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Why Women Should Pay Attention to Their Thyroids

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Let’s be honest: The thyroid can be easy to forget about. This small, butterfly-shaped gland in our necks tends to just go about its business in the body without much notice—until problems begin to emerge. For women, thyroid problems can be especially problematic as they affect the reproductive system. That’s why this January, for National Thyroid Awareness Month, we’re making sure you’re well-equipped to handle any potential problems that may arise. 

What exactly does the thyroid do? 

For such a little gland, the thyroid is actually responsible for quite a lot. It’s part of the endocrine system, working with a bunch of other glands throughout the body to regulate organs and functions like growth, metabolism, mood, and sexual function. The thyroid affects several body functions that range from fertility and digestion to heart rate and growth.

What are some problems the thyroid may have? 

Some problems with the thyroid might include an overactive or underactive thyroid, which can lead to—yup, you guessed it—the overproduction or underproduction of hormones needed to function. This can be a symptom of bigger issues such as Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s disease.

In women, symptoms of thyroid problems can present differently through various stages of a woman’s life. During puberty, a woman with thyroid issues may notice irregularities in their menstrual cycle, such as abnormally heavy or light cycles, or perhaps even no menstrual cycle at all. 

In adult women, thyroid issues can cause problems with ovulation and pregnancy, and can often prevent ovulation entirely as well as cause cysts to form on the ovaries.

What treatments are available?

Luckily, many thyroid problems are manageable with treatment, which include medication. The best way to find out if you’re suffering from thyroid malfunctions is to schedule a blood test. Hancock Health endocrinologists will be able to determine if you have an under- or overactive thyroid, and can devise the perfect treatment plan for you. 

If you suspect you may be having problems with your thyroid, don’t wait. At Hancock Health, we’re ready and prepared to help you navigate any concerns you may have.

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