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The Link Between Thyroid Function and Menopause

Podcast Episode 13 transcript.

Listen on: Apple, Spotify, Website

Today, I’m talking about the link between thyroid function and menopause.

Thyroid diseases predominantly affect women; their incidence is 5-20 times higher in women than in men.

Does menopause cause thyroid disorders?

It has been documented that oestrogen levels can have both indirect and direct effects on thyroid function. Still, the connection between the two has been an ongoing debate, as studies show that thyroid function reduces naturally as we age and also because symptoms of menopause and hypothyroidism overlap.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism, energy levels, and body temperature.

The thyroid gland can sometimes be under-active - this is called Hypothyroidism or overactive, which is called Hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism is less common and speeds up metabolism to much more than what is needed. This can cause fatigue, sweating, heart palpitations, anxiety, insomnia and more symptoms. Hyperthyroidism is usually managed by a specialist using medications or surgery.

Hypothyroidism happens when the body makes too little thyroid hormone, which slows the body’s metabolism. This can cause fatigue, weight gain, mood changes, dry skin, changes in libido and forgetfulness.

According to the British Thyroid Foundation, It is common for perimenopausal women to have an underactive thyroid. Studies show that up to 20% of women over the age of 60 might also have an underactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism is managed by doctors in practice using medication like levothyroxine, which replaces what the body is not naturally producing.

Have you noticed how similar - symptoms from thyroid disorders are to menopausal symptoms?

So, a woman who starts to experience menopausal symptoms (especially under the age of 45) should not simply assume it’s perimenopause. Make an appointment with your doctor for some blood tests, as these are powerful tools that can help determine the source of your symptoms. 

Some women are in perimenopause, in addition to having thyroid problems.

The combination of decreasing oestrogen with thyroid disorders increases the risk of osteoporosis and cardiovascular issues even further, so it’s essential to check your thyroid levels at least once a year.

Having a thyroid problem can make menopause symptoms worse, but if a thyroid disorder is treated and kept in check, there should be no effect on menopause symptoms.

HRT does not change normal thyroid function. If women take ORAL HRT, their doses might need to be adjusted periodically if they are on medication for an underactive thyroid. Patches or gels do not have a similar effect.

Here are some tips to look after your thyroid health:

We advise caution with supplements. Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism are opposite problems, so the treatment for each condition is very different. Discuss with your GP the possibility of testing your blood for iodine, selenium, and zinc, as many cases of Hypothyroidism lack these elements.

You can look after your thyroid and address any deficiencies by Eating a balanced diet that includes probiotics while reducing processed foods.

Relieving stress by exercising, getting enough sleep, and engaging in self-care activities reduces adrenaline and cortisol, which have a negative effect on the thyroid.

I hope this podcast has helped you understand any connections between thyroid and menopause.


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