Underactive thyroid or the beginning of the menopause?


26 days ago by Dr Iwona Pogoda


Do I have an underactive thyroid or is this the beginning of the menopause?

If you have any of the following symptoms:

Fatigue

Weight Gain

Poor digestion

Menstrual irregularities

Problem with concentration

Joint pain

Sleeping problems

Feeling low or even depressed

Hair loss

Dry skin

Loss of libido

You might wonder whether you have a thyroid problem (hypothyroidism) or if you might be perimenopausal.  Both conditions are more common in women around the age of 40 and above.

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland situated in the front of the neck.  The thyroid glad produces T4 (thyroxin) and T3 (triiodothyronine) when it is stimulated by TSH secreted in the pituitary glad.  T3 is a biologically active hormone, which can also be derived from T4, and affects the metabolism of every cell of the body.  If your thyroid is under active, everything in your body slows down, i.e., digestion, absorption, heart rate, reflexes, cognition etc., and you might feel overwhelming fatigue.

On the other hand it could be that the above symptoms are telling you that your ovaries are gradually entering the final stage of their function.

Women have oestrogen receptors in various organs and tissues.  A reduction in oestrogen production can manifest itself in different ways e.g., tiredness, digestion issues, joint pain or depression, all of which can precede the typical hot flushes and night sweat symptoms of menopause.  Some symptoms can occur even when women are still menstruating and in their early forties. 

At our holistic consultation, off of your symptoms will be discussed in detail and a blood test arranged to check your TSH, FT3, FT4 levels and also, appropriate, thyroid antibodies (TPO) and TgAb to exclude possible Hashimoto).  Whatever the underlying cause - whether hypothyroidism or menopause, will will be explored in the consultation and a personalised programme developed for you.