Women are 10 times more at risk of thyroid than men. Thyroid in females is more common as thyroid disease is triggered by autoimmune responses. And autoimmune conditions are more prevalent in women than in men. One in eight women is likely to experience a thyroid disorder during their whole life.
Thyroid effects in females at any age but its effect is seen more in pregnant or women who are undergoing menopause. Women aged 60 or older are at a higher risk of thyroid gland problems. The hormone-producing gland, the thyroid, regulates the body’s growth and metabolism and secretes the following hormones:
- Triiodothyronine (T3)
- Thyroxine (T4)
Types Of Thyroid In Females
When the thyroid in females does not function properly, it either releases too much T4 (thyroxine) or not enough. The three main types of thyroid are:
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
- Thyroid cancer (four types, including anaplastic, medullary, papillary, follicular)
Signs Of Thyroid Problems
Thyroid symptoms in females depend on whether the thyroid gland releases too little or too much thyroid hormone. Some problems of thyroid in females may only have a few mild symptoms. While for others, the symptoms may be serious. Some signs of thyroid problems are:
Thyroid symptoms in females (hypothyroidism):
- Having heavy or frequent menstrual periods
- Feeling tired (fatigue)
- Weight gain
- Experiencing forgetfulness
- Having coarse or dry hair
- Having a rough or breathy voice
- Feeling cold when others are not
Thyroid symptoms in females (hyperthyroidism):
- Experiencing nervousness, anxiety, and irritability
- Having a goiter or an enlarged thyroid gland
- Having your menstrual cycle stopped or experiencing irregular periods
- Feeling sensitive to heat
- Having eye irritation or vision problems
- Losing weight
- Having trouble sleeping
- Having tremors or muscle weakness
Causes Of Thyroid In Females
The two main causes of thyroid in females are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Both situations can be caused by other disorders affecting the thyroid gland’s work.
Disorders that can cause hyperthyroidism are:
Nodules are overactive within the thyroid. A single one is called a toxic, independently functioning thyroid nodule. On the other hand, a gland with multiple nodules is known as a toxic multi-nodular goiter.
In this situation, the entire gland may be overactive and generate too much hormone. Also, this problem is known as “toxic goiter,” meaning an enlarged thyroid gland.
This can either be painful or not at all. In this disorder, the thyroid glands release hormones that are stored there. This lasts for a few weeks or months.
When you have an excessive amount of iodine (a mineral used to make thyroid hormones) in your body, the thyroid produces more thyroid than it needs.
Disorders that can cause hypothyroidism are:
- Thyroiditis: The condition of the swelling of the thyroid gland is thyroiditis. It can lower the amount of hormones produced by the thyroid.
- Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: An inherited condition, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a painless disease. It is an autoimmune disorder where the body cells attack and damage the thyroid in females.
- Postpartum Thyroiditis: This disease arises in 5-9% of women after giving birth. This condition is usually temporary.
- Iodine Deficiency: This is an issue affecting several million people worldwide. The thyroid uses iodine to produce hormones.
- A non-functioning thyroid gland: Many times, from birth, the thyroid gland does not work efficiently. This affects about one in four thousand newborns. The child could have both mental and physical issues in the future if left untreated.
How is Thyroid in Women Treated?
Treatments depend on the thyroid effects in females, it is important to identify whether your thyroid is producing too much or too little hormone.
This condition occurs when the thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone. Doctors treat hyperthyroidism with surgery, medicines, and radioiodine therapy.
The most prevalent medication works by reducing the activity of the thyroid, but this has some side effects. Another type of medication acknowledges the signs of hyperthyroidism by lowering nervousness or slowing down a rapid heart rate.
In radioiodine therapy, a patient is given one dose of radioactive iodine, which helps to destroy the cells that produce the thyroid hormone. This whole process results in hypothyroidism, which is comparatively easier to treat safely.
A more intense option is surgery to remove the thyroid in females. It is followed by some medications to replace the thyroid hormones in the body. However, doctors only recommend this to those who need immediate results or can’t take other options due to some allergies.
If you have a condition of hypothyroidism, then the treatment is a regular oral medication, levothyroxine. This medicine is a synthetic thyroid hormone.
In most cases, this is a lifelong treatment, but your doctor will measure your thyroid levels routinely. He or she can increase or decrease the dose by seeing the results.
The thyroid is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland near the throat that produces thyroid hormone. Thyroid in females occurs when the thyroid makes too little (hypothyroidism) or too much hormone (hyperthyroidism). These are more common in women than men because autoimmune disorders are more prevalent in females. However, this condition can be controlled by several medications, surgery, etc.