We know that thyroid disorders are much more common in women as compared to men. The next question is how do thyroid disorders affect women in particular?
Women with Hyperthyroid:
Thyroid disorders can affect a woman's reproductive system in many ways. Starting right from puberty to pregnancy and child birth. Puberty, onset of menstruation can come either too early or too late. Also depending upon the hormone levels, periods can be irregular, scanty or very heavy. The periods might even be absent on account of hyperthyroidism
Women with Hypothyroid:
In women who are hypothyroid there is an increased risk of developing cysts in the ovary. This may lead to PCOD or cystic disease
of the ovary. In addition, it affects ovulation i.e the release of the egg from the ovaries. Women with hypothyroidism do not produce mature eggs. This makes it difficult for them to conceive
Thyroid and Pregnancy:
During pregnancy, a low functioning thyroid can be the cause of growth retardation of the foetus. Also, spontaneous abortion, miscarriages, preterm delivery and still birth. Complications of pregnancy like anaemia, eclampsia
and placental abrupt-ion are also comparatively common.
Pregnancy with Hypothyroidism:
Mostly women already under treatment for thyroid disorders tend to get hypothyroid during pregnancy. This is because the demand for thyroxine increases by 25 to 50% during pregnancy. It is therefore, very important to have the T3 and T4 levels in women.
Pregnancy with Hyperthyroidism:
Often new cases of hyperthyroidism are diagnosed during pregnancy. This happens in about 1 in 2000 pregnancies. Almost 95% of these cases are due to Grave's disease. Any pregnant woman with symptoms such as weight loss, vomiting, increased blood pressure, should be evaluated. The condition tends to improve as the pregnancy advances.
Mild hyperthyroidism is not dangerous to the mother. However, untreated moderate to severe hyperthyroidism can cause fetal and maternal complications. Women with hyperthyroidism can also develop severe morning sickness.
Thyroid and Goitre:
Goitre, due to iodine deficiency tends to get bigger during pregnancy as the demand by the body for iodine increases. Women should increase their intake of milk, eggs and iodized salt. It's also recommended to take a supplement of prenatal vitamins that contain iodine.
After delivery some women develop a temporary thyroiditis called postpartum subacute thyroiditis. This usually occurs within 3 to 6 months after giving birth. This dysfunction is more common in women with Type 1 diabetes.
Thyroid and Menopause:
An under active thyroid can also lead to an early onset of menopause. Normally menopause occurs around the age of 50. But if a woman is hypothyroid, menopause may occur by 40 or earlier. On the other hand hyperthyroidism may mimic the symptoms of menopause
. Proper treatment can reduce these symptoms. It can also prevent early menopause.
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