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Thyroid Disorders and Menopause

From the Menopause and Hormones Articles List

Woman sitting outside as she wonders what the relationship between menopause and thyroid disorders is What is the relationship between menopause and thyroid disorders? What do I do if I suspect I have a thyroid problem?

The exact relationship between menopause and thyroid disorders still leaves much to be discovered, but it is widely accepted that there is indeed a relationship. In fact, studies suggest that thyroid disorders may actually cause the early onset of menopause (before the age of 50), and treating thyroid disorders may alleviate symptoms of, or possibly the actual onset of, early menopause.

Thyroid disorders are a common problem among menopausal women. The doctors on the Thyroid Service of Harvard Medical School and surveys done by University of Colorado Health Sciences Center suggest that one in every twelve women will have some degree of hypothyroidism by the age of 50, and one in every five women by the age of 60. These are not good odds!

Even more problematic is that thyroid disorders are overlooked more often than not because they are so difficult to detect. Hyperthyroidism and Hashimoto's Disease (the most common type of hypothyroidism) both manifest themselves in symptoms almost identical to those of menopause: lack of menstruation, hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia. Even then, it is difficult to determine whether these symptoms are the product of the thyroid disorder itself, or if the thyroid disorder is merely magnifying the symptoms of menopause.

Further complexities arise in testing. Because estrogen creates more thyroid-binding globulin, having it in the bloodstream can create the illusion of normal thyroid levels. At that point, the possibility of a thyroid disorder is often thrown out. In some cases, this may be a legitimate decision, but, if thyroid disorders run in your family and you are experiencing symptoms that don't improve with HRT, you need to persist.

If you suspect you are a candidate for thyroid disorder, and your doctor has told you that your thyroid is normal, there are a number of things you can try. One method is to ask your doctor to order thyroid antibodies tests in addition to the typical free T-3 and free T-4 tests. The antibodies tests will give you a more accurate measure of where you stand. Another method is to take a trial of thyroid hormone. The effectiveness of the trial should be a good indicator of whether or not your thyroid is the problem.

This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

10-16-2013 - 07:42 PM


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