Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women

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Christine had always been a happy, active woman. Up at 5:30 am every morning, full of energy and ready for her different activities along the day. Finally, the happy day came, she said “I do,” and started a good marriage life. But then disgrace knocked her door. She was expecting a baby and, for no reason, she suffered the loss of it during the first trimester. Within a year, she lost another baby. Even though she underwent a medical check-up, tests failed to reveal the cause. Finally, blood test and ultrasound of her thyroid gland made her know about a very unfamiliar name Hashimoto’s disease.

Christine is just one of the many women who has never given a thought to their thyroid. The truth is, thyroid disease may develop gradually without noticing it, so one may have it for years and not know it. Bad news for women: American Medical Women’s Asso­ciation state that females have aprobability of suffering from an overactive or underactive thyroid five to eight times more than men. But, ‘How bad is it to get thyroid problems?’, You may ask. First, let us consider some facts about such a vital gland and then we will discuss the symptoms any woman is more probably to feel in the presence of hypothyroidism.

To put it in a nutshell, if your body were a car, thyroid hormones would be the accelerator that controls the speed of the engine, regulating the rate of your body’s metabolism. So, imagine the trouble of having a car speeding out of control and suddenly stopping to zero. Your thyroid produces the hormones that let you breathe normally, your heart pumping rhythmically, sexual development and so on. Now you can see how bad it is to suffer a malfunction in the way it produces hormones. ‘Am I having problems with it?’, you ask. Take a look at the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism in women.

  1. Hyperthyroidism symptoms: Yes, before coming down, a woman’s body goes up in hormones levels causing, panic attacks, anxiety, rapid pulse, sensitiveness to heat and, therefore, increased sweating. The probably increased appetite will not correspond to the weight loss a female may experiment. Diarrhea will show up creating an uncomfortable muscle weakness. Insomnia will also affect as part of this ‘cocktail’ due to the overproduction of hormones before the drought.
     
  2. Skin changes: being used to take good care of one’s skin, a woman will notice that no matter how many creams or soft lotions she may apply, her skin will tend to break out, feel rough to the touch, scaly, itchy, and thick. Some painful, inflamed boils are to appear in the armpits.
     
  3. Hair changes: having a long beautiful hair will become a nightmare once a woman realizes that, no matter what she does, hair keeps on falling out more than usual and it tends to get dry and rough as days go by. Eyebrows and eyelashes will also be affected.
     
  4. Nail changes: nails will turn brittle, and will break more easily. Women will see their nails dry too.
     
  5. Voice changes: women are more likely to experiment the way their voice turned hoarse, husky, or gravely.
     
  6. Fertility/Menstruation: changes in menstrual cycles will be evident because they will turn longer, more substantial, and more frequent. As a consequence, there is a high probability of developing ovarian cysts. Thissituation will also increase troubles for having a baby. In fact, many women before knowing they were undergoing thyroid issues, had a story of one or more miscarriages.
     
  7. Postpartum symptoms: very similar to the symptoms of postpartum depression, a woman may experience mood swings (feeling guilty because “you should be handling motherhood better than this”). These changes increase the difficulty ofbreastfeeding, feeling abnormally fatigued, and clinical issues, like losing large amounts of hair, having trouble losing weight and experiencing brain fogs.
     
  8. Breast changes: there are cases of women leaking milk even though they are not lactating or breastfeeding.
     
  9. Sex drive: the lack or absence of sex drive is typical for women with hypothyroidism. In the best case, there is an increased difficulty in reaching orgasm.
     
  10. Sleeping/snoring: both men and women snore while sleeping at different levels. But a female may notice she is snoring more lately and even having sleep apnea.
     
  11. Neck/Throat: women tend to get a lump, something like a fullness or growth in their neck area, which may cause a feeling of “fullness,” a choking sensation and probably, some difficulty swallowing.
     
  12. Body temperature: a lady is probably used to have a “normal” basal body temperature lower than 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit. (36.5 to 36.7 degrees Celsius). Then, it is also “normal” feeling cold (especially in hands and feet) when everybody is looking for an air conditioner. Another related symptom is to sweat less than average.

The list of symptoms is, of course, pretty much more significant than this. But, you can accuratelyuse it as a checklist for getting a hint of a developing problem with your thyroid. Another thing you need to know: thyroid regulation starts in the hypothalamus, which is an area of the brain. This hypothalamus detects a need for thyroid hormones and signals the pituitary gland, (located between the brain and the roof of the mouth). Then, the pituitary releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) into the bloodstream to signal the thyroid to start working.

Hence, it is necessary measuring blood levels of both TSH and thyroid hormones for a doctorto diagnose thyroid function and health.In the end, a lady may have unique symptoms of hypothyroidism, depending on age and health. Thyroid disorder is better controlled by keeping track the already listed signs paying attention to the time of the day, the period of the month, and many other variables and circumstances like diets and exercises. Thyroid disease may develop gradually and imperceptibly in women because of its multiple symptoms, so one may have it for years without paying attention to it.This is important, for things can go awry.

Some last words. There is no need to panic. If you find yourself in the way of thyroid disorder, remember that, even though there is no magic pill ensuring a good life with hypothyroidism, one’s approach along with the help of science, may teach you the art of coping it. One aspect of living well is surrounding you with supportive people. Even more critical in the case of this type of disorders. You will have the time for a laugh or two!

References:

  1. MARY J. SHOMON. (2009) Living well with hypothyroidism: what your doctor doesn’t tell you...that you need to know / Mary J. Shomon. —Rev. ed., 3, 52-68