Menopause and thyroid disorders: how to distinguish?

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of the neck, a few inches from the Adam’s apple. His role: they produce the thyroid hormones T3 and T4which regulate many of the body’s vital functions: oxygen consumption, body temperature, use of sugars, heart rate regulation, nervous system … When the level of hormones produced is too low (hypothyroidism) or too high (hyperthyroidism), it is the whole body that is out of orderleading to physiological changes that can be confused with the symptoms of menopause.

Hypothyroidism and menopause: what are the respective symptoms?

Around the age of fifty, the postmenopausal woman is the victim of major hormonal upheavals: the ovaries reduce their production of sex hormones (estrogen), leading to the cessation of ovulation and therefore of menstruation. The numerous symptoms that accompany these changes can sometimes be confused with those of a thyroid disorder, and especially hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of menopause or premenopause

Premenopause and menopause are generally accompanied by many side effects: fatigue, a weight gainfrom the night sweats, from the hot flashes, feelings of dizziness, from the tremors, from the palpitationsbut also urinary disorders, from the headache, of the’irritability, from anxiety

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

In the case of hypothyroidism, the body does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Result: “works in slow motion”, explains Dr. Borys. We often see a weight gain, a swellingt anywhere in the body, a fatiguea coldness, a slow down from heartbeatof the hair growth, but also cerebral And physicist. The intestine also works slower, leading to transit disturbances.

According to Dr. Borysit’s fatigue and weight gain that can sow the seeds of trouble between hypothyroidism and menopause. In postmenopausal women, “the Combined fatigue and weight gain may be symptoms that can be linked to both menopause and hypothyroidism. ”

Transit disturbances are most often a sign of hypothyroidism, as are feelings of bloating, which can be seen in both cases but which are more often a sign of hypothyroidism. “Mood disorders are most often the consequence of menopause”, He adds.

Hot flashes and hypothyroidism

Symptoms of hypothyroidism they have more similarities to those of menopause as symptoms of hyperthyroidism (when the body produces too much thyroid hormone). It is therefore more common to confuse hypothyroidism and menopause than hyperthyroidism and menopause.

The only exception: the hot flashes. “The main symptoms resulting from menopause are significant hot flashes, especially at night, with abundant periods of sweating”, observes Dr. Jean-Michel Borys. “The latter, however, are rather symptomatic of hyperthyroidism and not hypothyroidism”. In the case of hypothyroidism, however, there is a notable coldness : we are always cold.

When menopause disrupts the thyroid gland

What if I have both? Menopause can indeed induce a decreased thyroid hormones, and thus lead to hypothyroidism. “Menopause is a time when hypothyroidism is very likely to develop,” observes Dr. Borys.

“That is why it is generally recommended to carry out a Try TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) in the patient, in order to quickly diagnose an abnormality, ie the presence of a thyroid imbalance “, explains the endocrinologist. A thyroid disorder increases csome risks have already increased in menopausein particular the cardiovascular risk in case of hypothyroidism.

the hormone replacement therapy (HRT) it could also affect thyroid hormone levels. This was recently underlined by a French doctor in a recent intervention National Days of General Medicine. This is why a TSH test is generally recommended as well six weeks after the introduction of a THM.

How do you know if you have hyper or hypothyroidism?

If your doctor suspects a thyroid problem in a postmenopausal woman, the diagnostic he will first be clinical: he will feel the thyroid looking for an anomaly. If necessary, it will prescribe a ultrasound. But it is above all the Blood test for TSH confirming the diagnosis.

What is the TSH level for hypothyroidism?

The TSH level can reveal a thyroid disorder.“Above 4 mIU / L, It’s a sign of hypothyroidism. “ Dr. Borys said. If the free T4 is within normal range, it is referred to as mild hypothyroidism.

What is the TSH level for hyperthyroidism?

“Less than 0.1mUI / L,It’s a sign of hyperthyroidism. “

Leave a Comment