What Is Thyroid Disease
Thyroid disease is an umbrella term that covers two distinct conditions: hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
If you have hypothyroidism, it means you have an underactive thyroid gland that isnt producing enough hormones. If you have hyperthyroidism, you have an overactive thyroid that produces too much of certain hormones.
Other thyroid conditions include:
- Goiter, which is enlargement of your thyroid gland caused by iodine deficiency
- Thyroid nodules, which are painful lumps in your thyroid gland
- Thyroiditis, or swelling of your thyroid gland
Although there are several types of thyroid disease, hypothyroidism is the one associated with menopause-like symptoms.
Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Hormonal Weight Gain
Seeking early evaluation with an endocrinologist so the appropriate interventions can be started sooner will help with minimizing and possibly reversing hormonal weight gain. Additionally, improving dietary choices, increasing physical activity, getting more sleep, managing stress levels effectively, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol are all ways to decrease and avoid hormonal weight gain.
When To Consult A Doctor
Millions of women suffer from both hypothyroidism and menopause symptoms. The more you know about your situation, the better. Consult your physician if youâre experiencing any of the symptoms of hypothyroidism and/or menopause.
Make sure to tell your doctor any symptoms you have been experiencing, particularly moodiness, weight changes, hot flashes, irregular menstrual cycle, and fatigue. Inform your doctor of any family history of thyroid-related disorders.
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How Thyroid Weight Gain Impacts Perimenopause
Thyroid function and body composition are closely related. How? Thats because thyroid hormones regulate basal metabolism, thermogenesis, and they also play an important role in lipid and glucose metabolism, food intake and fat oxidation. Thyroid dysfunction is strongly related to changes in body weight independent of physical activity. A growing body of evidence confirms that hypothyroidism is linked with decreased thermogenesis, higher BMI, and decreased metabolic rate. Whats more, even mild dysfunction in thyroid causes significant changes in body weight and metabolism.
*All individuals are unique. Your results can and will vary.
As you can see, problems with thyroid include can induce weight gain. At the same time, perimenopause can also lead to weight gain meaning these two factors overlap to a great extent. Thats why thyroid problems can worsen perimenopause symptoms and make them more frustrating for you.
If the thyroid is out of control, then all your effort to manage perimenopause symptoms will not prove to be as effective as youd like it to be. Again, this leads us to the fact that sometimes perimenopause and thyroid problems overlap and symptoms you experience may not be the result of perimenopause only, but problems with the butterfly-shaped gland. Thats why you should consult your doctor about symptoms you experience.
How Your Doctor Can Tell If You Actually Have A Thyroid Problem
Thyroid disorders are more common among women. Women with a family history of thyroid problems or autoimmune issues are at higher risk, says Dr. Kellis. And as we get older, those risks increase.
Thyroid disorders are often diagnosed around the time of menopause, or between the ages of 45 and 55, says Dr. Kellis. Many women pass off their thyroid issues for menopause because the symptoms are similar and it seems like theyre at the right age.
The good news: A simple blood test can help rule out a thyroid disorder. If the test doesnt find irregular thyroid hormone levels, then menopause is probably your answer and youll need to work with your doctor to manage it.
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Details About The Hormones Of Weight Gain
Estrogen: Estrogen is one of the two female sex hormones and is responsible for the beginning of puberty, the menstrual cycle, and when it drops, perimenopause.
Symptoms of low estrogen & progesterone
Insomnia and night sweats
Dry and sagging skin
At appropriate levels, estrogen can strongly regulate and reduce food intake which translates to weight. Too little or too much estrogen and weight gain often result. Replacing the decreased estrogen in a menopausal woman can likely reverse excess food intake.1
Estrogen and progesterone are called sex steroid hormones, and are involved in the metabolism, as well as the accumulation and distribution of fat.1 Estrogen regulates feelings of hunger, keeping the pace of the metabolic rate, and the accumulation and distribution of fat.1,17-25
The Stress Hormone Cortisol & Belly fat: Cortisol is known as the stress hormone. At too high of levels, it also causes belly fat or visceral fat deposits.10 Some people call it the fight or flight hormone. When the mind perceives stress, cortisol is released into the bloodstream. If too much cortisol is released, it can lead to overeating and weight gain, especially in the midsection.6
Cortisol has a direct interplay with other hormones related to weight, sleep, and feelings of mood. While some of the weight gains might be due to stress eating, cortisol will cause weight gain if too high. High cortisol is also linked to depression, food addiction, and sugar cravings.14
Thyroid And Weight Gain: Setting The Record Straight
Though it weighs less than an ounce, your thyroid gland punches way above its weight, making hormones that help control many key bodily functions.
“The thyroid has its hand in a whole lot of different systems,” said Dr. Tracie Farmer, an endocrinologist at Novant Health Forsyth Endocrine Consultants in Winston-Salem. “Its more of a supporting member of the cast in everything that it does, but its necessary for everything that it does.”
Located in your neck, just in front of your trachea, this butterfly-shaped gland helps regulate your heart rate and metabolism, your brain function, how strong your muscles and bones are, and even whether your skin is oily or dry. While the American Thyroid Association estimates that 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, many have no idea until a blood test, unrelated imaging or suspicious bump tips them off.
Farmer answers 10 common questions about this powerhouse of the human endocrine system:
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Can Thyroid Hormone Be Used To Help Me Lose Weight
Thyroid hormones have been used as a weight loss tool in the past. Starting or increasing thyroid hormone to cause thyroid hormone levels to be elevated is unlikely to dramatically change weight. Studies have shown that excess thyroid hormone treatment can help produce more weight loss than can be achieved by dieting alone, but includes the risk of major negative consequences from the use of thyroid hormone to help with weight loss, such as the loss of muscle protein, loss of bone, and/or heart problems. Furthermore, once the excess thyroid hormone is stopped, any weight loss is usually regained.
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Relationship Between Menopause And Thyroid Conditions
Some women take hormone replacement therapy to help reduce the symptoms associated with perimenopause.
Most women do not have any issue with their thyroid after starting HRT. However, some women who are already taking medication for an underactive thyroid may find that they need to adjust the dose of their thyroid medication.
It is important to have thyroid hormone levels rechecked from time to time, especially if a woman is experiencing any of the symptoms associated with an underactive thyroid or menopause.
Adrenal Reset Diet: Action Steps
This is done not so much by cutting things or avoiding foods altogether. Instead, what I wanted to focus on was putting the focus on the idea of rhythm and timing for your bodys needs.
It focuses on whole, natural, and simple foods, but always getting a nice mixture of good:
If you do the timing right, your carb intake will be lowest in the morning, and highest as the day progresses. That is done because carbohydrates naturally lower cortisol. In the morning, you do not need it, but later in the day, you do.
Key Insight: Carbohydrates can play a strategic role in your weight loss, and can do a lot of work to ensure that your cortisol slope is in good shape.
If you have carbohydrates, you can let your cortisol levels go lower. The strategy is to tailor your diet of carbs in order to get your cortisol levels to the right levels, at the appropriate times .
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How Does The Pituitary Determine That
Its job is to monitor your thyroid hormone levels. When the pituitary senses levels are dropping, it produces TSH , which signals your thyroid to step up production. If it senses hormone levels are too high, it signals the thyroid to slow down.
Routine blood tests reveal how much of these hormones your body is making. It seems backwards to some patients, but low TSH is a sign of an overactive thyroid and high TSH, an underactive one .
What Is The Relationship Between Hypothyroidism And Weight Gain
Since the BMR in the patient with hypothyroidism is decreased, an underactive thyroid is generally associated with some weight gain. The weight gain is often greater in those individuals with more severe hypothyroidism. However, the decrease in BMR due to hypothyroidism is usually much less dramatic than the marked increase seen in hyperthyroidism, leading to more modest alterations in weight due to the underactive thyroid. The cause of the weight gain in hypothyroid individuals is also complex, and may not be related to excess fat accumulation. Most of the extra weight gained in hypothyroid individuals is due to excess accumulation of salt and water. Massive weight gain is rarely associated with hypothyroidism. In general, 5-10 pounds of body weight may be attributable to the thyroid, depending on the severity of the hypothyroidism. Finally, if weight gain is the only symptom of hypothyroidism that is present, it is less likely that the weight gain is solely due to the thyroid.
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Mean Weight And Bmi Changes
The mean changes in weight and BMI for the primary clinical groups are shown in Table 2A, those for the comparison groups are shown in Table 2B, and those for the primary clinical groups combined and divided into gender groups are shown in Table 2C. The weight gain of the thyroidectomy group was significantly greater than the weight gain of the preexisting hypothyroidism group . The patients in the thyroidectomy group also had a significantly greater increase in BMI than patients in the group with preexisting hypothyroidism . There was no correlation between the age of patients and their weight change in either the thyroidectomized group or the hypothyroid group . Age and BMI changes were also not correlated . Weight changes were not predicted by the achievement of different serum TSH concentrations in these groups . Although the LT4 dose was significantly higher in the thyroidectomized group than the hypothyroid group, the LT4 dose was not a statistically significant predictor of weight change.
Take Your Medications Regularly
Hypothyroidism management revolves around the regular intake of medications prescribed by your doctor. It is of huge importance to see your doctor regularly. Dosages of these medications are adapted to the patients condition and severity of the disorder and chances are high your doctor may alter the daily dose on several occasions. Normalizing thyroid hormone levels will improve your metabolism and allow you to lose weight more successful. One thing you should never do is to change medication dosages on your own or simply stop taking them because you dont think you need them.
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How Perimenopause Affects The Thyroid
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland situated at the base of your neck. The gland is about two inches long and lies in front of your throat and it belongs to the endocrine system. The primary purpose of this gland is to release hormones that regulate a persons metabolism. Hormones produced by the thyroid also take part in breathing, body weight, heart rate, muscle strength, cholesterol levels, and many other processes. Proper functioning of the gland is crucial for your health and wellbeing. That being said, millions of people experience thyroid-related disorders and women are more prone to them than men.
Despite wide prevalence of thyroid disorders, their impact on perimenopause and menopause isnt overly discussed. This isnt practical because many women experience these problems and they dont know how to find a solution because info on this subject is unreliable or nonexistent. So, is there any connection between the function of thyroid and perimenopause?
Perimenopause affects the way your thyroid works due to the hormonal imbalance. Both estrogen and progesterone levels drop in perimenopause, but production of the latter decreases more rapidly. This leads to estrogen dominance, a condition wherein a woman can have deficient, excessive, or normal estrogen and little or no progesterone to balance its effects in your body.
What Causes Hypothyroidism
As mentioned above, hypothyroidism occurs when the gland doesnt produce enough hormones. The condition has several causes including the following:
- Hashimotos disease An autoimmune condition and the most common cause of hypothyroidism. In this disease, the immune system attacks a persons thyroid, causes inflammation, and hinders hormone production
- Thyroiditis An inflammation of thyroid that causes stored hormone to leak out of the gland. At first, this leads to excessively high concentration of thyroid hormones , but within a few months the gland becomes underactive.
- Surgical removal of a part or whole thyroid A surgeon may remove a portion or entire thyroid gland due to thyroid cancer, a large goiter, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid nodules.
- Radiation treatment of the thyroid A common treatment for hyperthyroidism, radioactive iodine, gradually destroys thyroid cells.
- Medications Medications that contribute to hypothyroidism include amiodarone , interferon alpha , lithium
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Thyroid And Weight Gain
The thyroid gland’s role in the body is very similar to cruise control in the car. Cruise control keeps a car running at a constant steady speed. The thyroid gland’s role in the body is very similar to cruise control in the car. The thyroid hormone can be called the cruise control for the body. Cruise control keeps a car running at a constant steady speed. When we do not want to worry about having to keep a steady foot on the accelerator we turn on cruise control and the car maintains a normal speed without any effort. Thyroid hormone keeps the rest of the body working at the right speed. If thyroid hormone levels decrease, cells throughout the rest of the body decrease in activity. As a result the cells need less energy and thus more energy is available to be stored and the weight increases even though the appetite decreases. Less heat is produced, the person becomes cold, and the sweat glands do not keep the skin moist anymore. The brain just wants to sleep all the time. The heart beats slower. The bowels become sluggish. Everything slows up.
Article Content 17 Mins Read
- Menopause Weight Gain
- Why is it so Critical to Prevent Weight Gain at Menopause?
- Ways to Prevent & Reverse Menopause Weight Gain
- Why Take Hormone Replacement Therapy
- Details About The Hormones of Weight Gain
Understanding the link between menopause and weight gain can be elusive, but we can provide you with some important answers. Most women in perimenopause and menopause are struggling with their weight on some level. Too much weight, weight in the wrong places, and/or you cant seem to exercise enough to keep it off. Even worse, the diets and exercises that once worked, or the new ones that claim to be the panacea are often harsh and can escalate hormonal imbalances.1-4
Hormones have many jobs. With regards to your weight, hormones control your metabolism, where the fat is deposited, and your weight balance. The most effective way to get hormones back on track, halt the ever-present scale creep, and return to a healthy weight is to correct hormonal imbalances with Hormone Replacement Therapy . Once hormones are back in balance, weight maintenance and weight loss can begin.
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Symptoms Of Underactive Thyroid
An underactive thyroid gland doesnt produce enough thyroid hormones, which are important to many bodily functions, including the regulation of your metabolism. Without enough thyroid hormones, you may experience weight gain, fatigue, constipation, and dry skin, to name a few.
The list of symptoms goes on:
- Sensitivity to cold temperatures
- Swelling or stiffness in joints
- Irregular menstrual cycles
- Hair loss or thinning hair
- High blood cholesterol
- Depression or other mood issues
Individual Weight And Bmi Changes For The Gender Groups
The primary clinical groups were combined together as one group and then instead divided by gender. Waterfall charts for the gender groups are shown in Figure 2. A different pattern of change was seen in the premenopausal and male groups compared with the menopausal group, with a greater proportion of the former groups achieving some weight loss. Sixteen premenopausal patients lost weight, 7 premenopausal patients maintained their weight, whereas 97 gained weight. Within the menopausal group, 7 patients lost weight, 5 patients maintained their weight, whereas the remaining 108 patients gained weight. Among the male group, 9 patients lost weight, 5 patients maintained their weight, and 106 patients gained weight.
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Thyroid Function And Women
Thyroid disease affects over 12 percent of the U.S. population. Over half of people do not know they have a thyroid condition. Women experience thyroid conditions several times more than do men, with one female in eight being affected. Incidence increases beginning at 35 years, with prevalence growing to 20% among women over 65.
The thyroid is located at the front of the neck with its butterfly shape wrapping around your windpipe . It secretes hormones that manage many critical body functions, including heart rate, temperature, metabolism, menstrual cycles, and more. The two main hormones produced by the thyroid are commonly known as T3 and T4. TSH is the thyroid stimulating hormone produced in the pituitary gland it regulates our body’s T3 and T4 levels. When our T3 and T4 hormones are too high or low, they can create symptoms that mimic perimenopause, affecting our sensations of heat or cold, weight gain, or loss, mood, and digestion. There are many triggers for thyroid disease, among them nutrient deficiencies, fluoride and heavy metal toxicity, a major illness or virus, pregnancy and childbirth, and stress.
Our thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck. If the front of your neck looks swollen, you may have an enlarged thyroid, also called a goiter.