What Causes Thyroid Imbalance?
Medikoe Health Expert
Koramangala, bengaluru, karnataka, india, Bengaluru Apr 16, 2019
The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck that produces thyroid hormones. This controls metabolism in your body including how fast your heart beats and how fast you burn your calories. Depending on how little or how much hormone your thyroid gland makes, you may often feel anxious or tired or lose or gain weight. Women are more likely than men to develop thyroid disease.
In women, thyroid diseases can cause:
- Problems getting pregnant
- Problems with your menstrual period
- Difficulties during pregnancy
Who Are At High Risk for Thyroid Disease?
Individuals who are at higher risk of developing thyroid disease include,
- People with a thyroid issues in the past
- People who have a condition including anemia, goiter, or type 1 diabetes
- People who had radiotherapy or surgery affecting the thyroid gland
What Kinds of Thyroid Disease Affect Women?
Women are more affected by the following thyroid disease:
- Disorders that cause hyperthyroidism
- Disorders that cause hypothyroidism
- Thyroiditis, especially postpartum thyroiditis
- Thyroid Nodules
What is Hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism, also called an overactive thyroid causes your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone than usual. This speeds up most of your body’s functions such as heart rate and metabolism. Grave’s disease (a condition of the immune system) is one of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism.
Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
The common signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Increased sweating
- Muscle weakness
- Weight loss
- Less and lighter menstrual periods than normal
- Trouble sleeping
- Eating more than usual
- Changes in the eyes that can include redness, irritation, or bulging of the eyes
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Feeling hot when other people do not
- Diarrhea or more bowel movements than normal
- Feeling irritable
- Feeling anxious or nervous
- Trembling in your fingers and hands
In most cases, hyperthyroidism increases the risk of osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a condition that weakens your bones, making them fragile that break easily. Moreover, hyperthyroidism affects your bones before showing any symptoms of the disease.
Depending upon your health condition and the cause of your hyperthyroidism, your doctor may recommend you following treatments,
- Medicine, or thyroid supplements
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid, causes your body to produce fewer thyroid hormones. This slows down most of your body's functions including heart rate and metabolism. Hashimoto’s Diseases is one of the most common causes of hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid.
Hypothyroidism can also be caused by:
- Thyroid removal
- Hyperthyroidism treatment
- Radiation treatment of certain cancers
Signs and Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
The symptoms of hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid develop slowly. The following are the signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Pale, dry skin
- Less sweating than usual
- Feeling cold when other people do not
- A loud voice
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle or joint pain
- Slow heart rate
- Weight gain
- A puffy face
- Feeling depressed or sad
- More than usual menstrual bleeding
- Feeling very tired
- Dry, thin hair
Hypothyroidism can be treated easily with the help of medicine (human-made form of the hormones) that supports your body to create the required amount of thyroid hormones.
What is Thyroiditis?
Thyroiditis is an inflammation or swelling of the thyroid gland and can lead to under- or over-production of thyroid hormone. The leading causes of Thyroiditis include:
- Certain types of medicines
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes
- Bacterial or viral infection
What is Postpartum Thyroiditis?
Postpartum Thyroiditis is an uncommon condition in which the thyroid gland becomes inflamed after giving birth. It affects almost 10 percent of women and often lasts several weeks to months.
Who Is At High Risk of Postpartum Thyroiditis?
Your risk of developing postpartum thyroiditis is higher if:
- You have an autoimmune disease including type 1 diabetes
- You had postpartum thyroiditis after a previous pregnancy
- You have a family history or personal history of thyroid disease
- Have chronic viral hepatitis
What Are Thyroid Nodules?
Thyroid Nodules are thick or fluid-filled lumps that form in one section of the thyroid gland. You may have one or more Thyroid Nodules.
Signs And Symptoms of Thyroid Nodules
Most thyroid doesn’t cause any signs and symptoms. Sometimes, it may grow so big that they cause problems with breathing or swallowing. About one-third of nodules are detected by the doctor, another third by the patient itself, and the other third by an imaging examination of the neck.
Thyroid Nodules Treatment
Depending upon your type of nodules, your doctor may recommend the following treatments:
What Is a Goiter?
A goiter is an abnormal enlargement of your thyroid gland. They are harmless may happen only for a short period of time. The only symptom of a goiter is swelling in your neck. Moreover, if you have a large goiter, it may cause a tight feeling in your throat, problems swallowing, coughing, or breathing.
What Are The Causes of Goiter?
The most common causes of goiter include:
- Grave’s disease
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Thyroid Nodules
- Thyroid cancer
Depending on the size and type of goiter, your doctor may recommend you some medicine or thyroid supplements to shrink to standard size or surgery to remove the parts of the thyroid.
What Is Thyroid Cancer?
Thyroid cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when there is a formation of cancerous cells from the tissues of the thyroid gland. Thyroid cancer often doesn’t cause any symptoms. However, when it grows, it may cause:
- Changes to your voice
- A lump that can be sensed through the skin along your cervix
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
- Pain in your neck and throat
- Difficulty swallowing
Thyroid Cancer Treatment
Mostly, doctors recommend surgery to remove the whole thyroid gland or as much of it as possible. Surgery alone is enough to cure thyroid cancer if it is small and has not spread to lymph nodes. Moreover, your doctors may recommend the use of radioiodine therapy after the surgery to destroy any remaining thyroid cancer cells.
How Are Thyroid Diseases Diagnosed?
Since the symptoms of thyroid disease are not visible at an early stage or are the same as many other health problems, consider telling your doctor about the history of your health or if any of your family members have a thyroid imbalance.
Depending upon your visible symptoms, your doctor may recommend the following thyroid test,
- Blood tests
- Radioactive iodine uptake test
- Thyroid scan
- Thyroid ultrasound
- Thyroid fine needle biopsy
How Does Thyroid Disease Affect Pregnancy?
The level of thyroid hormones in the blood increases with pregnancy-related hormones. Thyroid hormones play an essential role in the development of baby’s brain while in the womb. Since the change in hormone level is natural during pregnancy, therefore, it is difficult to diagnose thyroid issues when you are pregnant. Also, it is essential to have a proper thyroid test before getting pregnant. Uncontrolled hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause problems for both mother and baby.
If not treated with thyroid supplements before pregnancy, it may cause
- Problems with the baby’s brain development and growth
- Low birth weight
If not treated with the drug before pregnancy, it may cause
- Premature birth
- Thyroid storm
- Low birth weight
- Fast heart rate in the newborn baby which can lead to poor weight gain, heart failure, or an increased thyroid that can cause it hard to breathe