Ask any woman – female hormones are complex, and imbalances from PMS to Menopause impact our lives on a daily basis. Complicating the problem is the thyroid gland. There’s no definitive answer as to why women are more susceptible to thyroid imbalances than men, but studies suggest that of those suffering with the disorder, seven out of every ten are female.
Women often complain of weight gain, joint or muscle pain, hoarseness, tiredness, depression and lethargy. Upon thorough investigation, the thyroid, a gland which produces hormones to regulate the body’s use of energy may surface as a contributing factor. Too little hormone is called hypothyroidism and too much is called hyperthyroidism. Some, but not all symptoms of hyper or over-active thyroid include weight loss, increased appetite, irregular or rapid heartbeat, anxiety, irritability and trouble sleeping.
So why are more women affected than men? For the most part, thyroid conditions are autoimmune in nature, and women tend to have more of this type of illness. The complex female reproductive system and hormonal fluctuations and inflammation during each monthly cycle are thought to be contributing factors. Also, the changes of menopause may make women more susceptible to thyroid imbalances.
Here’s what you need to do to find out sooner, rather than later if you suspect a thyroid problem may be contributing to your symptoms:
Document your symptoms: A variety of symptoms can occur with any form of thyroid disorder. Since symptoms can overlap or mimic other health problems, being able to communicate clearly about what you are experiencing can help your doctor choose testing that will lead to a diagnosis and proper treatment.
Seek advice from your medical practitioner, rather than friends: To an untrained friend or family member, the list of symptoms caused by thyroid dysfunction can sound like you are too focused on not feeling well. A well-trained medical practitioner will be familiar with what symptoms reveal about your current state of health and can set you on a path to wellness. Take your list with you to her office and don’t be afraid of sounding like a hypochondriac!
Be proactive when it comes to tests: Simple blood tests rule out conditions and zero-in on exactly what is going on in your individual body. In days gone by, doctors routinely tested TSH levels and if results fell within a normal range, thyroid disorder was ruled out. Today doctors know so much more about thyroid problems and what may exist as root causes, so it is easier to solve the riddle. However, discuss what tests your medical practitioner is ordering and be sure a blood test for autoimmune factors is part of the plan.
Educate yourself: Since thyroid disorders usually need to be managed after being correctly diagnosed, educating yourself about the best self-care options is paramount to feeling your best as soon as possible.
About Maturo Medical: Dr. Maturo at Maturo Medical, focuses on endocrinology and hormone balancing along with medically supervised weight loss programs. For more information about thyroid treatment or weight loss, contact Maturo Medical Weight and Wellness today by visiting: maturomedical.org.