Common thyroid issues during menopause
Even though science has yet to give us a definite answer on the question, can menopause cause thyroid issues, studies revealed that the following conditions might occur after menopause.
Hypothyroidism means that your thyroid gland is underactive and produces too little thyroid hormone. This condition makes our body work slowly and results in symptoms, such as:
- Weight gain
- Dry hair and skin
- Impaired memory and concentration
- Mood swings
- Intolerance or sensitivity to cold
Left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to complications like osteoporosis, heart disease, and high cholesterol. Often, people with an underactive thyroid receive hormone replacement to replenish their thyroid hormone supply.
Hyperthyroidism indicates that the thyroid is overactive; in other words, it’s producing too much thyroid hormone that makes our body work too fast. This condition results in symptoms such as:
Hyperthyroidism may lead to heart problems, eye problems, brittle bones, and red, swollen skin when not managed.
Someone who has an overactive thyroid may receive anti-thyroid medications or radioactive thyroid therapy. Additionally, the doctor may recommend thyroid surgery.
Benign nodular thyroid disease
Another one of the more common post-menopausal thyroid problems is benign nodular thyroid disease.
In this condition, the thyroid develops non-cancerous nodules or cysts. When the nodule is large, or there are multiple nodules, your thyroid may grow bigger (goiter).
Some of its signs and symptoms are:
- Swollen neck or goiter
- Hoarseness or voice changes
- Neck pain
- Swallowing difficulty
- Breathing difficulty
Nodules can also trigger either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, so there may also be overactive or underactive thyroid symptoms.
Finally, menopausal women may also develop thyroid cancer.
Reports say that people over 55 have an increased risk of differentiated thyroid cancer, a slow-growing carcinoma. On the other hand, people over the age of 65 have a higher risk of getting anaplastic thyroid cancer—the more aggressive kind that spreads quickly to different body organs.
Symptoms of thyroid cancer are somewhat similar to those experienced by people with benign nodular thyroid disease. Additionally, thyroid cancer patients may also notice a persistent cough not caused by a cold.
Finally, when diagnosed, the woman may undergo surgery since they have “poorer tolerance” to medications.
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