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Thyroid disease

Published on Dec 06 2016 // women health

Thyroid disease8

Your thyroid is a small gland at the base of your neck that makes thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone controls many activities in your body, including how fast you burn calories and how fast your heart beats. Diseases of the thyroid cause it to make either too much or too little of the hormone. Depending on how much or how little hormone your thyroid makes, you may often feel restless or tired, or you may lose or gain weight. Women are more likely than men to have thyroid diseases, especially right after pregnancy and after menopause.

How do thyroid problems affect women?

Women are more likely than men to have thyroid disease. One in eight women will develop thyroid problems during her lifetime. In women, thyroid diseases can cause:

  • Problems with your menstrual period. Your thyroid helps control your menstrual cycle. Too much or too little thyroid hormone can make your periods very light, heavy, or irregular. Thyroid disease also can cause your periods to stop for several months or longer, a condition called amenorrhea. If your body’s immune system causes thyroid disease, other glands, including your ovaries, may be involved. This can lead to early menopause (before age 40).
  • Problems getting pregnant. When thyroid disease affects the menstrual cycle, it also affects ovulation. This can make it harder for you to get pregnant.
  • Problems during pregnancy. Thyroid problems during pregnancy can cause health problems for the mother and the baby.

Sometimes, symptoms of thyroid problems are mistaken for menopause symptoms. Thyroid disease, especially hypothyroidism, is more likely to develop after menopause.

 

What kinds of thyroid disease affect women?

These thyroid diseases affect more women than men:

  • Disorders that cause hypothyroidism
  • Disorders that cause hyperthyroidism
  • Thyroiditis, especially postpartum thyroiditis
  • Goiter
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Thyroid cancer

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism (hy-poh-THY-roi-diz-uhm) is when your thyroid does not make enough thyroid hormones. It is also called underactive thyroid. This slows down many of your body’s functions, like your metabolism.

The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the United States is Hashimoto’s disease. In people with Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid. This attack damages the thyroid so that it does not make enough hormones.

Hypothyroidism also can be caused by:

  • Hyperthyroidism treatment (radioiodine)
  • Radiation treatment of certain cancers
  • Thyroid removal

 

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