Can menopause affect your thyroid?
If you are going through the menopause and are worried about developing a thyroid disorder, read this guide on how the menopause and your thyroid gland are linked.What is the Menopause?
The menopause marks the end of a woman’s childbearing years. It is a natural part of the ageing process and is when a woman has stopped having a period for a year. On average, women reach the menopause around 50 years of age.
The time prior to the menopause is called the perimenopause transition period and lasts 5 years on average. During perimenopause, periods will become more irregular and happen less frequently because the oestrogen levels begin to decline. This change in hormones can result in symptoms like hot flashes, chills, night sweats, and problems with sleep. These symptoms can be mild or can cause serious interruptions to your daily life.Get to Know the Thyroid Gland
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped endocrine gland in your neck that produces hormones your body needs to run smoothly. Known as thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), they control the speed that the cells in your body work. If your thyroid produces too much of T3 and T4, the cells work faster than normal, called hyperthyroidism. When it doesn’t produce enough, you develop hypothyroidism and your cells slow down.Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
- Increased heart rate
- Mood swings
- Unexplained weight loss
- Neck swelling
- Weight gain
- Muscle weakness and stiffness
- Irregular periods
- Decreased heart rate
- Neck swelling
Some of the symptoms of thyroid disorders can be similar to those experienced during perimenopause. However, it is possible to have both conditions at the same time, especially since women are ten times more likely to have a thyroid disorder than men. It is thought that the decline in oestrogen during menopause affects how much of the T3 and T4 hormones your body needs to function properly.
Many women find relief from menopausal symptoms by taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). HRT contains a synthetic form of oestrogen that will help raise your hormone levels, thereby reducing the uncomfortable symptoms of the menopause. By taking HRT, you may also be able to prevent thyroid disorders.