Hyperthyroidism Symptoms in Females

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms in Females: Hyperthyroidism disorder is a disease of the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland is placed in front of the neck; it is a butterfly-shaped small gland that produces two major hormones: tetraiodothyronine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), which regulate our cell energy consumption. The thyroid gland regulates our metabolism by releasing these two hormones.

When the thyroid gland produces too much tetraiodothyronine, triiodothyronine, or both the condition is called hyperthyroidism. Hyperthyroidism diagnosis and treatment of the causes behind it can alleviate symptoms and prevent complications.

As many as 5 percent of the population suffers from hypothyroidism and it is estimated that 5 percent are undiagnosed [1]. Hypothyroidism in women is 10 times more common than in men. 

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms in Females

Diagnoses of hyperthyroidism can be difficult as it can mimic other health problems. Hyperthyroidism symptoms develop gradually usually taking several years. The first signs of hyperthyroidism may sluggishness and tiredness. The patient may later develop slow-down of metabolism and other signs and symptoms which include: 

  • Weight loss, unintentionally even if your appetite and diet are maintained or increased
  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Cold feeling than other people 
  • Fast heartbeat (tachycardia). More than 100 heartbeats/minute
  • Arrhythmia (heartbeats irregularly)
  • Palpitations (rapid, strong, or irregular heartbeat) 
  • Appetite increases
  • Menstrual changes
  • Trembling – usually slight trembling in the hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Constipation
  • Heat sensitivity increases 
  • Bowl pattern changes, particularly bowel movements more frequent 
  • Weakness in muscles and fatigue
  • Pain in muscles and joints 
  • Thyroid enlargement (Goiter). The thyroid gland may appear swelling at the base of the neck. 
  • Sleep problems
  • Thinning of skin 
  • Brittle and fine hair

Also, the patient may have a high LDL (low-density lipoprotein) level, which can raise heart disease risk. [2] 

Signs and symptoms or subtle ones are less likely or either have no in older adults like the tendency of becoming tired during ordinary activities, intolerance to heat and increase in heart rate. 

What is the Main Cause of Hyperthyroidism?

There are several causes of hyperthyroidism including

  • Graves’ disease
  • Overactive thyroid nodules
  • Thyroiditis
  • Excess iodine 
  • A large amount of thyroid medicine
  • Noncancerous tumor of the pituitary gland

Also Read: Psoriatic Arthritis and Fatty Liver Disease

Grave’s Disease

Grave’s disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid and causes it to produce a high amount of thyroid hormone. As compare to men Grave’s disease is more common in women.

The disease tends to run in families, indicating a genetic link. If your relatives have this condition, you should inform your doctor.

Overactive Thyroid Lumps or Nodules 

In the thyroid, one or more lumps or nodules grow due to which production of thyroid hormone increases. Overactive nodules or lumps are most common in older adults.

Thyroiditis (Thyroid Gland Inflammation) 

Some thyroiditis types can cause leakage of thyroid hormones from the thyroid gland into the bloodstream; consequently, you may experience symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Thyroiditis types that can cause hyperthyroidism are:

  • Subacute: This involves an enlarged, inflamed, and painful thyroid gland. 
  • Postpartum: This type can develop after a woman gives birth. 
  • Painless thyroiditis: It is similar to postpartum thyroiditis, but occurs without pregnancy. The thyroid gland may be enlarged. Experts believe that painless thyroiditis can be an autoimmune disease. 

High Amount of Iodine

For making thyroid hormones thyroid gland uses iodine. The amount of thyroid hormone produced is affected by the amount of iodine you consume. Consuming too much iodine can cause the thyroid gland to produce too many thyroid hormones in some people. 

Certain medicines and cough syrups, including some heart medicines, can be high in iodine. There is also a high amount of iodine in seaweed-based supplements. 

Too Many Drugs for Thyroid Hormone

Some people take drugs for hyperthyroidism which may be too much. If you are taking drugs for thyroid hormone you should check thyroid hormone levels at least once a year. If your doctor thinks that your thyroid hormone levels are too high, you may need to change your dose.

In case you are taking medicines for thyroid hormone and start taking a new medicine ask your doctor regarding interactions of the medicine as certain medicines can interact with thyroid medicines. 

Non-Cancerous Tumor

Rarely, in some cases, a noncancerous tumor of the pituitary gland, present at the brain base may cause hyperthyroidism. [3]

How Hyperthyroidism is diagnosed?

Physical examination is conducted and medical history is taken by a doctor to diagnose hyperthyroidism. Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism cannot be based only on symptoms because several symptoms of it are similar to other diseases.   

That is the reason thyroid blood tests and imaging tests are used by doctors to diagnose hyperthyroidism and to find its cause.   

Physical examination for hyperthyroidism reveals common signs: 

  • Weight loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Protruding eyes 
  • Fast pulse
  • Enlargement of the thyroid gland

Other tests to evaluate further diagnosis are: 

  • Triglyceride test
  • Cholesterol test
  • T4, T3
  • Thyroid scan and uptake
  • Ultrasound
  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone level test
  • MRI or CT scans

How Hyperthyroidism is Treated? 

There are several hyperthyroidism treatments. The best course depends on the patient’s age, physical condition, the cause behind hyperthyroidism, and the severity of the disorder. Possible treatments are:

Radioactive iodine: It is absorbed by the thyroid gland and is taken by mouth. It causes the thyroid gland to shrink. Usually, within several months symptoms subsided.   

Anti-thyroid drugs: Including methimazole (Tapazole) and propylthiouracil. These drugs prevent the thyroid gland from producing too many hormones. Symptoms begin to improve usually within a few weeks to months, however antithyroid drugs treatment usually lasts at least a year, and often longer.

Surgery: If you are pregnant or intolerant of thyroid medication and do not want or cannot receive radioactive iodine therapy, you may be a patient for thyroid surgery, although this option is only for some cases. 

In hyroidectomy, your doctor will remove all or of your thyroid gland or part of it. The risk of this surgery involves damage to the vocal cords and parathyroid glands

Conclusion

When the thyroid gland produces a larger amount of thyroxin hormone, the condition occurred due to this is called hypothyroidism. An overactive thyroid gland can speed up the metabolism of the body, which causes unwanted weight loss and a fast or irregular heartbeat.

There are several ways to treat hyperthyroidism. Doctors use anti-thyroid drugs and radioactive iodine to slow down thyroid hormones production. In certain conditions treatment of hypothyroidism involves surgery to remove all thyroid glands or part of it.  

Hyperthyroidism treatment is necessary to prevent thyroid storm (thyrotoxic crisis) thyrotoxicosis and other complications. 

Although if ignored it can become a serious problem, most people respond well when thyroid hyperthyroidism is diagnosed and treated.

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