Irritability, hot flashes can be attributed to menopause but also thyroid diseases. If you’re a woman on the threshold of forty or fifty years, it’s good to know and the thyroid is affected by physiological changes. May start working differently or may not. The symptoms of menopause and thyroid diseases are quite similar. Thus, it requires particular attention before pinpointing precisely the origin of these disorders.
What is Thyroid?
The thyroid is an endocrine gland that synthesizes and releases hormones. It has a shape very similar to a butterfly. It’s located in the front of the neck at the base of the throat. The thyroid has a vital role in the development of the skeletal and cerebrum. Besides, the thyroid makes an indispensable contribution to the regulation of metabolism. Determining the speed with which the body must work and how to use food to produce energy.
“The main hormones produced by the thyroid gland are thyroxine (T4), 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3), and reverse 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (rT3). They are controlled by thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) from the anterior pituitary gland.” For correct sintering of these hormones, the thyroid needs common mineral and amino acid, tyrosine and phenylalanine. Muhammad A. Shahid; Muhammad A. Ashraf; Sandeep Sharma
Menopause Symptoms or Thyroid Conditions??
The malfunction of the thyroid glands can start at any age. The risks increase over the years; it’s much more frequent in women than in men. When women approach the age of menopause, the hormones start to drop. This can affect the correct functioning of the thyroid glands. In fact, about 7-8% of pre-menopausal women suffer from it, while it reaches 10-15% after menopause.
Menopause affects thyroid activity as much as thyroid affects menopause. The ovaries and uterus rely on thyroid function to get the thyroid hormones they need to function properly and stay active. The intensity of menopause and perimenopause symptoms strongly depends on the production and availability of the thyroid hormone.
Typically, perimenopausal and menopausal women who suffer from hypothyroidism experience an increase in the different menopause symptoms. They may have vaginal dryness, hair and skin, as well as hot flashes. Reduction of the thyroid gland increases the intensity of menopause symptoms, such as vaginal dryness, hair and skin, as well as hot flashes. The decline of thyroid function increases the severity of menopause symptoms.
Connection Between Menopause and Thyroid Dysfunctions
Some women arrive at the climacteric with a thyroid problem already diagnosed in the past. Others instead manifest the issue during one of the phases of menopause or postmenopausal. Concerning this question, there’re some articles that I’ve read on the subject. If you want to know more, find the links in the references.
Estrogens regulate thyroid function; during menopause, the hormone decrease, which can lead to thyroid disease. “There’s evidence that estrogen may have direct actions in human thyroid cells by ER-dependent mechanisms or not, modulating proliferation and function. ” Normally, these alterations don’t present any change, but in some cases, it can promote pathologies and dysfunction of the thyroid.
Scientific research has shown that “thyroid status doesn’t significantly affect climacteric syndrome; menopause can modify the clinical expression of some thyroid diseases, especially autoimmune ones. Thyroid function isn’t directly involved in the pathogenesis of menopause complications …”
According to research carried out by the Department of Clinical and Molecular Endocrinology and Oncology, the risks of complications increase: “This is evident in conditions of hyper- and hypothyroidism. Although it isn’t yet clear whether the bone changes observed in a state of thyrotoxicosis are related to the lack of TSH or the excess of thyroid hormones, or both. “
Another research is done in 2013 claim that. “Coronary atherosclerosis and osteoporosis may be aggravated in the presence of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism”.
Most Common Types of Thyroid Dysfunction
Hypothyroidisn is when the thyroid glands don’t produce a sufficient amount of hormones T3 and T4. The thyroid gland becomes “sluggish”, doesn’t provide enough hormones for the proper functioning of the metabolism. Furthermore, people with hypothyroidism have a slow metabolism.
Often, the symptoms are not evident, especially at the beginning. Generally, the most frequent alarm is weight gain. Besides, to get fat, they can have symptoms such as slow digestion, tiredness, sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, weakness, muscle cramps—even alteration of the menstrual cycle, and an immense desire for sugar.
Is the most frequent cause of hyperthyroidism. This pathology is a chronic autoimmune inflammation of the thyroid gland due to antibodies against thyroid cells. Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is more common in women and is hereditary. It’s also more common in subjects with chromosomal abnormalities.
Hyperthyroidisn is the opposite situation; the thyroxine T4 and T3 produce an excessive amount of hormones; consequently, the thyroid works too quickly. People with hyperthyroidism can develop metabolic disorders associated with weight loss, increased appetite, excessive thirst.
The nodules don’t change the thyroid functions; they’re often benign; however, the nodules can vary. For this reason, periodic control is a best practice. The leading cause is iodine deficiency.
Therapy depends on the type of nodules when they don’t present any disorder; monitoring is sufficient. On the other hand, if the nodules produce excess thyroid hormones, the therapy involves taking drugs. When the nodules are malignant, surgery is necessary to perform partial or total removal of the thyroid gland.
Is it Menopause or Thyroid Dysfunction?
Do you feel tired, suffer from low concentration, hair loss, anxiety or even a hint of depression? Or, on the contrary, do you lose weight? Even if your appetite has increased or suffered from irritability, hot flashes, tachycardia?
The symptoms of thyroid dysfunction are very similar to those of premenopause symptoms, so it’s widespread to overlook the problem. Ailments should not be underestimated.
The most common symptoms are easy tiredness, dry yellowish skin, increased fluid retention, a tendency to gain weight, increased hair loss and the appearance of constipation. If you may notice these problems, it can be useful to check; with a simple laboratory examination, it’s possible to diagnose and start adequate treatment.
How to Treat the Thyroid During Menopause?
Before starting the treatment of hypothyroidism, it’s necessary to analyse the general condition of the subject. These include age, lifestyle and other diseases already present. Particular attention deserves when the woman is in menopause to avoid interference with other ongoing treatments, such as hormonal replacement. Only a doctor will be able to evaluate the entire clinical picture to identify the best medicine.
A balanced diet is an essential component in the life of a human being. You’re what you eat; your diet can prevent and cure any organism disorder but cannot replace medical treatment.
For optimal thyroid function, some foods are essential. Iodine, selenium, iron, zinc, and protein foods will improve thyroid function. As well as in low-fat dairy products such as grana cheese and Greek yoghurt.
The daily iodine requirement is 150mg / g. Iodine is present in crustaceans, sea fish, molluscs, sea salt, cow’s milk, eggs. We can find the protein foods our body needs: lean meat, such as beef, chicken, turkey and lamb in fishes like; tuna, salmon, cod, sardines: Also the legumes lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, edamame and soybeans.
Selenium is known for the antioxidant properties of molecules called selenoenzymes. Meat, chia seeds, nuts, sunflower seeds, fish and cereals are sources of selenium for the body.
Studies have identified selenium as a component of an enzyme that activates thyroid hormones. “Furthermore, low selenium levels are associated with an increased prevalence of thyroid disease“.
Omega 3 is a category of essential polyunsaturated fatty acids that our body cannot synthesise and must necessarily be taken with the diet. Among the foods that contain Omega 3, we find cod, salmon and tuna, sardine, herring and mackerel, oilseeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds and walnuts.
Foods to Avoid with Hypothyroidism
Doesn’t exist the perfect diet, special for hypothyroidism people. In any case, you can nourish yourself without slow down the thyroid function and increase the benefit from hormone replacement therapy. Underactive thyroid’ people like me should avoid consuming foods that prevent iodine absorption and interfere with hormone replacement.
Here they are:
The cruciferous: Some vegetables such as cabbage belong to the cruciferous family; among those are; cabbage, savoy cabbage, black cabbage, curly cabbage, Brussels sprouts, also broccoli, mustard, radish, arugula and horseradish. The doctor recommends those with thyroid problems should eat them raw or steamed.
Soy: Experts advise limiting the intake or consuming products containing soy. The best method to eat soy is to wait a few hours (at least 4 / h) after taking the hormones. The soy could affect the body’s ability to absorb synthetic thyroid hormones.
Additionally, some foods need careful attention to ensure that you’re not eating a high-gluten variety. It isn’t a problem only for celiacs. In fact, it seems that gluten can irritate the intestine, reducing the absorption of levothyroxine administered as replacement therapy.
Hyperthyroidism and Foods to Be Avoided
If the problem is hyperthyroidism, try to eliminate or reduce all those foods which contain high quantitate of iodine. Among them: fish, seaweed (also as supplements), prawns, crabs, lobster, oysters, sushi and also seaweed used to combat cellulite.
US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, “Thyroid and menopause”, written S. del Ghianda, M. Tonacchera &P. Vitti, available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23998691 (accessed 05 May 2020)
EndocrineWeb “Thyroid Gland Overview”, written by Dr Robert M. Sargis, available at https://www.endocrineweb.com/endocrinology/overview-thyroid, (Accessed 03 May 2020).
British Thyroid Foundation “Thyroid and menopause” available at https://www.btf-thyroid.org/thyroid-and-menopauseb(accessed (Accessed 20 April 2020).