One in eight women will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime. But despite the high prevalence thyroid problems in women are often missed.
The most common thyroid disorders in women include hypothyroidism, goiter, thyroid nodules, and autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Grave’s disease, and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Major hormonal shifts at different life stages can trigger thyroid dysfunction. For example; a sub-clinical thyroid disorder can turn into a full blown thyroid problem with pregnancy. The transition into menopause is another time when the thyroid function can go haywire.
Five Reasons Why Thyroid Problems Get Missed
Here, we dive into why thyroid problems in women are not being picked up:
1. The symptoms overlap with other hormone health issues so the thyroid is not checked. In effect, the symptoms are blamed on some type of hormonal imbalance.
2. It’s wrongfully assumed hypothyroid symptoms are due to pregnancy, menopause, or the result of simply getting older.
3. There’s inadequate testing. If you don’t feel right but you can’t put your finger on why, there are simple lab tests that can tell you if it’s your thyroid.
4. Often medical practitioners do not encourage women to become active participants in their healthcare decisions so their concerns are not taken seriously.
5. Some women get tested and are prescribed thyroxine (T4) medication. But despite this treatment approach many are left feeling severely under-treated.
Seek The Help You Need
Suspect trouble with your thyroid? It’s vital you get the help you need from a healthcare practitioner who will take your concerns seriously. Together you can develop an effective personalised treatment plan.
Benvenga S, Feldt-Rasmussen U, Bonofiglio D, Asamoah E. Nutraceutical Supplements in the Thyroid Setting: Health Benefits beyond Basic Nutrition. Nutrients. 2019;11(9):2214. Published 2019 Sep 13.
Patil N, Rehman A, Jialal I. Hypothyroidism. [Updated 2020 Nov 21]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan. Link
US Department of Health and Human Services. Office on Women’s Health. A-Z Health Topics. Thyroid Disease. Page updated: April 1, 2019. Link