Thyroid Problems and Women's Health


Abnormal thyroid issues are somewhat common in women especially as they age and immediately after pregnancy. Thyroid issues tend to be familial, but many cases arise in women that do not have a family history. Most women will feel fatigue at some point during their lives and this usually does not mean thyroid issues, but if the fatigue is persistent then a trip to the doctor may be prudent and most likely your provider will order a test called a TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone).

If the TSH is high this means the brain is yelling at your thyroid to make more so a high TSH may mean hypothyroidism and a low TSH could mean too much thyroid or you may be taking too much of your medication.

TSH Levels

The problem with a TSH is that the results will have a normal range. Lets say the TSH comes back at 4.0 which is normal, but you the individual may be hypothyroid. Keep in mind the normal ranges for labs may not apply in some instances. With the thyroid gland I try to supplement some so that they have a TSH closer to 1.0 and in most cases patients will feel much improved. This may not apply to everyone and that is why we must also go based on the patient's symptoms.

  • Hypothyroid Symptomsfatigue, insensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, unexplained weight gain, puffy skin, hoarseness, muscle weakness, elevated blood cholesterol, muscle pains, heavier than normal periods, thinning hair, slowed heart rate, depression, and impaired memory
  • Hyperthyroid Symptoms - sudden weight loss, rapid heartbeat, sweating, changes in menstrual cycle, insensitivity to heat, changes in bowel habits, enlarged thyroid gland, muscle fatigue and weakness, difficulty sleeping, and thinning hair

Keep in mind, any one of these symptoms alone could mean a normal thyroid as well so it is the myriad of symptoms combined with lab results that will guide the physician whether or not to treat the patient.

Treatment for low thyroid will be simply taking a prescribed thyroid replacement medication like levothyroxine or desiccated porcine thyroid like Armour. In those patients with hyperthyroidism, this could require treatment for the underlying cause including but not limited to medication, surgery, or infusion of radioactive iodine.

See Your Doctor

If you think you may have an issue with your thyroid gland see your physician and talk about labs and a treatment plan. If you currently take thyroid medications and are experiencing any of the symptoms above call your physician and see if he or she would like to have you come to the office for lab testing and possibly adjust your dosage of medication.

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