Women aged 40 and above are at a higher risk for developing health problems associated with the thyroid glands. Unfortunately, many women in the past have been treated with hormone replacement therapy for what was thought to be menopausal symptoms, rather than for their thyroid problem.
Quite often the real issue, being their thyroid health, was totally missed. Subsequently, many of those women experienced no relief from their symptoms. Others even experienced a worsening of symptoms.
If you are a woman aged 40 or over, perhaps your symptoms are not simply menopausal ones at all.
Detecting Thyroid Problems
If you are a woman who is experiencing perimenopausal/menopausal symptoms, your doctor will do some tests before advising a treatment plan. The hormone estrogen can block your thyroid receptors. If you undergo hormone therapy and your symptoms do not improve, then there is the possibility that the problem may be your thyroid.
Thyroid Problems are Common in Menopausal Women
Experts at the Thyroid Service of Harvard Medical School revealed that one out of ten to twelve women in their 50s were found to have hypothyroidism problems. The prevalence of thyroid problems among older women is also compounded by a lack of general knowledge about thyroid health.
Women can’t just look in the mirror and see a problem. They can’t visually see if they have a problem with their thyroid. Hypothyroidism presents symptoms that can be shared with other conditions, so it may difficult to determine if it’s a woman’s perimenopausal or menopausal phase that is actually sabotaging their overall health.
Hypothyroidism, Perimenopause and Menopause – Similar Symptoms
Symptoms women may experience during their menopausal years which can be similar to those women who have hypothyroidism include:
- Sleep problems
- Low energy and fatigue
- Heavy bleeding during their monthly cycle (if still menstruating)
- Some menopausal women are afflicted with extreme irritability, atrophic vaginitis and insomnia
Despite taking natural progesterone or undergoing estrogen therapy many sufferers still experience no relief. If this is the case, it is prudent to consider other options, especially asking your doctor to evaluate your thyroid function.
Healthy Thyroid Means Healthy Bones
The hormone produced in the thyroid also plays a crucial role in bone health. The thyroid hormone helps determine the rate at which the bones are replaced.
Having high levels of the thyroid hormone, thyroxine, can lead to an increased rate of bone loss. If this occurrence continues unchecked, bone density and bone loss is inevitable.
There is also scientific evidence that shows having low levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) increases the likelihood of losing bone density at a faster rate compared to people who have normal levels of TSH in their body.
If these thyroid issues are resolved, the rate of bone loss will reduce and bone strength may improve, with correct diet and exercise.
Thyroid Health and Emotional Issues
It is also important to be aware that thyroid problems may undermine a woman’s ability to cope with the bodily changes during her menopausal period.
Women who do not have thyroid issues have been found to be better in coping with the difficulties of their menopausal phase of life, compared to women who have thyroid problems. Hormones play a major role in determining mood and avoiding anxiety and depression.
Thyroid health also impacts energy levels. If something’s wrong with the thyroid, then energy levels are affected, making it even harder to cope with the symptoms of menopause.