Having a thyroid issue in menopause and all the physical
changes and symptoms that go with the change, is a life altering experience. While
frustrating symptoms from weight gain to fatigue to poor concentration are common
with both issues, other, more mysterious symptoms like hair loss and dry skin also
Trying to isolate the underlying cause of your symptoms can be overwhelming. But
it’s worth your attention because if left unaddressed, thyroid imbalances can get
even worse — eventually leading to full-blown hypothyroidism and lifelong medication.
Thyroid issues are extremely common in menopause
When your body naturally produces fewer reproductive hormones, your thyroid hormones
— as well as your adrenal function
— can be affected too. In fact, both reproductive and thyroid hormones are actually
regulated by the same control center in the brain and so each can affect the other.
Low estrogen, for example, can inhibit active thyroid hormones (T3 and T4), which
slows your thyroid function — and causes difficult symptoms.
3 questions to ask yourself to uncover thyroid issues in menopause
Right this minute, millions of women are suffering from undiagnosed, or
subclinical, thyroid issues with six times as many women as men affected
by sluggish or low thyroid function. Here’s what to ask yourself — and what to do
— to help uncover a thyroid issue you may have:
When women identify unusual weight gain as a severe problem when taking our thyroid
profile, 6 out of 10 of them also suffer from temperature sensitivity — a telltale
Try our Thyroid Health Profile.
1. Do your symptoms overlap? Look for patterns and
telltale signs. Weird weight gain? Fatigue? Low sex drive? It’s hard to know what’s
going on when so many thyroid
symptoms are similar to those in menopause. This overlap occurs because
your thyroid and reproductive hormones axes are so interconnected.
When trying to pinpoint the cause of symptoms, women should consider whether they’re
having any telltale symptoms of low thyroid issues: feeling cold all of the time,
thinning hair or hair loss, yellowing of the hands, or dry, flaky skin. Often women
who suffer from one common symptom are also experiencing 3-4 lesser-known symptoms
that also signal a sluggish thyroid, or a more severe issue like hypothyroidism.
2. Is your thyroid test really “normal”? Ask for
your specific numbers. For many women with thyroid symptoms, a thyroid-stimulating
hormone (TSH) test is the first step. A TSH
test measures how much thyroid stimulating hormone your brain is releasing
to stimulate thyroid hormone production. If levels of thyroid stimulating hormone
are high, it generally indicates your thyroid is not producing enough active thyroid
hormone, which leads to uncomfortable symptoms. Unfortunately, you may be told your
numbers are “normal” even as your symptoms are getting progressively worse.
Many women with mild and moderate symptoms may have subclinical hypothyroidism —
commonly called “low thyroid.” So even when you are actively experiencing symptoms,
your test results may appear in the “normal” range, or be right on the border, according
to conventional practitioners that is. For example while the “normal range” for
labs that test TSH may be as high as 4.0mlU/L, we generally like to see TSH blood
level tests come closer to 2.0 mlU/L.
Look for changes that take place over time, as well as patterns and trends. This
is especially important during menopause, when even small adjustments can make a
significant difference in relieving frustrating symptoms.
We suggest taking thyroid supportive steps if your levels are above 2.0 mlU/L, if
your TSH levels have been gradually rising over the years, or if you are having
symptoms. This way you have an opportunity to rebalance your thyroid without medication.
3. Did you know a sluggish thyroid can sneak up on you?
Act now before it’s too late. Thyroid issues are “sneaky” even if you’ve been taking
good care of yourself. In fact, you may have lived your entire life without realizing
you were vulnerable to thyroid imbalance, until the extra stresses of
hormonal imbalance in menopause expose a low thyroid issue. This can be
especially scary for women who have been working to stay healthy and don’t want
a lifetime of medication. The good news is that there are many natural options to
support your thyroid function, especially if you get started sooner rather than
Key thyroid-supporting herbs and nutrients
- Bacopa monnieri
- Coleus forskohlii
Our approach to thyroid health can help you feel like yourself again and it includes
many of the above and more! Learn more.
Iodine is the central ingredient in T3 and T4. Selenium is also needed for the conversion
of T4 to T3, the thyroid hormone your cells recognize the best. If you are deficient
in selenium, using a supplement like
T-Balance Plus can make a noticeable difference.
Vitamin A, EPA and DHA essential fatty acids, and zinc, for example, act to improve
T3 binding in your cells.
The best way to support your thyroid — and your whole endocrine system — is to start
early. This is especially important during menopause, when even small adjustments
can make a significant difference in relieving frustrating symptoms.