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The Similarities Between Low Thyroid and Menopause

Updated: Apr 23, 2023

A woman lies on her bed exhausted by her thyroid symptoms
Extreme fatigue can be a symptom of both thyroid disease and menopause.

Is it Low Thyroid or Menopause?

Low thyroid and menopause symptoms are very similar and are often confused for each other.

When you hear the word “menopause,” what do you think of? Maybe you think of hot flashes and mood swings amongst other physical and emotional changes that usually come with menopause.

One thing’s for sure, though. You probably don’t think of your thyroid.

Not only are thyroid disease symptoms and menopause symptoms very similar, but it turns out your thyroid plays a significant part when it comes to menopause!

Studies have found that issues with your thyroid can affect symptoms of menopause.

So, how do you know if it’s your thyroid, menopause, or both?

Before we discuss this, let’s talk about the issues that can occur with menopause and your thyroid in general.

What to Expect During Menopause

Put simply, menopause is the stage in a woman's life where her female reproduction begins to fade, and every woman experiences this differently.

“The menopausal transition affects each woman uniquely and in various ways.”

Symptoms can include:

  • Irregular periods

  • Mood changes

  • Sleep problems

  • Slowed metabolism

Many don’t realize, though, that your journey through menopause comes in different stages. Let’s break down these stages.

1. Pre-menopause

Pre-menopause means you’re not displaying any signs of menopause or perimenopause. It’s the time between your very first period and the beginning of perimenopause. In other words, if you have a regular menstrual cycle, you’re in pre-menopause.

2. Perimenopause

Perimenopause is when you start to experience the symptoms of menopause, yet this occurs way before you hit menopause (the phase in life where your cycle stops completely). Perimenopause can happen in your mid-30s and usually begins ten years before menopause starts.

3. Menopause

Menopause refers to when your menstrual cycle stops altogether.

5 Similarities Between Menopause and Low Thyroid

1. Hormone Changes

One of the most obvious reasons for both perimenopause and thyroid issues is a change in hormones. As you will see, all the symptoms and similarities to follow happen because of hormone changes. What a big impact hormones play!

2. Sleep Disturbance

Whether it be due to hot flashes, depression, or something else, sleep disruption is a common problem for those with hyperthyroidism and those beginning their perimenopause stage.

3. Depression Onset

Due to fluctuating hormones that cause physical and emotional changes, depression is a common symptom for both those battling thyroid issues and women in perimenopause. Depression can also occur when you feel like you don’t have the drive or energy you once did or you experience weight gain that is difficult to control.

4. Menstrual Cycle Changes

This may not surprise you when it comes to those facing perimenopause, but changes to menstrual cycles can also affect those dealing with hyperthyroidism.

5. Weight Gain

Yet again, we see what big roles hormones play, both in perimenopause and in thyroid problems. Weight gain can affect those dealing with either. In fact, it’s a big symptom when it comes to Hashimoto’s disease.

Hashimoto’s Effect on Woman Over 30

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune disease in which your body makes antibodies that attack the cells in your thyroid. This hereditary disease can run in families, but no single gene carries this disease. It can also affect a woman during pregnancy. Most cases start between the ages of 30 and 50.

Interestingly enough, John Hopkins Medicine states that: “Women are about seven times more likely to have the disease.”

When you do the research, you’ll see that the majority of thyroid issues affect women rather than men. Why is that?

Why Women Are 10x More Likely to Develop Thyroid Disorders

“Hypothyroidism and thyroid nodules frequently occur in both pre and postmenopausal women,” says The National Library of Medicine. Research shows that estrogen regulates the maturation of lymphocytes and the induction of the autoimmune response.

Simply put, the hormones that regulate certain immune cells that affect autoimmune diseases, such as thyroid disorders, are the same hormones that lead to menopause.

So when your estrogen isn’t regulating properly, thyroid problems can occur, which is even more common in both premenopausal and postmenopausal ladies.

We’ve discussed the effects of thyroid problems when going through menopause, but what about vice versa?

How Does Menopause Effect Low Thyroid?

Thyroid problems are notably more common in women closer to menopause.

Some have thought it might be because of the relationship between thyroid function and estrogen. As we discussed prior, estrogen has a direct effect on your thyroid health. When menopause begins, estrogen levels can significantly fall, affecting thyroid levels and your health.

Risks and Concerns

When you experience menopause with a mixture of thyroid problems, complications can arise. For example, diseases and conditions that are more common with menopause can be even riskier when you’re also experiencing thyroid issues.

Take, for instance, osteoporosis - a condition where bone density is reduced, commonly experienced by those going through menopause. Some forms of thyroid disease increase the risk of osteoporosis. A double whammy.

Yet, there are ways to decrease the risk of complications, even if you are experiencing menopause and have issues with your thyroid.

How to Minimize the Effects of Low Thyroid AND Menopause

Noticeable differences start with your attitude. Don’t underestimate the power of practical steps!

1. Choice of Food

The food you choose to consume plays such a big part in your thyroid health. This doesn’t mean entirely cutting out dessert or only eating vegetables. It means finding the balance! You’ll see that balance is necessary with every choice you make. We know how hard food planning can be, and that’s why we offer our Custom Macros Service, which can help with making a food plan that works!

2. Exercise

Did you know - you can exercise and enjoy it? It’s true! Make exercise enjoyable by doing things you want! If you go for a walk, play your favorite tunes! If you choose to do a gym day, treat yourself to a healthy snack!

Yes, there are many ways to make exercising enjoyable and see results without going to extremes

3. Acknowledge the Growth

It’s important for you to appreciate the process. When you do this, you benefit yourself and the journey you’re on!

Never ignore all the progress you’ve made and are making.

Sure, at times, the progress you make might look small or insignificant, but redwood isn’t that tall from day one. It takes time, so take it!

Improve Thyroid Health Today!

It’s hard to know what you can do to feel better when there’s so much on your plate! Here at TeamArodFitness, we know how overwhelming it can be when you don’t know what the next step to feeling better is. Don’t let menopause, thyroid issues, or a mixture of both make you feel discouraged!

We know how unique each individual is and why it’s so important to choose a plan that fits your lifestyle! Our Custom Strength Programs and Macro Services focus on making you an individualized plan that works! With just a few simple lifestyle choices and a team that cares for you, you’ll soon be able to see the benefits and progress.

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