is it menopause or your thyroid
Did you know that menopause and your thyroid could have so many similar symptoms? Consider the similarities and how it may affect you.
According to the American Academy of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) an estimated 50 million women will have reached menopause by the end of the year. Thyroid disease can often go undetected because thyroid disease and menopause often create the same symptoms. And it may even worsen when the woman approaches menopause because of the hormonal shifts that happen in the body.
According to the AACE millions of women suffer from a variety of unresolved symptoms that are thought to be menopause-related. They may have undiagnosed thyroid disease. Both conditions often develop in the same general age range. And they share symptoms of fatigue, mood swings, depression, and sleep disturbances. Other symptoms that are similar are hair loss, change in hair texture, increased anxiety, heart palpitations, and skin changes.
Read more here: WomensHealth.gov: Thyroid Disease Fact Sheet
Seek The Advice of a Physician
Estimations are that by age 50 one out of every 10 to 12 women will have some degree of hypothyroidism. And by age 60 that number jumps to one out of five or six. A lot of women also confuse the symptoms of thyroid disease with menopause. And they don’t think of seeking the care and advice of their physician.
Where Is The Thyroid Gland located
The thyroid gland is located at the front of the neck and normally weighs less than an ounce. It secretes thyroid hormones (T3 and T4) which it manufacturers from iodine extracts from the food that we eat.
Controls Your Metabolism
Hormones are then released into the bloodstream where they help to control and regulate metabolism. The thyroid gland is under the control of the pituitary gland which is located at the base of the brain.
When thyroid hormone drops too low the pituitary glands stimulate the thyroid gland to produce more hormone by secreting a hormone of its own, thyroid-stimulating hormone.
A thyroid disorder can exist separately or in conjunction with the start of menopause. Throughout life, thyroid abnormalities can create menstrual cycle problems and even cause infertility in younger women. In women who are in perimenopause or menopause thyroid disorders only exacerbate metabolic disturbances. It only creates more problems for the woman.
Women Over 50 Should be Tested
There are increased incidences of women who suffer from thyroid disorders as they age. It is prudent that women over the age of 50 be tested for hypothyroidism every several years.
Testing at the doctorís office is usually a simple blood draw. It is sent to a laboratory and can record a level of thyroid hormone in the blood. However, thyroid antibody testing is a better indicator of the condition than normal testing done to evaluate the levels of specific hormones, T3 and T4.
In either case, it is important for both women and their physicians to consider a thyroid function test. If you have menopausal symptoms which are unresolved with treatment; or if you are not interested in treatment; you should be screened for any underlying medical condition which may be present and masked by the menopausal symptoms.