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The thyroid gland is a large butterfly shaped gland located in the front of the neck, between the skin and muscular layers. The “wings” of the thyroid gland are actually lobes which wrap around the trachea and produce thyroid hormones.

Common Thyroid Problems in Women

Thyroid hormones affect each tissue and leads to an increase in cell activity, with the main function of the gland being to regulate the metabolism of the human body.


There are several different types of thyroid disorders and problems which can be experienced by women.  Thyroid problems can be labeled into distinct groups:

  • Those disorders in which too much or too little of thyroid hormone is produced.
  • Problems due to increased growth of the thyroid gland which causes compression of the neck or can appear as a growth or mass on the neck.
  • The formation of nodules or lumps which can be indicative of cancer.
  • Formations which are malignant (cancerous)

Different problems which a woman can experience when having a thyroid problem

Each thyroid problem is addressed separately and examined through x-ray, MRI, or other diagnostic medical procedure to provide a better understanding of what is going on.  There are many different problems which a woman can experience when having a thyroid problem, which can include the following:

  • Thyroid cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid)
  • Graves disease (immune system attacks the thyroid gland and causes an overproduction of hormones)
  • Thyroid nodules
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Goiter or enlargement of thyroid gland
  • Hashimoto’s disease (inflammation of thyroid gland)
  • Hurtle cell cancer
  • Heart arrhythmias
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hypopituitarism (thyroid hormone disorder)
  • Prolactinoma
  • Autoimmune hepatitis
  • Bradycardia
  • Enlarged heart
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Hypoparathyroidism (body secretes a low level of parathyroid hormones)
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Secondary hypertension
  • Sheehan’s syndrome (condition in women that experience life threatening blood loss during or after giving birth)
  • Galactorrhea (excessive milky nipple discharge in women, men and sometimes in young children and infants)
  • Osteoporosis (brittle bones)
  • Constipation
  • Raynaud’s disease (causes areas of the body to feel numb in response to cold temperatures or stress)
  • Hair loss
  • Nasopharyngeal carcinoma
  • Weight loss
  • Weight gain
  • Lewy body dementia (shares symptoms with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease)
  • Amenorrhea (absence of menstruation)
  • Precocious puberty (early maturation in females)
  • Cushing’s syndrome (occurs when the body is exposed to high levels of cortisol for long periods of time)
  • Postpartum depression
  • Kidney stones
  • Pituitary tumors

Treatment for thyroid problems will depend upon which type of disorder a woman is experiencing.  There are medications, surgical procedures and lifestyle modifications which a woman can make in order to alleviate some of the issues experienced with thyroid problems. 

Overview

Although there is no known way to prevent experiencing a thyroid problem, with the proper diagnosis and treatment a woman can control their individual condition with no long-term effects.  However, when a female goes undiagnosed, a thyroid problem can lead to coma and other complications which can cause death.

  • Photo by shutterstock.com
  • www.endocrineweb.com/thyroid.html
  • www.mayoclinic.com/health/hypothyroidism/DS00353/DSECTION=symptoms
  • www.emedicinehealth.com/thyroid_problems/article_em.htm#Thyroid%20Problems%20Overview