Health & Medical Immune System Disorders

Hypothyroidism in Women - What You Need to Know?

While hypothyroidism can, and does, affect both men and women, women are more likely to suffer from an underactive thyroid gland than their male peers.
Furthermore, because of the differences within the male and female body, hypothyroidism can impact a woman in different ways than it impacts a male.
These are the topics and issues to be addressed within this article, and they're extremely important topics and issues for women with an underactive thyroid, or women who suspect they may have one.
General Hypothyroidism Symptoms Knowing the symptoms of hypothyroidism, and what to look for is extremely important.
Because the thyroid gland regulates and/or affects so many different functions in the female body, being aware of all the symptoms associated with hypothyroidism can help you to be more aware of if or when you have an issue.
It is also important to note that hypothyroidism is a slow onset condition.
Instead of setting in all at once, or over a couple days like a common cold, hypothyroidism often sets in over several years.
Initial symptoms of an underactive thyroid present at tiredness or fatigue.
As your condition progresses, you may experience weight gain, constipation, depression, joint or muscle pain, muscle weakness, increased cold sensitivity, heavy periods or periods that increase in duration, pale and/or dry skin, a hoarse voice, puffy skin (especially in the face), and increased fatigue.
If you're experiencing these symptoms, have your doctor test your thyroid function, as well as your bad cholesterol levels (LDL).
High LDL levels are often associated with hypothyroidism, and can cause additional issues in conjunction with your underactive thyroid symptoms.
Unique Impact of Hypothyroidism on Women In addition to the above general symptoms of hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid impacts women in some very unique ways.
The thyroid gland as a great deal to do with the reproductive system of a woman, and thus, having an underactive thyroid creates a number of different reproductive and puberty issues.
The thyroid is extremely important in the regulation of puberty, and individuals that experience early or late onset of puberty are generally able to attribute that irregular onset to their thyroid levels.
An underactive thyroid will cause late puberty, and may also stunt other areas of growth.
Along with puberty onset, an underactive thyroid can also cause issues with the menstrual cycle, making a women's periods very heavy, or longer than usual.
Hypothyroidism can also cause irregular periods, or the disappearance of periods entirely.
Because of this wide variance in the impact of menstruation, it is important to seek the assistance of your gynecologist if you experience changes in your menstrual cycle, even if they seem minimal in nature, and especially if they are accompanied by other symptoms that may signal an underactive thyroid issue.
As you may expect from the impact on menstruation, hypothyroidism also causes reproductive issues in women.
An underactive thyroid impacts ovulation, and may impair or prevent ovulation, thus decreasing fertility.
It also increase the risk for ovarian cysts, but oddly enough, increases milk production within the breasts.
During pregnancy, slow thyroid function can harm your growing baby, as well as increase your risk for postpartum thyroid issues.
In many cases, hypothyroidism during pregnancy triggers postpartum thyroiditis.
If you suspect an issue with your thyroid prior to getting pregnant, be sure to have a thorough evaluation, and remedy the issue as soon as possible.
If you're already pregnant, consult your doctor for treatment options that are safe for you and your baby.
As if these issues weren't enough, hypothyroidism can also cause issues with menopause, triggering early menopause in some individuals.
Early menopause is considered menopause that onsets prior to, or during your early 40s.
Unfortunately, after early menopause has onset, there is little you can do to stop it, and management will have to be discussed with your physician.
Hypothyroidism Treatment Once you've been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you can begin discussing treatment options with your physician.
There are several different treatment and management options, and your treatment plan will depend on your preference, your doctor's preference, and the specifics on your particular condition.
The most common treatment option utilized by physicians is to prescribe replacement hormones to bring your levels back up to their normal levels.
This hormone replacement generally comes in the form of a man-made thyroid hormone called T4.
By taking this man-made T4, your body generally begins to produce it's own T3 (a secondary thyroid hormone produced from T4).
If your body doesn't begin to make it's own T3, your doctor may prescribe a man-made T3 hormone as well.
This combination therapy will assist your body in getting back to normal, and to slowly eliminate your symptoms.
In most cases, individuals who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism continue treatment with these man-made hormones for the duration of their lives.
However, promise for hormone pill cessation has been shown in those who follow a thyroid and thyroid hormone healthy lifestyle, which includes a specific nutrition plan, as well as exercise.

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