Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, also know as Hashimoto’s Disease is an auto-immune disease that acts on the thyroid gland. The thyroid inflammation experienced by sufferers eventually destroys the thyroid gland, forcing the patient to spend the remainder of her life taking thyroid replacement hormone for hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of low thyroid are extremely common in up to 20% of women by the age of 60 according to Dr. Richard Shames, thyroid expert located in Boca Raton, Florida. Dr. Shames discusses the thyroid/menopause connection with thyroid advocate and writer, Mary Shomon, stating that many symptoms of menopause are exacerbated by thyroid disease and mimicked by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Symptoms in common
Many women mistake symptoms of Hashimoto’s for early onset menopause. Often, menopause symptoms are aggravated by undiagnosed Hashimoto’s disease, the most common form of hypothyroidism. Hot flashes, depression, chilliness, irritability, excessive fatigue, insomnia, heart palpitations and irregular heart beat as well as confusion and fuzzy thinking are all symptoms of both hypothyroidism and menopause.
For those women experiencing symptoms of menopause and having little or no results after taking hormone replacement, it is suggested they be tested for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. An endocrinologist will palpate the thyroid gland in the neck and order blood tests to ascertain whether hypothyroidism is a causative factor. Sometimes a biopsy of the thyroid gland is done to confirm the diagnosis. Hypothyroidism can also occur as a result of iodine deficiency or surgery that removes part or all of the thyroid gland in patients with thyroid cancer. Levels of thyroid stimulating hormone and the presence of thyroid antibodies will indicate whether thyroid replacement therapy is needed.
If a patient is found to be hypothyroid, or have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid replacement therapy is prescribed. After being stabilized, many women find they no longer need as much or any treatment for menopause symptoms, finding that their alleged menopause symptoms were resolved with thyroid replacement. Menopause expert, Dr. Christianne Northrop recommends women experiencing severe symptoms of menopause be tested for thyroid problems.
Use of homeopathic thyroid, over-the-counter glandular supplements, Armour or other natural thyroid supplements, time-release compounded T3, as well as acupuncture and Chinese herbs are alternative treatments available to take the place of conventional thyroid drugs. Shomon, discusses numerous aspects of thyroid disease, treatments, doctors open to using alternative therapies, risk factors and diet on her popular website, www.thyroid-info.com
Additionally, if menopausal symptoms persist after thyroid medications are prescribed, over-the-counter supplements and alternative therapies are available to alleviate symptoms when hormone replacement drugs are not recommended or desired. Bioidentical hormone replacement is another option which is gaining in popularity because it is the natural form of hormone replacement, using substances from plants to create hormones that are identical to what is naturally produced in the body.
Previously there was a concern that too much thyroid medication in the form of T4 drug therapy, also known as Synthroid, produced osteoporosis. After extensive research, it is now known that too little thyroid replacement is a leading cause of osteoporosis, according to Dr. Shames. Bone density tests can be ordered at the same time other tests are done to ascertain if there is an existing problem or to help prevent the onset of osteoporosis. If a bone density test reveals you are losing bone mass, your health practitioner will discuss options for replacement therapies.
(Photo credit: http://brandtelling.com/)
Permission is granted to copy the title and first one hundred words with the provision that the author's name be included and a link to the original article be added.