Hyperthyroidism is common in females. Without early identification and treatment, the condition may lead to infertility, pregnancy complications, or early menopause, among other health issues.
The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ on the neck. This gland secretes hormones responsible for many bodily functions, including growth and metabolism. The imbalance of these hormones could lead to various symptoms.
Here are the signs and symptoms females with an overactive thyroid may experience, when they should contact a doctor, and what treatments may help.
Other than the usual symptoms, females face additional concerns when their thyroid isn’t functioning properly, such as:
- Menstrual cycle issues: Hyperthyroidism may change menstrual flow (heavier, lighter, etc.), cause irregular periods, or stop entirely. Sometimes, thyroid issues may even lead to early menopause.
- Fertility issues: Menstrual cycle changes are often linked to changes in ovulation or impaired ovulation. When ovulation is impacted, a person may experience infertility.
- Pregnancy issues: Overactive thyroid during pregnancy may affect a mother’s and baby’s health.
In this article, we use the terms “male” and “female” to refer to someone’s sex as determined by their chromosomes, not by their gender. A person’s gender identity may differ from the sex they were assigned at birth.
Before you notice other symptoms, you may experience weakness in your bones or broken bones. Hyperthyroidism
Additional symptoms include:
- restlessness, anxiety
- hot flashes
- sleeping issues
- low energy levels
- mood changes
- menstrual changes (lighter period, for example)
- frequent urination
- increased appetite
- loss of libido
Physical signs include:
Consult a healthcare professional if you’re having signs or symptoms of hyperthyroidism. You may find it helpful to make a list of what you’re experiencing to discuss with a doctor.
Diagnosing hyperthyroidism is relatively easy and involves a physical exam, health history, and a blood test to assess thyroid function.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of your hyperthyroidism (Graves’ disease, for example). Your doctor can find the treatment that works best for you.
Antithyroid drugs (thionamides) can block your thyroid from producing excess hormones. The usual course of treatment for these medications is between 12 and 18 months long. Your symptoms may take some time to respond to this treatment.
Beta-blockers limit the effects thyroid hormones have on your body. These drugs may be taken to address symptoms, like slowing your heart rate, while other treatments take time to begin working.
If you develop underactive thyroid, a
If you have a
Some people choose to manage their symptoms with natural remedies. For example, your doctor may suggest a low iodine diet before starting medications or other treatments.
Other natural remedies for hyperthyroidism include supplements – but only under the supervision of your doctor. These remedies are more to help with symptoms and do not treat the thyroid issue.
Are certain females at higher risk of hyperthyroidism?
What does a goiter look like?
A goiter may look like swelling on the front of the neck. You may also feel a lump. Other symptoms include coughing, trouble swallowing or breathing, or tightness in your throat.
What issues can hyperthyroidism cause during pregnancy?
An overactive thyroid may cause symptoms that mimic menopause and other health issues. Speak with your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms that concern you.
Thyroid issues can be diagnosed with a blood test. Identifying and treating hyperthyroidism promptly can help avoid serious complications like infertility, pregnancy difficulties, and early menopause.