Thyroid: The Menopause Connection

Fatigue, depression, mood swings and sleep disturbances are frequently associated with menopause, but they may also be signs of a thyroid condition. According to the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), millions of women with menopausal-like symptoms, even those taking estrogen, may be suffering from undiagnosed thyroid disease.

Women, in their mid-40s and beyond, experience physiological, psychological and social changes that commonly cause a great deal of anxiety. While some women may feel frustrated, overwhelmed and anxious, others may feel sad, nervous and panicky and a fair number may even wonder if they are just going crazy. The good news, you are not going crazy. This stage in a woman’s life is complex; it is overflowing with both internal and external changes all of which, to some degree, are unique for each woman. For a majority of us, it changes everything.

Our health, our moods and our lives may feel upside down and foreign. Weight gain, mood swings, and sleep issues are common. Insomnia is second only to hot flashes as the reason most women make an appointment with their doctors. It is also common for women to experience irregular menstrual periods, night sweats, sleep disturbances, mood swings, vaginal, skin and hair changes during this transitional time.

However, if you are menopausal and feel that symptoms such as irregular periods, hot flashes, exhaustion, sleep disturbances, mood swings, brain fog, weight gain and changes in libido persist despite appropriate therapy, you should speak to your doctor. Statistically, women, particularly those going through menopause, are more subject to thyroid disease and it may be worthwhile to have a simple blood test to check your body’s levels of thyroxin and TSH.

Helping women navigate this season of life, answering the varied and very real and personal questions, and assisting them to be tested based on symptoms is something I am passionate about. So while it can be a confusing time, it does not have to be. With medical advice, guidance and communication, many women can adjust from one stage of their lives to another and over time, find therapies and treatments that will make this time of life more enjoyable.

If you would like to learn more about menopause as well as the signs, symptoms and treatment of thyroid disease, join us for the next Red Hot Mamas support group. I will be hosting the Red Hot Mamas program, “Thyroid: The Menopause Connection,” on Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at Portneuf Medical Center. The free seminar will be held in the Pebble Creek Auditorium. Doors open at 6pm and the presentation will begin at 6:30. There will be a question and answer session following the presentation.

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If you or a loved one has unresolved menopausal-like symptoms, speak to your health care provider. It is important to know that you are not alone and that help and treatments are available.