of thyroid stimulating hormone in your blood can help your doctor figure out if your thyroid is overactive or underactive. TSH tells your thyroid to make thyroid hormones. Depending on the results, your doctor might do another blood test to check levels of one or both thyroid hormones in your blood.
- Radioactive iodine uptake test. For this test, you swallow a liquid or capsule that holds a small dose of radioactive iodine . The radioiodine collects in your thyroid because your thyroid uses iodine to make thyroid hormone.
High levels of radioiodine mean that your thyroid makes too much of the thyroid hormone. Low levels mean that your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism Symptoms In Men
The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are similar for men and women except for few exceptions like changes in the menstrual patterns.
Dr Silviya explains to Ashutosh, Hypothyroidism symptoms in men and women depend on the severity of hormone deficiency
Ashutosh displayed the following hypothyroidism symptoms in men:
- Fatigue: Dr Silviya says, In hypothyroidism, people are excessively fatigued after performing their daily tasks. They may also notice muscles aches, tenderness and stiffness and swelling
- Elevated blood cholesterol level: The hormonal imbalance in the body leads to elevated blood-cholesterol level.
- Puffy face: Few people with hypothyroidism may also notice that their face is getting puffier and swelling below the eyes.
- Constipation: Constipation is also one of the common hypothyroidism symptoms in men.
- Weight gain: One of the hypothyroidism symptoms in men is rapid weight gain. Men experience sudden weight gain despite no changes in their diet and the amount of food consumed.
Dr Silviya emphasises, Hypothyroidism symptoms in men may also include impaired memory, slowed heart rate, depression, cold intolerance, excessive sleepiness and memory lapses
Faq: Frequently Asked Questions
Is Graves disease the same as hyperthyroidism?
Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, but theyre not the same thing. While all patients with Graves disease have hyperthyroidism, patients with hyperthyroidism may not necessarily have Graves disease .
In Graves disease, the body makes an antibody called thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulin , which causes the thyroid gland to make too much thyroid hormone . Graves disease runs in families and is more commonly found in women.
Hypothyroidism vs Hyperthyroidism: Whats the difference?
The difference all comes down to the prefix in each word: hyper means over or exaggeration, while hypo means under or beneath. When it comes to -thyroidism, hyper- means an overactive thyroid gland, and hypo- means an underactive one.
Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid gland, can actually be caused by treatments for hyperthyroidism, since their whole purpose is to decrease thyroid gland activity. Those treatments, however, can tip the balance too far.
What should I eat to manage hyperthyroidism?
With hyperthyroidism, its more important to manage what you dont eat. High levels of iodine consumption can exacerbate hyperthyroidism, so its a good idea to watch your iodine intake. Look for ways to limit iodine in your diet by restricting your consumption of foods such as: fish, seaweed, shrimp, dairy products, and grain products .
Does hyperthyroidism go away on its own?
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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.
Hypothyroidism In The Older Patient
Hypothyroidism is very common in patients over 60 years of age and steadily increases with age . Up to 1 in 4 patients in nursing homes may have undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Unlike symptoms of hyperthyroidism, the symptoms of hypothyroidism are very non-specific in all patients, even more so in the older patient. As with hyperthyroidism, the frequency of multiple symptoms decreases in the older patient. For example, memory loss or a decrease in cognitive functioning, often attributed to advancing age, may be the only symptoms of hypothyroidism present. Symptoms and signs of hypothyroidism may include weight gain, sleepiness, dry skin, and constipation, but lack of these symptoms does not rule out the diagnosis. To make this diagnosis in the elderly patient, a doctor often needs a high index of suspicion. Clues to the possibility of hypothyroidism include a positive family history of thyroid disease, past treatment for hyperthyroidism, or a history of extensive surgery and/or radiotherapy to the neck.
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Common Signs And Symptoms Of A Thyroid Problem
Your thyroid is the size of a butterfly-shaped lemon, but even though it’s small, it’s mighty. The thyroid gland makes hormones that support many bodily functions, such as breathing, pumping blood and burning calories. Most of the time, the thyroid does what it’s supposed to do, but sometimes a problem can cause it to produce too little or too much hormone. Depending on the underlying issue, this can lead to a range of symptoms, like fatigue, anxiety and weight changes.
If you’re wondering how to know whether you have a thyroid problem, it’s important to note that only a healthcare provider can give you an actual diagnosis, which will require tests and a clinical exam. However, your body will likely send you a few clues. Here are 21 common signs and symptoms of a thyroid problem to watch out for.
Underactive Thyroid Sign: You Feel Cold All The Time
It used to be your girlfriend who was constantly upping the heat in your home. But if your thyroid isnt producing enough hormones, you may start to feel more sensitive to the cold.
Thyroid hormone basically runs the bodys furnace, Leonard Wartofsky, M.D., a professor of medicine at Georgetown Universitys School of Medicine and past president of both the Endocrine Society and the American Thyroid Association. It is what generates heat and burns calories with our metabolism.
Heat is produced as a byproduct of your body breaking down food. So if your furnace is not running up to par, youre not burning as many caloriesmeaning youre not producing as much heat, either.
Its not just that they feel cold, Dr. Wartofsky says. They are cold. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees, but instead, a hypothyroid patient could have a body temperature of 97.6.