Low energy, weight gain, irregular periods — could it be perimenopause or thyroid problems?
One in eight people have a thyroid problem and just about all women go through perimenopause — here's how to tell the difference
By Hazra Khatoon
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.
What are some of the most common thyroid issues?
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.
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