Over the past years, cases of hypothyroidism in women have risen in large numbers as compared to those in men and children added together. This is a clear signal that women are more prone to this disease than men and children. Armand Krikorian, from the University Hospitals Case Medical Centre located in Cleveland, who acts as the associate director In the field of endocrinology gives the main reason for this;
women are highly susceptible to autoimmune disorders such as atrophic thyroiditis and Hashimoto`s thyroiditis.
Here is a closer look at how this disease affects women.
Causes of hypothyroidism in women
Surgical Removal of Thyroid Gland & Hormone – Sometimes this happens in order to fight hyperthyroidism or tumors that develop in thyroid gland. However, removal of the gland leads to development of hypothyroidism.
Autoimmune Disorders – These diseases produce antibodies which in turn attack the thyroid gland.
Radio Therapy – Women subjected to radiation treatment due to other diseases such as cancer around the neck or head regions have high chances of having their thyroid glands destroyed. Once destroyed, the glands cannot produce sufficient thyroid hormone for active metabolism. The end result is hypothyroidism.
High Or Low Iodine in Diet – Women who lack enough iodine or consume excess iodine in their diets are likely to get this disease. This is because iodine is needed by thyroid gland to manufacture T3 and t4. When iodine levels are too little, the disease occurs and when the levels are too high, thyroid becomes inactive.
What are the Symptoms?
The symptoms of hypothyroidism in women aren’t easy to detect during the early stages of development of the disease. However, as the disease prevails, its symptoms becomes more clear such as:
- Increase in weight/obesity
- Joint pains
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Brittle nails and hair
When the patient, in this case the woman, fails to be treated for a long time, she experiences drastic symptoms such as:
- Decreased taste and smell
- Slow speech
- Memory loss
- Myxedema coma
- Thickened skin
Diagnosis of the Disease
When it comes to diagnosis of this disease, doctors usually revisit the patient’s genetic lineage to see if there exists autoimmune disorders along the line. This is because the disease is genetic in nature.
Likewise, the medical practitioners can also look at the patient`s medical history. This might help them discover whether the patient have undergone surgical removal of thyroid glands or radiotherapy which are the major causes of the disease.
In addition to the above, a doctor can diagnose the patient by looking at her medication past. This is because some drugs can cause hypothyroidism condition. Such drugs include amiodarone and lithium.
Simple blood tests might also be conducted to establish the existent of the disease.
The most common and safe treatment for hypothyroidism in women is replacement of thyroxine with levothyroxine hormones. This is geared to restoring the metabolic rate of the patient to normal. But since the rate cannot be raised abruptly to avoid more complications, the dosage takes time to be completed, sometime it takes a lifetime.
When one is under this medication, she should avoid diets which do away with the absorption process of levothyroxine. These include diets rich in fiber and soy, iron and calcium supplements, cholestyramine etc.