Thyroid is a gland that secretes hormones that regulate growth and development. The problems associated with the gland cause serious metabolic issues. If left untreated it can be deadly.
What hormones does thyroid make?
The thyroid gland makes 2 different hormones namely thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
What are the functions of thyroid gland?
The main function of the thyroid gland is to regulate metabolism of the human body. The hormones produced by the gland are pushed into the blood stream. They reach every cell of the body. It is with the help of these hormones the body is able to absorb energy from the bloodstream.
What are the problems caused due to thyroid gland?
If the thyroid is too active, it makes more amount of T3 and T4 hormones. It is like over-heating the house. It is called hyperthyroidism. If the gland is under active producing very little hormones, the condition is called hypothyroidism.
What are the causes of hyperthyroidism in women?
Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Visit symbol of hope blog to learn about grave disease, its symptoms, treatment and medication. It produces anti bodies that stimulate too much secretion of hormones. Other causes are as follows:
- Excess amount of iodine
- Inflammation of the thyroid gland. This causes leakage of hormones increasing its level in the bloodstream
- Tumors in pituitary gland (brain) and thyroid gland
- Large number of drugs like tetraiodothyronine.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in women
- Increased and frequent appetite.
- Inability to concentrate
- Brittle hair, hair loss
- Nausea, vomiting
- Sleepless nights
- Overall body weakness
- Irregular heartbeat.
How is hyperthyroidism diagnosed?
Doctors first look for physical symptoms like protruding eyes, rapid pulse rate, high blood pressure, enlargement near the throat (which is due to enlargement of thyroid gland).
The doctors can also make other tests as follows:
- Cholesterol test – Low cholesterol is a sign of thyroid problems. This is because low cholesterol levels happen only when there is a sign of elevated metabolic rate. It says that body is burning cholesterol rapidly due to increased level of T3 and T4 hormones in the blood stream
- T4, T3, free T4 – These are the tests to measure the level of thyroid hormones in the blood stream
- TSH test – TSH is Thyroid stimulating hormone. TSH levels are lower if thyroid hormone levels are high.
- Triglyceride test – They are also a type of cholesterol test. If triglyceride levels are low, metabolic rates are high and is a sign of hyperthyroidism
- Ultrasound – It is performed on the neck area to measure the size of thyroid gland. It is used to determine if the size of the gland is massive or cystic
- MRI scans or CT scans
Treatment of hyperthyroidism
- Medication – There are antithyroid medications like methimazole that stop making hormones.
- Radioactive iodine – This treatment is the most popular treatment. The radioactive rays are used to destroy the cells producing excess hormones. Around 70% of US citizens are treated with radioactive iodine.
- Surgery – A part of the thyroid gland is removed surgically. The surgery depends on the condition of the patient. One can visit symbol of hope blog to learn more about surgeries to treat hyperthyroidism
What are the causes of hypothyroidism in women?
Hypothyroidism occurs when the body does not produce enough thyroid hormones. It can due to one of the following factors
- Thyroid surgery – Removing a portion of the gland, diminishes its hormone production.
- Radiation therapy – when the radiation is used to treat cancers in the neck and head region the gland might get affected.
- Medications – Usually lithium medications used to treat psychiatric disorders contribute to hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism may also arise from any one of the following
- Pituitary disorder – The gland fails to produce TSH
- Pregnancy – During pregnancy, some women produce antibodies to their own thyroid glands.
- Iodine deficiency
- Congenital diseases – Some babies are born with defective thyroid gland.
Symptoms of hypothyroidism in women
The following are the symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Constipation, muscle weakness, fatigue
- Dry skin, thin hair, muscle weakness, increased BP
- Increased sensitivity to cold, depression, muscle aches, muscle stiffness
The symbol of hope blog more insight about hypothyroidism, its treatment and medications.
Why are women prone to thyroid when they are pregnant?
As already said, thyroid hormones are important for good metabolism. When the mother grows a fetus in her womb, the metabolic rate of her is high. This is because she is preparing food for 2 persons. The fetus starts preparing its own thyroid hormone only after 12 weeks. Therefore, the thyroid action of mother increases during pregnancy. It is important to keep it under safe control by consulting a gynecologist.
Symptoms of hyperthyroidism when pregnant
- Irregular heart beat
- Increased nervousness
- Nausea, vomiting
- Troubled sleep
- Weight loss
Symptoms of hypothyroidism when pregnant
- Muscle cramps
- Feeling cold
- Memory related problems
Women are 8 times more likely to develop a thyroid disorder than men
Why are women more prone to thyroid than men?
This is because thyroid problems are linked to autoimmunity. Autoimmunity of women is more as compared to men. Autoimmune diseases are those where body produces antibodies to target its own secretions. In this case, the thyroid gland creates anti bodies to destroy its own secretion. Scientists relate this to psychological strength as well.
8 out of 10 thyroid affected women lagged inner strength. They feel insecure.
How is it related to psychological behavior?
The function of the thyroid gland is governed by a feedback mechanism. The feedback is obtained from the brain.
In simple words, the control of thyroid gland is with the brain. Any disorders like sleepless night, stressful situations, depressions can affect the level of control of thyroid gland.
When the T3 or T4 levels are low, the brain (hypothalamus in the brain) produces TRH (a hormone – Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone). This causes pituitary gland to release TSH that stimulates thyroid gland to release T3 and T4.