If you’re going through menopause, you’ve probably experienced some — if not all — of the following symptoms:
- Weight gain
Did you know these same symptoms can also be linked to hypothyroidism (a condition where your thyroid gland is underactive and doesn’t work as it should)?
At Belmar Pharmacy, we totally understand that you are feeling uncomfortable or worse, you are straight-out struggling, but this time don’t try to channel your inner Taylor Swift and “Shake It Off!” Learn what may be going on with your body so you can confidently work with your doctor to find a solution. Let’s explore the link between menopause and hypothyroidism and then what you should do if you suspect you have a thyroid condition.
What Is Menopause?
In menopause, your ovaries stop producing eggs and dramatically slow estrogen production, the main female sex hormone. Hormones are chemicals produced by glands in the endocrine system and help regulate:
- Appetite and metabolism
- Body temperature
- Growth and development
- Heart rate
- Mood and stress levels
- Reproductive cycles and sexual function
Menopause is something women typically experience in their late 40s to early 50s. Perimenopause, the stage leading up to full menopause, usually starts in a woman’s 40s but can also start as early as her 30s. This decline in hormone production, especially estrogen, not only impacts your fertility but also can have a not-so-great effect on your general health.
With an imbalance of these hormones comes the symptoms of menopause, which include
- Hot flashes
- Mood swings
You might not need treatment if your symptoms are mild or short-lived, but if you do need a solution, bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) may be effective in managing uncomfortable menopause symptoms. BHRT uses “bioidentical hormones” to supplement your body’s natural supply when you aren’t producing enough on your own. Compounding pharmacies like Belmar Pharmacy can customize bioidentical hormones for an individual patient, according to a doctor’s orders. Now, let’s take a closer look at hypothyroidism.
What Is Hypothyroidism?
First things first, do you know where your thyroid is?
It’s that butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck, and it controls how your body uses energy. Thyroid hormones regulate a wide range of bodily functions, and almost every organ in your body is affected by your thyroid.
The thyroid influences the following:
- Heart rate
Hypothyroidism, also called low or underactive thyroid, occurs when the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormones which then may cause your body’s processes to slow down. Some treatments can help correct this type of hormonal imbalance. But more on this later. First, let’s dive into how hypothyroidism is often linked to menopause.
How Are Menopause and Hypothyroidism Connected?
Menopause and hypothyroidism share a lot of the same symptoms, including:
- Changes in weight or libido
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Light or irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Sleep problems
The severity of these symptoms is likely to increase if you are going through menopause and have hypothyroidism simultaneously. Note that a thyroid disorder can increase your risk for long-term complications of menopause like osteoporosis or loss of bone density.
Another common complication of hypothyroidism is the increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that there are ways to treat the symptoms of hypothyroidism and menopause so that you can get back to feeling normal again so never lose hope!
You Don’t Have To Suffer!
What can you do if you suspect that menopause is linked to a thyroid issue? Schedule an appointment with your doctor. Remember, trying to “shake it off” won’t work. Your doctor can diagnose your symptoms properly, and if needed, will prescribe a proper treatment that can help you feel better ASAP! If it turns out to be hypothyroidism — don’t worry! There are ways to manage it, so you feel like yourself again.
Some doctors will recommend thyroid hormone replacement or supplementation. Commercial prescription hormone supplements containing standardized amounts of thyroxine (T4) or triiodothyronine (T3) can work well if your hormone levels remain stable. But you may need a customized formulation if your hormones fluctuate regularly. Compounding allows pharmacies like Belmar Pharmacy to customize dosages to fit patients’ needs.
Start a discussion with your doctor if you are concerned about any of the hypothyroidism or menopausal symptoms listed here. You and your doctor can determine if a compounded prescription is a suitable therapy for you. That way, you can kick those annoying symptoms to the curb and get back to feeling like yourself!
Angela DeRosa, DO, MBA, CPE is the founder of the Hormonal Health Institute and serves as a paid consultant to Belmar Pharmacy. However, Dr. DeRosa is not an employee of Belmar Pharmacy and nothing herein should be construed as the promotion of Belmar’s compounded products over other hormone replacement therapies. Patients interested in hormone therapy are encouraged to speak to a medical professional about their medical options and before seeking treatment. Nothing herein should be construed as making a claim about the safety or effectiveness of compounded products, which includes compounded hormone pellet therapy. All information provided herein is based on Dr. DeRosa’s own clinical experience in her capacity as a board-certified internist.