The thyroid gland and hypothyroidism
The thyroid gland is among the most essential glands in our body since its hormones play vital roles in many bodily functions. It belongs to the endocrine glands that do not have the ducts but release the hormones directly into the bloodstream. Thyroxine and triiodothyronine, or T4 and T3 respectively, are the main hormones of this gland, which is further regulated by the pituitary gland and its hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone, The pituitary gland is controlled by the hypothalamus and the body’s metabolism is regulated by the thyroid gland hormones.
Underactive thyroid gland, known as hypothyroidism in medicine, refers to the deficiency of the thyroid hormones, which makes a negative impact on the metabolic processes in the body. It is observed that women are more susceptible to developing underactive thyroid gland than men, especially the women over 50 years of age.
Causes of underactive thyroid gland
Thyroiditis, which is more known as Hashimoto’s disease, Grave’s disease, and Down’s syndrome are some of the medical conditions that may be responsible for the incidence of underactive thyroid gland. Furthermore, iodine deficiency, radiation therapy for some cancer in the region of the head and neck, the medicines lithium and amidarone, as well as the pituitary problems and pregnancy, are also some of the possible culprits for the development of hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of underactive thyroid gland in women
The metabolism rate is slowed down since there is a deficiency of T4 and T3, which are important for the maintenance of the normal metabolism. When metabolism is slow, it impacts the human body in general causing many symptoms to appear. The women with hypothyroidism are often depressed, exhausted and tired, and they usually have problems with unexplained gaining of weight, pale skin and constipation. Furthermore, they usually complain of brittle hair and nails, as well as of pain in the muscles and joints. Hypotension, low heart rate, decreased libido, carpal tunnel syndrome and fluid retention are also some of the symptoms that may appear in women who suffer from underactive thyroid gland. Irregular menstrual cycle and heavy menstrual periods are also the symptoms related to the underactive thyroid gland.
When hypothyroidism is left untreated, the women may experience certain additional symptoms like hoarseness of voice, swollen face, hair loss and impaired taste and smell. Elderly women with untreated hypothyroidism are likely to experience memory problems and confusion. The levels of the thyroid gland hormones should be checked up occasionally in order to prevent developing of hypothyroidism and its further complications.