How can something so small have such a large impact on our bodies?
The thyroid is a 5-centimeter gland in the front of the neck that produces hormones playing a key role in regulating blood pressure, body temperature, metabolism, heart rate, and the reaction of the body to other hormones. In other words, a healthy thyroid allows your body to hum along without thought.
Thyroid disorders, therefore, can negatively affect mood, energy level, bone health, pregnancy, and many other bodily functions. About one in eight people have a thyroid problem, and are more common in women than in men, according to the American Thyroid Association.
• Hyperthyroidism is the result of too much thyroid hormone and can lead to Graves’ disease, which has many symptoms, including sweating, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), weight loss, and protruding eyes.
• Hypothyroidism is the result of the thyroid producing too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include fatigue, weight gain, depression, and abnormal bone development.
• Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an inflammation of the thyroid gland and an autoimmune disorder. It can cause swelling in the neck and other annoying symptoms such as fatigue, lethargy, increased sensitivity to cold, dry skin, and constipation.
“Thyroid is controlled by hormones from the pituitary gland in your brain and its main determinant is based on your metabolism. So, it helps regulate your energy metabolism,” says Tara Scott, MD aka “the Hormone Guru,” a Medical Director at Forum Health, and a board-certified OB/GYN with 25 years of experience.
Perimenopause increases the risk of thyroid problems and worsens its symptoms. Since thyroid condition and menopause are interrelated, their symptoms often overlap and create confusion between which condition is the culprit. In order to understand how to manage symptoms of both or either perimenopause or thyroid disorder, it’s important to understand their connection and how to differentiate between them.
After ovulation, the egg’s outer layer produces progesterone and estrogen, which are the main hormones involved in perimenopause. “Your ovaries are also where perimenopause stems from,” Scott says. “Your whole ovarian hormones are completely different from thyroid hormones, although there is a relationship.”
In light of the fact that perimenopause affects the majority of women (usually in our 40s and into our early 50s) coupled with the increasing likelihood of hypothyroidism as you get older, it’s possible for perimenopause and hypothyroidism to coexist.
During perimenopause, your estrogen levels gradually decrease and impact your thyroid hormone regulators, which play a role in regulating the activity of the estrogen receptors in your body.
A study by the National Center for Biotechnology shows that both thyroid hormones and estrogen have a significant impact on several key aspects of our health, such as body temperature, metabolism, energy, mood, and menstruation. As a result, you may experience common and overlapping symptoms during the middle stage of life.
Although menopause tends to occur in midlife, thyroid issues may develop at any stage of life. And hormonal changes due to thyroid can impact your menopause transition.
Want to read more of this story? This is an excerpt of the article that was originally published on The Midst Substack.
Hazra is a well-skilled health, wellness, and lifestyle writer. She can dive deep into one’s heart through her words bringing them close to oneself. And she is a firm believer and achiever who loves to explore new things. When not writing, Hazra enjoys exploring the outdoors and reading books. Catch her on LinkedIn.
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