Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, is a very common problem among women. Many women are aware of some of the symptoms, such as hair loss, sensitivity to cold, weight gain, depression, and a decrease in sex drive. What many do not realize is that there are other ways in which they can be affected by hypothyroidism. Can an underactive thyroid affect menstruation? Here are some of the things all women should know about the link between hypothyroidism and their periods.
Does Hypothyroidism Affect Menstruation?
Hypothyroidism can have an effect on menstruation. According to the University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, an underactive thyroid can cause irregular or heavy menstrual periods. As with other hypothyroidism symptoms, the severity of menstrual problems will depend on how much and for how long the thyroid has not been functioning properly. While some women may not notice any change in their menstrual periods, some may find that their periods are either very irregular or very heavy.
How Can Menstruation Be Controlled?
When an individual with hypothyroidism goes on medication, their symptoms are generally kept under control. The purpose of these medications is to ensure that the thyroid functions properly, which reduces the symptoms. Thus, people with hypothyroidism should be sure to take the medication that their physician prescribes to them. You can also stop your period once it starts. If you are not trying to become pregnant, it is also ideal to consider going on the birth control pill to regulate your menstrual periods.
Is Hypothyroidism the Only Cause of Menstrual Problems?
Irregular and heavy menstrual periods are not always caused by hypothyroidism. There are other gynecological conditions, such as endometriosis and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which can cause you to experience these symptoms. If you experience heavy or irregular menstrual periods, it’s important to talk to a gynecologist about it. Though the problems with your periods may be caused by an underactive thyroid, another condition may be blame – especially if the symptoms continue even after you have been regularly taking medication.
Ultimately, it is simply important to know that there is a potential link between hypothyroidism and irregular or heavy menstrual periods. Medication for an underactive thyroid is generally the best way to keep this problem under control, though it can be ideal to consider going on the birth control pill to regulate menstruation as well. If you continue to experience this symptom even after you begin taking thyroid medication, the best thing that you can do is talk to your doctor to see if a gynecological condition may be to blame.
The University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, “Thyroid Disorders.”