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Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women

Hypothyroidism is a common disorder amongst people. This condition harms the thyroid, which is located at the base of the neck and below the Adam’s apple, causing it to restrict its production of hormones. The two primary hormones made here are T3 or triiodothyronine and T4 or thyroxine. These hormones serve the function of regulating the body’s metabolism, controlling protein production, balancing energy consumption, developing the brain, and ensuring healthy sensitivity with other hormones. In the world of illnesses and diseases, it is common for them to affect genders on different scales. Hypothyroidism is no different. Studies have shown that women are six times as likely to contract hypothyroidism as men. With this shocking statistic, it is highly imperative to understand the hypothyroidism symptoms in women.

General Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Hypothyroidism as a whole brings a host of symptoms. As mentioned before, this condition limits thyroid hormone production, meaning bodily processes and functions are slowed down or made weaker. These symptoms include:

  • inability to withstand cold temperatures
  • fatigue
  • increased pain in joints and muscles
  • weight gain
  • slowed heart rate
  • skin dryness
  • depression
  • decreased sweating
  • memory problems, depression, or problems concentrating
  • constipation
  • yellowish skin
  • slow body movement

The symptoms listed above develop at a gradual rate, so often times the victim of hypothyroidism will not feel the effects until later.

Causes of Hypothyroidism in Women

In the case of women, they are far more susceptible to forms of hypothyroidism. For instance, one of the primary causes of hypothyroidism in the US is the Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland, suppressing hormone production. Hashimoto affects about seven times as many women as men, which implies that sex hormones may play a role. Additionally, hypothyroidism symptoms in women arise during the first year of pregnancy. While these symptoms of Hashimoto’s usually disappears over time, as many as 20% of these women develop Hashimoto’s years later.

Other causes of hypothyroidism in general include:

Genetics – Parents who either have autosomal dominant (meaning they have hypothyroidism) or autosomal recessive (they do not have the disease, but are carriers for it) could easily pass hypothyroidism down to their children

Excessive iodine usage – Having too much iodine may actually trigger thyroid disease despite the fact it is an element mean to make thyroid hormones. This could cause the hormone production to go into overdrive

Radiation exposure – Unhealthy levels of radiation can increase cases of thyroid disease. Incidents such as the nuclear bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima and the nuclear meltdown in Chernobyl can all cause radiation poisoning as well as create a breeding ground for hypothyroidism

All general causes of this disease contribute to hypothyroidism symptoms in women as well.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women

Many of the general hypothyroidism symptoms apply to women as well, but there are some additional side effects:

  • decreased sense of energy
  • headaches
  • brittle nails
  • brittle hair
  • irritated scalp
  • hair loss
  • abnormal periods
  • breast milk formation
  • calcium metabolism difficulties
  • sleeping more than average
  • diminished sex drive
  • puffiness in face and extremities
  • hoarseness
  • bruising/clotting problems
  • elevated levels of LDL (the “bad” cholesterol) and heightened risk of heart disease
  • allergies that suddenly appear or get worse
  • persistent cold sores, boils, or breakouts
  • tingling sensation in wrists and hands that mimics carpal tunnel syndrome
  • memory loss, fuzzy thinking, difficulty following conversation or train of thought
  • slowness or slurring of speech
  • formation of goiter, which is an increase in size of the thyroid that is externally visible

After observing this array of symptoms, it can be concluded that the majority of hypothyroidism symptoms in women deal with hormones. This is no surprise as women have much more hormones than men and the thyroid gland is one of the strongest influences of these.

Treating Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Women

When treating hypothyroidism symptoms in women, the options are similar to that of general hypothyroidism. It relies on thyroid hormone supplements, often from synthetic sources:

  • T4 drugs such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, Levothroid,  Unithroid, and levothyroxine
  • A combination of hormonal medicine which means a synthetic T3 drug such as Cytomel plus one of the T4 drugs
  • A single drug that includes both T4 and T3 such as Thyrolar
  • Desiccated thyroid such as Armour Thyroid, Nature-Throid, and Westhroid, which are T4 and T3 from animal thyroid glands (source)
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