Did you know that there is a strong connection between perimenopause and thyroid disease?
The fact is, symptoms of thyroid disease may be in fact ‘hidden’ by the symptoms of perimenopause. So much so that your doctor may not even pick up on them.
Below, we discuss what thyroid disease is along with its connection with perimenopause so that you can identify whether your symptoms are telling you that there is more to your perimenopausal story.
What is Thyroid Disease?
Thyroid Disease is an autoimmune condition that affects your thyroid. Your thyroid produces ‘thyroid hormone’ which is a hormone essential to energy and metabolism.
There are two types of thyroid disease, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
- Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid. Symptoms include fatigue, hot flushes, weight gain, body aches, joint pain, anxiety, depression, high cholesterol, heavy periods, digestive changes, irregular periods, hair loss, temperature intolerance, brain fog and memory problems.
- Hyperthyroidism refers to an overactive thyroid. Symptoms include hot flushes, racing heart, hair loss, body aches, anxiety, insomnia and fatigue.
If you are currently going through perimenopause, then you may significantly relate to the above symptoms.
Therefore, this time frame can be a tricky time for women aged 35 + as thyroid disease can be easily mistaken for perimenopause, and vice versa. So, how can we identify which you are suffering with?
Is it Thyroid Disease or Perimenopause?
The big question is – do you have thyroid disease or perimenopause?
Thyroid disease is becoming increasingly common in women, especially as you age. In fact, women over 40 have a one in ten chance that you have irregularities with your thyroid.
Common symptoms of perimenopause include:
- Brain fog and fatigue
- Weight gain
- Immune changes
- Hair loss
- Heavy periods
As you can see, there is an overlap between the symptoms of thyroid disease and the symptoms of perimenopause which can make it hard to conclude an accurate diagnosis. This connection is so strong, and in fact, perimenopause can actually trigger thyroid disease occurrence.
“Thyropause” is a term ultimately describing the drop of reproductive hormones that can trigger hyper- or hypothyroidism. As you begin losing progesterone through perimenopause, free or available thyroid hormone declines which can trigger autoimmunity. As highlighted by Lara Briden, autoimmunity is the underlying factor of most cases of under- and overactive thyroid.
Essentially, the combination of the symptoms discussed in this article indicates some sort of issue with your thyroid, whether it’s in fact thyroid disease or simply your perimenopause symptoms exacerbated by low functioning thyroid.
It is important to get the appropriate tests associated with thyroid disease, along with working with a health practitioner to pinpoint your personal prognosis.
So, what now?
As highlighted throughout this article, the connection between perimenopause and thyroid disease is strong and often overlooked. Perimenopause is a crucial time for women’s bodies as there are so many changes occurring which can have a significant effect on your health for the rest of your life.
The connection between thyroid disease and perimenopause is actually something that we discuss extensively in our perimenopausal support program, Thrive After 35, which we will be relaunching again in April! Join the waitlist so that you don’t miss out.