Research have shown that thyroid symptoms in women are more common as compared to men. Millions of women across the world are suffering from some sort of thyroid dysfunction without even knowing that they are suffering from this chronic disease.
Thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland present at the base of the neck produces hormones that control the speed of your body’s metabolism. It basically provides energy to your body. But sometimes the malfunctioning of this gland can lead to increase or a decrease in the production of the hormones that determine the metabolism of your body.
Types of thyroid diseases
Primarily there are two types of Thyroid diseases: Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism.
- Hyperthyroidism, also called overactive thyroid, is caused when thyroid gland over-produces the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
- Hypothyroidism, also called underactive thyroid, happens when thyroid gland under-produces the TSH.
Causes for Occurrence of Thyroid Symptoms in Women
Thyroid diseases sometimes occur when there are inappropriate levels of TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) or may be because of the problems in the gland itself. There are various complex reasons behind the occurrence of Thyroid symptoms in women for both the types of thyroid diseases:
- Hyperthyroidism is caused by Graves’ disease, Toxic adenomas, subacute thyroiditis, Pituitary gland malfunctions or cancerous growths in the thyroid gland.
- Hypothyroidism is caused by Hashimoto’s disease, removal of the thyroid gland, exposure to excessive amounts of iodide, and Lithium.
It has also noted that chemical drugs can also lead to the occurrence of thyroid. Following are some of the chemicals causing thyroid symptoms in women:
- Anti – diabetic drugs
- Sulpha drugs
- Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy.
- Aspirin and salicylate pain killers.
- Excessive consumption of processed food.
What are the common thyroid symptoms in women?
The two types of chronic thyroid diseases (Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism) are having respective symptoms of their own.
Some of the common symptoms of Hypothyroidism are
- Extreme fatigue and tiredness
- Abnormal weight gain
- Cold Intolerance
- Excessive Hair Loss
- Lak of sex drive
Some common symptoms of Hyperthyroidism are
- Excessive weight loss
- Muscle weakness
- Protruding Eyes
- Unusual heart rate, pounding of heart and other heart palpitations.
- Increased Appetite
- Excessive sweating
- Sensitivity to heat
- Swelling in the neck is due to enlargement of the thyroid gland called goitre.
- The thyroid controls menstrual cycles in women which are adversely affected because of thyroid diseases. Heavy, light or irregular periods is another thyroid symptom in women which is caused by too much or too little thyroid hormones
Apart from these, there are psychological effects of the thyroid as well. Hypothyroidism makes people feel tired, inactive and depressed while hyperthyroidism causes anxiety, sleep disorders, trembling and shaking, anger and irritation.
Thyroid Cancer Symptoms in Women
Before going to the thyroid cancer symptoms, it is imperative to know the major types of thyroid cancers:
Types of Thyroid Cancer
The presence of the cancerous cells in the thyroid gland seems very identical to the healthy cells and are called well- differentiated cells. The various types of thyroid cancer include:
Papillary Thyroid Cancer: It is a well-differentiated form of thyroid cancer, spreads slowly, and tend to occur mostly in women.
Medullary Thyroid Cancer: It is a rare type of cancer if detected at an early stage, can be cured completely.
Follicular carcinomas: These are less common but more likely to recur and metastasize to the regional nodes and spread through the blood vessels into the bones, liver, and lungs.
Anaplastic Thyroid Cancer: The least common type is anaplastic is a dangerous and aggressive form of thyroid cancer. This type of carcinoma tends to be found after it has spreaded and cannot be cured in maximum the cases.
Thyroid cancer symptoms: The occurrence of thyroid cancer symptoms in women are quite common in comparison to men. As far as symptoms area is concerned, there are not many in the beginning phase, even if produced, they appear to be quite vague, generally ignored by people. Thyroid cancer can cause the following symptoms:
- A growing lump in the neck
- Swelling in the neck
- Excessive pain in the front part of the neck, sometimes spreading to the ears
- Hoarseness or other voice changes
- Trouble in swallowing
- Extreme difficulty in breathing
Diagnosis and Treatment
A standard treatment for Hypothyroidism is the use of Beta Blockers. They are helpful in decreasing nervousness and reduce fast heart rates. The drug called Methimazole can be used to block thyroid hormone synthesis.
Hyperthyroidism can be treated with surgery, drugs, and radioactive therapy De-stressing yourself by doing yoga or other recreational activities. Quit smoking and stop consuming artificial sweeteners to make sure the gland functions properly.
Thyroid symptoms in women can occur at any time during their lifetime, but most of the time it goes unnoticed. Thyroid can take a toll on your health if left untreated. Taking care and getting your thyroid checked can save you from many health complications caused by thyroid.