Thyroid symptoms for men

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Hypothyroidism Symptoms in Men

Why Is Hypothyroidism Less Common in Men?

“Hypothyroidism is about eight to 10 times less common in men. That’s because 80 percent of hypothyroidism is caused by autoimmune disease, and autoimmune diseases are more common in women. If I knew why autoimmune diseases are more common in women, I would win the Nobel Prize,” said Mario Skugor, MD, an endocrinologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

An autoimmune disease happens when your body’s defense system, called your immune system, mistakes normal parts of your body for foreign invaders and attacks them. The autoimmune disease that usually causes hypothyroidism in women and men is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

In Hashimoto’s, your immune system attacks your thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis affects about 14 million Americans, of which about two million are men.

“Other causes of hypothyroidism in men include damage to the thyroid or removal of the thyroid during surgery for thyroid tumors, and treatments for an overactive thyroid that result in an underactive thyroid.

“Graves’ disease is a cause of hyperthyroidism that may require treatments that leave a person with hypothyroidism. Graves disease is also more common in women,” said Dr. Skugor.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism in Men

“The symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of hypothyroidism in men are about the same as in women. Hypothyroidism slows down your whole metabolism, so symptoms can affect any organ system,” Skugor said.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Feeling cold
  • Tiring easily
  • Dry skin and brittle nails
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sore muscles
  • Weight gain
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland, called a goiter

Loss of interest in sex and trouble having erections are symptoms that some men may have. “If you are tired and low on energy, it’s not surprising that you will have some loss of interest in sex,” says Skugor.

A recent study published in the Urology Journal compared 24 men with hypothyroidism to 66 men without hypothyroidism.

Erectile dysfunction (ED) was evaluated using the International Index of Erectile Function Questionnaire, which rates ED on a scale from 5 (severe ED) to 25 (no ED).

The men with hypothyroidism had an average score of 11.75 compared to men without hypothyroidism who averaged 20.81.

Getting the Diagnosis and Treatment You Need

“Most symptoms of hypothyroidism do not develop right away. The thyroid hormone level must be overly low,” said Skugor. Men and their doctors need to be aware of the possibility of hypothyroidism in men so that getting a diagnosis isn’t delayed.

Your doctor may suspect hypothyroidism if you have symptoms and signs during a physical examination. The most reliable test for diagnosing hypothyroidism is thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This hormone tells your thyroid to make more thyroid hormone if your thyroid is becoming underactive.

“Treatment for hypothyroidism is replacement of thyroid hormone. Some men may not want to take medication, but thyroid hormone is more like a supplement. It is something your body naturally needs. The amount you need to take is based on your weight, so men may need to take higher doses than women,” said Skugor.

If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor. Men get hypothyroidism less than women, but you need to get treated just the same. Once you have hypothyroidism, you usually have it for life. With early diagnosis and treatment, thyroid hormone replacement is a safe and effective treatment that can manage your symptoms and prevent complications.

When I was 22 years old, I was eating healthy and working out five days a week—and I still put on 50 pounds in a six-month period.

Weight gain is one of the telltale symptoms of hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, a condition that occurs when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of some important hormones. Because it’s more common in women, my then-boyfriend suggested I head to my doctor to get it checked out.

I did, and my doctor diagnosed me with hypothyroidism, which I’ve controlled with a daily regimen of medication.

Then, nearly 20 years later, my now-husband found himself growing frustrated with a whole batch of seemingly unconnected symptoms: two tiny bald spots, one on his beard and the other on the side of his head, dry skin, and the gut that he couldn’t shake despite working out five days a week—including three double sessions.

He thought his testosterone levels were to blame, but tests for T checked out just fine. It was another test that showed the answer—it was a thyroid problem.

More specifically, his results indicated Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune condition where your own immune system attacks your thyroid gland and damages it, resulting in symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is different from hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, which occurs when your gland produces too much of the thyroid hormone. As a result, with overactive thyroid, guys can experience symptoms like weight loss, heart palpitations, anxiety, tremors, hair loss, and elevated testosterone levels.

Both kinds of thyroid issues are more common in women than men. In fact, according to Deena Adimoolam, M.D., spokesperson for Endocrine Society’s Hormone Health Network, men are guys are five to eight times less likely than women to have thyroid problems.

But that doesn’t mean men are in the clear—as my husband’s case proven, guys can get it too. And as Dr. Adimoolam says, it’s possible that men are under-diagnosed, since they tend to go to the doctor less than women.

Your move? Familiarize yourself with the signs of an underactive thyroid. Check out these 9 signs of hypothyroidism in men below, and if any seem familiar, make an appointment with your doctor.

Underactive thyroid sign: You gain weight

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It’s no surprise that this was one of the first signs that showed up for both my husband and myself. Hypothyroidism causes a generalized slowing of your body’s metabolic processes, which directly affect your ability to lose weight—and makes it easier to pack on the pounds.

This is why my husband was working twice as hard to maintain his current weight, when his regular exercise routine used to be enough to easily lose a few pounds and lose that gut.

There’s no real set amount of weight can you can see with an underactive thyroid, but the more severe your hypothyroidism is, the more weight you can gain, says Dr. Adimoolam.

Related: The 21-Day Metashred From Men’s Health—an At-Home Workout Plan That Fries Fat Fast

Underactive thyroid sign: You feel cold all the time

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It used to be your girlfriend who was constantly upping the heat in your home. But if your thyroid isn’t producing enough hormones, you may start to feel more sensitive to the cold.

“Thyroid hormone basically runs the body’s furnace,” Leonard Wartofsky, M.D., a professor of medicine at Georgetown University’s School of Medicine and past president of both the Endocrine Society and the American Thyroid Association. “It is what generates heat and burns calories with our metabolism.”

Heat is produced as a byproduct of your body breaking down food. So if your furnace is not running up to par, you’re not burning as many calories—meaning you’re not producing as much heat, either.

“It’s not just that they feel cold,” Dr. Wartofsky says. “They are cold. Normal body temperature is 98.6 degrees, but instead, a hypothyroid patient could have a body temperature of 97.6.”

Related: Does Cold Weather Really Make You Sick?

Underactive thyroid sign: Your mood is off

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Physical symptoms aren’t the only signs to watch out for. The slowing of your metabolism with can affect your cognition, too, which can result in symptoms of depression, loss of ambition, and even forgetfulness or issues with memory or alertness.

The mechanism behind hypothyroidism and its affects on your brain aren’t exactly clear, says Dr. Adimoolam, but studies have given us a couple theories as to what can be driving the relationship. It’s possible that hypothyroidism can lead to decreased blood flow in the brain, potentially causing cognition issues.

The science is much clearer on depression and hypothyroidism. Your body’s adrenal glands, located at the top of each kidney, produce hormones we can’t live without, including sex hormones and cortisol—the infamous stress hormone.

“The adrenal steroid gland is what we depend on for energy,” Dr. Wartofsky says. “When your adrenal glands are hypothyroid, so to speak, they are sluggish. You get low levels of energy, your brain function is low, your body temperature is low, and there is a tendency for depression.”

Just like weight gain, the more severe your hypothyroidism, the more pronounced the effects on depression can be, says Dr. Wartofsky.

A 2015 study from Germany of over 2,100 people found that those with untreated hypothyroidism scored significantly higher on a scale that measured depression. They were also more likely to have symptoms of anxiety, too. And this 2011 Italian study on depressive symptoms in hypothyroid patients found the prevalence to be a whopping 64 percent.

Related: 7 Surprising Signs Of Depression In Men

Underactive thyroid sign: Your skin is dry

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Hallmarks of an underactive thyroid include dry, rough, cool, and even pale skin. That’s what my husband experienced, and the itch that comes with that dry skin could be unbearable at times.

“This is partially due to decreased blood flow and a slower turnover of skin cells,” says Izabella Wentz, Pharm.D., licensed pharmacist and author of Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back. “Patients often see a reduction in sweating, as the body’s metabolic fat burning is turned off.”

So why does this happen? The short answer is that lower levels of thyroid hormones compromise your sweat glands and causes a glitch in the skin’s growth and replacement cycle. This is why guys with Hashimoto’s disease and hypothyroidism end up with peeling, cracking, and flaking skin. Moisturizer can help, but not eliminate, the problem.

But don’t go running to your doctor in a panic at the first sign of dry skin, warns Dr. Adimoolam.

“It is important to recognize dry skin as one symptom of hypothyroidism,” she says. “Men should be aware of all symptoms and look at the whole. When one has dry skin along with other symptoms of hypothyroidism, that is when one should go and see their doctor.”

Related: 6 Cheap Moisturizers That Will Make Your Face Look Younger

Underactive thyroid sign: You can’t poop

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Hypothyroidism results in decreased gut motility, or a slowing of the gut contractions that help move your waste through your digestive tract and out of your body.

As the contractions—called peristalsis—slow, your body has more time to reabsorb water from the stool your system hasn’t passed yet, making it harder in the process, says Dr. Adimoolam.

Slowing gut contractions can result in constipation. You may also end up having a harder time pooping simply because your stool is harder than it should be.

Related: 10 Reasons You Just Can’t Poop

Underactive thyroid sign: Your muscles cramp

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Muscle cramps are never fun to deal with, and if you have an underactive thyroid, the chances are you’ll be dealing with them more often.

“Muscular skeletal symptoms can occur in men,” says Dr. Adimoolam. “Symptoms can include weakness, cramps, and muscle pain.”

Increased levels of an enzyme called creatine kinase may be to blame, she adds.

Related: How to Stop a Charley Horse In the Middle of the Night

Underactive thyroid sign: Your sex life suffers

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For guys, hypothyroidism is associated with low libido, erectile dysfunction—the inability to get and keep an erection firm enough for sex—and possibly premature or delayed ejaculation.

There’s a lot of misinformation out there blaming low levels of T as being the reason, but Dr. Adimoolam says that’s just not the case. Low T levels, she adds, are rarely seen with hypothyroidism in men (Here are 8 sneaky signs your testosterone is too low).

So, if low levels of T aren’t behind the dip in the action between the sheets, what is?

“It’s all about brain function and energy level, and an overall sense of wellbeing. If you feel lousy, all you want to do is lie down and feel better. You’re just not going to be that interested in sex,” says Dr. Wartofsky.

“It’s kind of like depression,” he explains. “You just feel lousy. Testosterone is not the only thing governing your interests.”

6 Things Every Man Should Know About His Penis:

Underactive thyroid sign: You have trouble growing facial hair

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My husband is in no danger of going bald anytime soon, but he now understands that the seemingly random bald spot in his beard—along with the one he noticed on the side of his head—is a result of Hashimoto’s.

“Hair may be coarse, hair loss is common, and the nails become brittle due to slower turnover of cells, reduced blood flow and access to nutrients,” Wentz says, noting that hair loss specific to the outer third area of the eyebrow is reason enough to warrant a visit to your physician.

Thinning hair, or difficulty growing it, is more common in hypothyroidism than in those with overactive thyroids, says Dr. Adimoolam.

“In order for hair to be maintained, you need to have a balance between hair rest and hair growth,” She says. “ In hypothyroidism, you get an imbalance leading to thinning hair.”

Related: The Best Haircuts For Men With Thinning Hair

Underactive thyroid sign: You have a relative with a thyroid condition

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Thyroid conditions have a genetic component, especially when talking about Hashimoto’s disease, and a parent with thyroid condition can raise your risk of having one, too.

Generally speaking, the parent with the thyroid condition will most likely be your mother because women are more likely to suffer from autoimmune conditions, says Dr. Adimoolam.

“If a man has a family history it is important to be aware of symptoms of thyroid disease so you can be screened earlier,” she says, adding that all you need is a simple blood test.

Related: 6 Essential Blood Tests You Should Have

Bottom line on thyroid disease

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Don’t panic if you just have dry skin or are dealing with thinning hair. It’s the presence of multiple symptoms of underactive thyroid that should warrant concern and a doctor’s appointment, says Dr. Adimoolam.

If you suspect an underactive thyroid, say so when you make the appointment, and specifically request a blood test to measure your body’s thyroid hormone levels.

The good news is, if you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the condition is treatable with thyroid hormone replacement medication, which replace the thyroid hormone you body can no longer produce on its own.

And when you treat your thyroid, the symptoms should improve, says Dr. Adimoolam.

Thyroid symptoms in men often go unnoticed.

Since weight gain or weight loss, fatigue, muscle weakness are prevalent in the general population, it can be difficult for men to associate these as signs and symptoms of thyroid.

This can lead to delay in identification and treatment of thyroid.

What are the symptoms of thyroid in males?

Dr Silviya Irene, Endocrinologist at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital says, “Thyroid symptoms in men differ depending on whether they have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism”

“Men with either of these conditions will probably feel fatigue and muscle weakness predominantly, in their arms and thighs. This may result in difficulty in climbing stairs or combing hair.”

Can a man have an overactive thyroid?

An overactive thyroid is usually more common in women but men can also have this condition, which is known as hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms in Men

When the thyroid gland (a small butterfly-shaped organ situated at the base of the neck) produces too much of thyroxine, a thyroid hormone, the condition is called hyperthyroidism.

Ankit Jha, 29 was experiencing rapid weight loss without any changes in his food habits, workout regime or daily routine. He consulted the doctors at Sitaram Bhartia Hospital who suggested a full-body check-up. The tests revealed an overactive thyroid.

He was referred to Dr Silviya, to understand symptoms and treatment options for the thyroid disorder.

Ankit exhibited the following hyperthyroidism symptoms in men:

  • Sudden weight loss:
    Dr Silviya explains, “Hyperthyroidism accelerates your metabolism, which results in rapid weight loss in spite of unchanged food habits.”
  • Rapid heartbeat:
    Rapid heartbeat or palpitations (gabhrahat) may present as one of the symptoms of hyperthyroidism in men. In this condition, the heart beats more than 100 times a minute. This increase in heart rate persists even during sleep, which is typical in hyperthyroidism.Dr Silviya adds “Hyperthyroidism may also present as irregular heartbeats or palpitations which may lead to excessive stress on heart.”
  • Fatigue:Many men may also experience fatigue or muscle weakness as a symptom of hyperthyroidism.Dr Silviya explains, “Apart from fatigue, other symptoms of hyperthyroidism may also include heat intolerance, excessive sweating, nervousness and anxiety”“Some people may also notice sleeplessness (insomnia) or tremors in hands and fingers.”
  • Fine and brittle hair:
    One of the thyroid symptoms in men is hair turning fine and brittle.
  • Enlarged male breast and erectile dysfunction:Due to hormonal imbalance in the body, there is an increased conversion of the male hormone to the female hormone.“If hyperthyroidism goes undetected for a long time, it can cause enlargement of male breast and erectile dysfunction.”

Dr Silviya explains, “In addition to sudden weight loss and rapid heartbeats, you may notice swelling at the base of the neck which is a sign of an enlarged thyroid gland”

“Some forms of hyperthyroidism can even lead to protrusion of eyeball”

Ankit was curious about hyperthyroidism and wanted to know more.

What causes male hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism could be caused due to

  • Autoimmune diseases like Graves’ disease,
  • Inflammation of the thyroid gland,
  • Hyperfunctioning of thyroid nodules either single or multiple
  • An overdose of hypothyroid medicines can cause hyperthyroidism

How to treat hyperthyroidism in men?

The treatment of hyperthyroidism problems in men depends on the cause behind it and severity of the condition.

The treatment of thyroid includes

  • Oral medicines
  • Radioactive iodine treatment or
  • Surgery

The treatment depends on patient’s age, sex and even taking their preference into account.

Dr Silviya adds, “You should weigh the pros and cons of each of the treatment option. Based on your condition and preference, the treatment is decided”

After taking Ankit’s condition and his travelling job into account, radioactive iodine treatment was decided as the course of treatment for him.

Hypothyroidism in men

Ashutosh Mailk, 40 experienced rapid weight gain along with constipation which he wrote off as signs of ageing.

In his annual blood test, it was found that he had an underactive thyroid gland.

Hypothyroidism is another thyroid problem in men, wherein the thyroid gland is unable to produce enough hormones. It creates an imbalance in the body’s functions where thyroid hormone is involved.

Dr Silviya says, “Hypothyroidism usually affects pregnant women but it may also affect men, infants, children and teens”

“It usually develops slowly over the years but some forms of hypothyroidism can develop over the weeks as well.”

Hypothyroidism symptoms in men

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism are similar for men and women except for few exceptions like changes in the menstrual patterns.

Dr Silviya explains to Ashutosh, “Hypothyroidism symptoms in men and women depend on the severity of hormone deficiency”

Ashutosh displayed the following hypothyroidism symptoms in men:

  • Fatigue: Dr Silviya says, “In hypothyroidism, people are excessively fatigued after performing their daily tasks. They may also notice muscles aches, tenderness and stiffness and swelling”
  • Elevated blood cholesterol level: The hormonal imbalance in the body leads to elevated blood-cholesterol level.
  • Puffy face: Few people with hypothyroidism may also notice that their face is getting puffier and swelling below the eyes.
  • Constipation: Constipation is also one of the common hypothyroidism symptoms in men.
  • Weight gain: One of the hypothyroidism symptoms in men is rapid weight gain. Men experience sudden weight gain despite no changes in their diet and the amount of food consumed.

Dr Silviya emphasises, “Hypothyroidism symptoms in men may also include impaired memory, slowed heart rate, depression, cold intolerance, excessive sleepiness and memory lapses”

What are the causes of hypothyroidism?

There can be many causes of hypothyroidism which may include:

  • autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis,
  • after thyroid surgery,
  • certain sect of treated patients of hyperthyroidism may develop hypothyroid and
  • radiation therapy and even certain medications.

What are the treatment options for Hypothyroidism?

Treatment of hypothyroidism involves oral replacement of thyroid hormone.

Dr Silviya explains to Ashutosh, “These oral medications contain thyroid hormone which makes up for the thyroid deficiency. It is important that you take the medications as instructed as overdose can lead to hyperthyroidism.”

Ashutosh was prescribed medications for his hypothyroidism.

Thyroid and sexual health of men

Does thyroid cause erectile dysfunction?

Yes, thyroid can cause erectile dysfunction. It usually affects men with hyperthyroidism whereas sperm abnormalities are generally found in men with hypothyroidism. Thyroid interferes with men’s sexual health and may therefore affect their fertility as well.

Dr Silviya concludes “Thyroid symptoms in men requires careful identification and needs medical guidance. If you suspect symptoms of thyroid, approach your doctor and get a proper diagnosis done”

“You doctor may advise blood test for confirmation of the same. Based on the test results, the treatment would be decided accordingly.”

Thyroid disorder is not a condition exclusive to women. Though more common in women, cases of thyroid dysfunction among men are on the rise. Many primary care doctors may be quick to dismiss symptoms of thyroid dysfunction in men because they so closely fit other conditions more commonly diagnosed in men. Although, thyroid problems are largely underdiagnosed in the population at large because the symptoms are vastly similar to the classic signs of aging or a stressful life.

If you have been experiencing low energy, dry skin or muscle mass loss, you may need to seek assessment of your thyroid function.

How Does the Thyroid Work?

The thyroid gland is responsible for secreting a number of hormones that regulate growth, development, body temperature and metabolism. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), triiodothyronine (T3), thyroxine (T4) are the primary hormones that impact the function of the thyroid gland.

TSH is produced and released into the bloodstream by the pituitary gland in the brain. This signal alerts the thyroid gland to release the thyroid hormones, T3 and T4. T3 and T4 are highly involved in the amount of energy your body uses to perform basic functions while at rest (also known as your basal metabolic rate), such as breathing and temperature regulation.

What is Thyroid Dysfunction?

The root cause of thyroid dysfunction can vary from person to person because a working thyroid is highly dependent on a delicate feedback loop. The primary cause of thyroid disorder is a disruption to TSH, T3 and T4.

TSH regulates production of T3 and T4. The majority of thyroid hormone produced is T4, which is mostly converted to T3 in the liver to carry out necessary functions throughout the body. When levels of T3 and T4 are high in the bloodstream, TSH production and release is suppressed. Low levels of T3 may be the result of poor T4 production or issues converting T4 to T3 due to outside influences (like poor nutrition, stress and toxins). If just one of these three hormones fails in production or release, the other two may be affected.

Ideal function of the thyroid influences the production and release of other important hormones. For example, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) can be affected when thyroid function is impaired. Low levels of SHGB and testosterone can affect fertility in men.

Nutritional deficiencies can also cause thyroid problems, such as an iodine deficiency. Low iodine is commonly observed in developing countries where soil quality is poor. In the U.S., table salt is iodized significantly reducing thyroid disorders related to low iodine.

Symptoms of Thyroid Disorders in Men

The thyroid influences the metabolism of nearly every cell in the body, making the symptoms difficult to pinpoint. For men, symptoms include feeling sluggish, loss of muscle mass, balding or erectile dysfunction. These same symptoms are also often affiliated with low testosterone in men—another reason thyroid issues are frequently missed in men. Undiagnosed cases of thyroid disorder can be dangerous. Without treatment, the condition can develop into more serious disease, including, heart disease or fibromyalgia.

The most commonly reported symptoms of thyroid disorder in men:

  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • High cholesterol
  • Foggy thinking
  • Low confidence/self-esteem
  • Decrease in sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Balding/hair loss
  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Low energy and fatigue
  • Decreased testosterone levels

An underactive thyroid gland is characterized by low production of thyroid hormone. The condition is known as hypothyroidism. Eighty percent of cases of thyroid disorder are diagnosed as hypothyroidism caused by an autoimmune disease. Lab testing often reveals elevated levels of TSH when hypothyroidism is diagnosed. However, some patients suffer from subclinical hypothyroidism—a form of underactive thyroid disorder that affects approximately 8 percent of patients. Subclinical hypothyroidism presents with only slightly elevated levels of TSH, but normal levels of T3 and T4.

Stress and nutrient deficiencies can affect TSH levels. For example, high levels of cortisol and low levels of the micronutrient, selenium, can suppress TSH. If your physician only tests for high TSH levels to make a diagnosis—the most common indicator of hypothyroidism—the disorder may be missed.

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism in men

  • Hair Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Dry Skin
  • Weight Gain
  • Constipation
  • Cold intolerance

Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism in Men

Overproduction of the T4 thyroid hormone is known as hyperthyroidism, or overactive thyroid gland. Much like symptoms of hypothyroidism, the symptoms of an overactive thyroid gland may be easily overlooked. Hyperthyroidism is often the result of thyroid nodules, overconsumption of iodine, and high doses of synthetic thyroid hormone.

Common symptoms of hyperthyroidism in men:

  • Muscle Weakness
  • Breathlessness
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Osteoporosis (in severe cases)
  • Trembling Hands
  • Hair Loss
  • Insomnia
  • Weight Loss
  • Fatigue
  • Heat Intolerance
  • Increased Bowel Movements

Treatments for Thyroid Problems in Men

Most thyroid hormone imbalances are treated with a form of hormone therapy: the synthetic version of T4, known as levothyroxine. This drug is more well-known by its brand names, such as Synthroid, Levoxyl, and Tirosint. Many patient express dissatisfaction with this treatment option, however the issue is generally not the therapy, but the preceding laboratory testing. Prescriptions for synthetic hormones to treat thyroid disorders are often inaccurate or ineffective because the lab testing to reach a diagnosis and treatment plan was limited. The test only assessed TSH levels rather than all the hormones involved in thyroid disorder: TSH, T3, T4, reverse, T3, and cortisol.

The practitioners of the BodyLogicMD network use comprehensive lab testing to assess all of the thyroid hormones, plus reverse T3 and cortisol. This gives your practitioner an accurate picture of what is going on inside the body. The lab results will help your doctor develop the best treatment plan for your unique needs.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy is an effective treatment option for men with thyroid issues because unlike synthetic hormones, bioidentical hormones are designed to be structurally identical to the hormones made by the human body. This exact replication ensures that the replacement hormones ideally fit on cell receptors so that function is optimized. Optimal function means that your symptoms will disappear and the systems of your body function as nature intended.

By Danielle Tworek | Reviewed by Kenneth Varano D.O. Updated January 24, 2019

Hot Flashes As A Man, Led To Hypothyroidism Diagnosis

Mike Harper, Thyroid Thrivers
Thyroid Nation

57 years young
U.S.A
Hypothyroidism
Diagnosed in 2011

Hot flashes, fatigue, and hypothyroidism

This is a strange place I find myself in. No one in my family has hypothyroidism. I am a man with hypo which, as I have read and researched, is uncommon. A lot more women have this than men, so every article is about women. I think in the last 3 years I have read just one article about men and hypo. I have no one but women to relate to, which is not a bad thing, but I would like to read more about men with this issue.

It all started in 2011 and was very noticeable when I worked out at the gym.

I would have lightheaded moments and hot flashes. I would take a break and then get moving again; I thought it was part of getting older. The hot flashes bugged me but the doctor did not seem alarmed when I told him about them. Then, I started taking naps all the time. Many of these naps were between events. For example, I would drive to the gym from work and sleep in my car for 20 minutes and then go into the gym. Or, I’d come home from work and sleep for 40 minutes. I would even find myself napping in the car when I parked it in the garage after work. The vehicle was comfortable; who needs to walk into the house? My wife was concerned about these impromptu naps, hot flashes, and lightheadedness and told me to go see our General Practitioner (GP). I told her it was just part of getting old.

The diagnosis and Synthroid

However, I did listen to my wife and went to the GP. He did blood tests and declared that I had hypo and prescribed Synthroid (T4). I found out later that the dose was very low. But at least the naps and lightheadedness stopped. A year went by and I still didn’t feel right. I was better, but not right. The GP took more blood and increased the dose of Synthroid but there was no change.

Over the period of 4 years, my time in the gym and running, which I love, began to decrease and finally stopped altogether. I just didn’t feel like moving anymore. If you don’t feel good and you stop working out, guess what happens? I started gaining weight. I was up over an additional 50 pounds! I realized I needed to do something.

I went back to the GP and told him that I was still hot flashing, still gaining weight, and not feeling very well. He took more blood and told me I was in the normal range, and that I should feel great. Well, I didn’t and he seemed irritated by this.

He prescribed Cytomel (T3) at my request to see if this would help me feel better. Within 4 days I was jittery and anxious, and I still didn’t feel very good. I stopped taking it after 5 days.

So here is where I went off the reservation: don’t try this at home. I decided to experiment to see if I could make myself feel better. I got my hands (legally) on a large (2 year supply) bottle of Synthroid. I am currently prescribed to take 100mcg, but I changed my dose to 150mcg. The difference is amazing. I am alert, back at the gym, not tired every day, and losing weight (10 lbs. so far). Just an overall happy camper! I still have hot flashes but they are days apart, not 3 times a day. I’ve been doing this for about two months now and plan to continue.

What’s next?

Mike Harper

My next step is to go see an endocrinologist to tell my story to and make sure I stay on the 150mcg. I plan to interview several for the job. I’m aware of the placebo effect of self-medication. I use the hot flashes as my measure for this. Even though they are not happening every day, I would like them to disappear completely. The hot flashes are my sign that things are still not right.

To end this story, I would like to hear from more men about their thyroid stories. What are they experiencing? Is my story part of their story? This is the first time I have written about this issue and it feels good just getting it out.

PLEASE take a moment to ‘Like’ us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Pinterest. You can also listen to Tiffany and I on Thyroid Nation RADIO.

Questions or anything to add about men with hypothyroidism and hot flashes? We want your thoughts, please. You might just help someone else in need.

Thyroid and Estrogen Dominance

Yours in health,
Dr. Danielle Lockwood,
Primary Care Physician in Oregon: ND, LAc

Low thyroid and estrogen dominance

In my practice, helping patients overcome problems related to estrogen dominance and thyroid is one of the areas that I truly enjoy. While there are times when I will prescribe medications such as hormones, I find it much more fulfilling to bring our bodies back into balance using more natural, sustainable methods. In those rare times when I do prescribe medications, I will either be replacing a previous prescription at a reduced dosage or it is a temporary measure as a last resort while we work to restore a more natural balance to the body.

The knee-jerk reaction from the medical community is to simply prescribe a drug to either boost or suppress our way back into endocrine balance. However, from my experience in clinical practice, I have had many excellent patient outcomes from using more gentle, natural methods to restore balance to the endocrine system. This holistic approach the other important hormones back into balance with the body’s natural rhythm.

-Dr. Danielle Lockwood

Naturally Balancing Thyroid

The endocrine system is what doctors call the body’s fascinating labyrinth of interlacing chemical pathways that regulate nearly every function in the body. Many women come to me with symptoms such as weight gain, brain fog, depression or peri-menopausal issues and often cite various “hormone imbalances” as the culprit. Unfortunately, when some doctors see one (overly-simple) lab test indicating imbalanced hormone balance involving estadiol or progesterone, the next step is a quick prescription and then walking out of the room. The knee-jerk reaction from the medical community is to simply prescribe a drug to either boost or suppress our way back into a healthy estrogen and thyroid balance. However, from my experience in clinical practice, I have had many excellent patient outcomes from using more gentle, natural methods to restore balance to the endocrine system. This holistic approach the other important hormones back into balance with the body’s natural rhythm. As we delve deeper into these issues, we begin to uncover some of the issues surrounding how female sex hormone affects hormone health and can lead to Hashimoto’s Disease.

Treating Thyroid and Estrogen Dominance.
In these days of a very well-educated public, you might have heard about the more common signs of endocrine problems such as hair loss or weight gain. However, more tricky signs such as anxiety, depression, irregular menstrual cycles, chronic constipation, blood-sugar imbalances, low libido, insomnia, fertility issues and even muscle pain/weakness may go overlooked. Furthermore, symptoms of early menopause and problems with estradiol or other hormone imbalances may point toward an underlying hormonal issue combined with a pattern of excessive female sex hormone. Resolving the deep intrigues of how hormone levels are balanced often plays a role in unraveling many serious health concerns. In this carefully balanced universe that is the endocrine system, what’s most concerning to me is that the basic medical tests for endocrine function won’t signal a problem until the issue is at a serious, even dangerous level. Also, common drugs such as birth control are designed to interfere with the body’s natural balance between estradiol and progesterone which can bring on a host of symptoms including reduced hormone levels. In summary, many patients will begin to exhibit the above-mentioned harmful symptoms long before basic lab tests will indicate a problem. And, just because a patient shows up with low hormone levels on a test doesn’t mean we as doctors should automatically start handing out prescriptions for Synthroid because the real problem could be estrogen dominance.

Now that we’ve blown the lid off the narrow understanding of these complex hormonal symptoms, let’s examine a few of the more mysterious symptoms in greater detail and find out why these issues occur.

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Estrogen Dominance: Low Libido, Irregular Periods & Infertility

Most of these symptoms can be linked to something in the body called ‘estrogen dominance’. This is when the body makes too much of the major female sex hormone, which throws off the balance of other sex hormones such as progesterone and testosterone. As an aside, YES, healthy women do produce a small amount of testosterone just as healthy men produce small amount of female sex hormone. In cases of excessive estradiol in the body, women may exhibit menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, low libido and problems with fertility. Autoimmune disorders, accelerated aging, tender breasts and/or breast cancer, decreased libido, insomnia, hair loss, fatigue and brain fog are just a few of the symptoms that arise when there is too much of the major female sex hormone. Even some women as young as 30 years old have experienced menopausal symptoms when too much estradiol is present in the body. What’s very interesting about excess estradiol is its profound effects on reducing T3/T4 hormone levels in the body. Applying a one-size-fits-all cure and simply prescribing a women drugs like Levothyroxin or Synthroid will do nothing to correct the underlying issue of excessive estradiol levels that caused the low hormone levels in the first place.

Estrogen Dominance & Depression

Estrogen dominance forces the liver to produce more of a hormone called TBG, which acts like a sponge soaking up any T3/T4 it can find. In this way, the often undiagnosed problem of excess major female sex hormone leads to a huge drop in the amount of this crucial hormone available to be utilized by the body’s cells. There are a number of factors that can contribute to a pattern of excess estradiol such as after child birth, after menopause, in men and women who have excess belly fat, excess alcohol and caffeine consumption, and with women who have been taking birth control regularly for years. Furthermore, reduced levels of this vital hormone cause the body’s levels of serotonin (the happy hormone) to drop off due to reduced bio-availability of 5HTC, a chemical precursor necessary for the body to produce serotonin. In this way, too much of the major female sex hormone can contribute to low T3/T4 levels, clinical and postpartum depression and a general decline in health and well-being.

Terrain Wellness: Endocrine Balance

Primary care doctors Portland, Oregon
In my naturopathic medical practice, I see many cases where lowT3/T4 test results are actually the result of an excess estradiol pattern. In these cases, standard medical method of simply masking these deeper issues with artificial hormone sources does nothing to address the real problem of excess estradiol and leads to numerous health complications.

If you have hormonal issues or have concerns about your estradiol/female-sex-hormone levels please come and see me, Dr Danielle Smith Lockwood at our clinic, Terrain Wellness in Portland, Oregon. I (Dr Danielle Smith Lockwood) am a licensed primary care physician (Naturopathic Doctor) and I am also a licensed Acupuncturist trained in classical Chinese medicine. I can prescribe medications including those used to treat endocrine imbalances. Even when I do prescribe medications, my long term goal is for my patients to become healthy enough that medications become unnecessary. I prefer more gentle and natural ways to restore my patients to proper endocrine function. Call and set an appointment so I can help you with your hormonal balancing.

Terrain Wellness: Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture for Portland, Oregon Estrogen, Thyroid, Depression & Early Menopause

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