Menopause and Thyroid – What You Need to Know About How Your Thyroid Affects Your Health Post Menopause

by Laura Ramirez on July 25, 2011

Menopause and thyroid issues often go hand in hand. Since the thyroid gland is important for regulating the body temperature, weight, mood and more importantly, heart health, it’s essential to have your TSH levels (thyroid stimulating hormone levels) checked regularly, especially if you are experiencing symptoms or have a family history of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s Disease.

But the TSH levels that are considered normal can differ between doctors. For instance, I have gone to the doctor a number of times with symptoms of dry, thinning hair, hypersensitivity to cold, fatigue and other classic symptoms of low thyroid, only to be tested and told that my thyroid is normal when I just know it isn’t. My doctor didn’t even acknowledge me when I told him that I have a family history of thyroid disease. My mother who is 70 has been taking thyroid medication for 30 years. If genetics are any indication, then at age 50, I should have been on medication for the past 10 years, but I can’t find a doctor in the conservative city that I live in to prescribe it. Obviously, it’s time to find a different doctor. After all, it’s my body, I live in it, I know how it feels and it’s my responsibility to find a medical professional who will help me create and enjoy the best health possible.

One thing that is absolutely essential for research-minded women to consider is that most doctors are 10-20 years behind the current medical research because they’re still clinging to the information that they learned in college rather than keeping up to date. As a patient who takes responsibility for her health, it is imperative to insist that your doctor consider new researched-based information.

Here’s what Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of From Fatigued to Fantastic says about a recent article that appeared in Good Housekeeping in which the author decided to treat her symptoms of low thyroid (which tested normal by the way) by drinking more caffeine and doing crossword puzzles:

Although the writer notes the increase in heart attack deaths associated with a TSH of 5 to 10, she ignores the major HUNT study(1), which included over 17,000 women. This study showed that women with intermediate (1.14-2.52) or “high” levels (2.5-3.5) of TSH had a 41% and 69% increased risk of heart attack death compared with women who had TSH levels in the lower range of normal (0.50-1.4 mIU/L). Women whose thyroid levels were actually abnormally low had an even greater risk of heart attack.

Also, the brain is highly dependent on sufficient thyroid hormones to and hormone health, and Founding Director of the Bioidentical Hormone Initiative.

So what are the thyroid levels to ensure proper function and prevent heart attacks? According to Dr. Duick, a Phoenix-based endocrinologist, the normal range for proper thyroid function in women is in the 1-2 range. (The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends .3 – 3, which would make my .89 level normal, even though it doesn’t “feel” normal). What you want is a doctor who will treat you if you are borderline, giving you the lowest possible dose to stay within this range. Anything higher or lower can put women at risk for heart attack, miscarriage (in women who are still fertile) and a whole host of other problems as well as the typical symptoms of thyroid disease.

What has been your experience with menopause and thyroid disease? Please share your stories along with what has worked for you. You may also want to check out this resource: The Menopause Thyroid Solution which will help you sort out which of your symptoms are due to menopause and which  to thyroid dysfunction.

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