Thyroid or Menopause?
Today is World Thyroid Day.
It is estimated that about 70% of women are affected by menopausal symptoms. Weight gain, sleep problems, fatigue, low mood, dry skin, thinning hair, joint pain these all sound like symptoms of menopause and if you're a woman in your 40's or 50's you may assume these are all menopause related.
But they could actually be symptoms of thyroid disease. The symptoms of thyroid disease can be similar to menopausal complaints and can be difficult to differentiate.
Thyroid dysfunction is more common in women than men. During the transition into menopause - known as the perimenopause -, oestrogen and progesterone levels fluctuate and fall and this can have knock-on effects on the production and functioning of thyroid hormones. So even if you have never had any thyroid issues before, it is possible to experience thyroid problems during this stage of life.
Thyroid dysfunction during menopause is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and reduced cognitive function.
On that basis, routine checks of thyroid function for anyone struggling with menopausal symptoms are recommended so that thyroid disease is not overlooked and preventative steps can be taken to reduce risks of these other health conditions.
Supporting thyroid hormone production may address symptoms which you thought were purely hormonal related menopausal symptoms.
It is worth noting that the thyroid hormone test which is offered routinely by your GP may not tell the whole story! This test will look for two markers - TSH and T4. Ideally, a test which also checks levels of T3, reverse T3 and thyroid antibodies should be carried out. It is possible for you to have TSH and T4 levels which are "within range" yet still have thyroid dysfunction. This more complete test is readily available and affordable and is the one I would always recommend to clients to give a more complete picture.
If you are struggling with menopausal symptoms and would like to find out how I can help please contact me at www.karenbrooks.co.uk/contact