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What Causes Thyroid Problems in Women

What Causes Thyroid Problems in Women

If you are wondering what causes thyroid problems in women, then you have come to the right place. This article provides comprehensive information on the causes and symptoms of thyroid problems faced by women.
Geeta Dhavale
Last Updated: Jun 3, 2018
Thyroid disorders are one of the most common problems affecting older women. Though today it can occur even at a younger age, it typically strikes just before or after menopause. Apart from this, cases of thyroid problems after pregnancy are also increasing. The thyroid gland is situated right in the middle of the neck, and it produces a hormone called thyroxine, which plays a key role in managing the growth, energy, and metabolism rate of the body. Because of this, thyroid problems are closely related to weight gain or loss. Any dysfunction in the thyroid gland can lead to thyroid problems that can affect women adversely. Hence, this condition needs immediate attention. Essentially, there are 2 types of thyroid problems, namely, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Types and Symptoms of Thyroid Problems
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid system becomes underactive and produces lower thyroxine than what is needed for the smooth functioning of the body. It results in slowing the metabolism rate of the body and low or no energy production. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are as following:
  • Dry skin
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Hair loss
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Insomnia
  • Poor memory
  • Dementia
  • Heavy menstrual periods
  • Lowered immune system
  • Weight gain
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Nervousness
As the name suggests, hyperthyroidism occurs when excessive thyroxine is produced by the thyroid glands. It causes the metabolic rate to increase unnaturally, which too has an adverse effect on the various vital organs. The symptoms of this condition are:
  • Weight loss
  • Dry and clammy skin
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Poor memory
  • Frequent defecation
  • Experiencing Tremors
  • Nervousness
  • Light menstrual periods
  • Warmer hands and feet
  • Heat intolerance
  • Chronic fatigue
Various Causes of Thyroid Problems in Women
There are different reasons for the occurrence of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. But, one of the important underlying causes in women is hormonal imbalance in the body which may take place due to various reasons.
Causes Of Hypothyroidism
Various reasons and conditions are responsible for the decreased thyroxine levels in the body.

► Absence of Thyroid Gland
If the thyroid gland is removed from the body, it is obvious that there will be no production of thyroxine, which certainly leads to hypothyroidism.

► Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
This is an autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the thyroid tissues and damages or kills them. This results in low or no production of thyroxine.

► Excessive Iodine
Exposing the body to too much iodine can result in hypothyroidism. Cold and sinus medicines and some of the heart drugs contain iodine, therefore, regular or unprescribed overconsumption of these drugs can affect the thyroid system.

Apart from this, lithium drug is also known to cause hypothyroidism.
Causes of Hyperthyroidism
Though the number of patients with hyperthyroidism are low, there are many conditions that can lead to this disorder.

► Graves' Disease
Graves' disease is one of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism in women. This again is an autoimmune disorder in which the thyroid gets enlarged and leads to greater production of thyroxine.

► Inflammation of Thyroid
There are various types of thyroid infections that may lead to the inflammation of the gland. But, this type of hyperthyroidism generally lasts for a few weeks, and the gland functions well once the inflammation is reduced.

► Thyroid Nodules
Thyroid nodules are like non-cancerous lumps that develop in the thyroid gland, and the condition is known as toxic nodular goiter. These nodules produce excessive amount of thyroxine hormones that are hazardous for the body.
Apart from this, patients who take excessive doses of thyroid hormone in the form of medication are also vulnerable to hyperthyroidism.

The treatment for thyroid problems depends on the severity, stage, and type of the thyroid problem that the patient is affected with. But, the aim of the treatment is always to stabilize and balance the thyroxine levels in the body. It is advisable to consult the doctors if you observe or experience any of the aforementioned symptoms so that you get the medical attention as soon as possible. This can save you from further complications.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.