Women’s Wellness: Pregnancy and thyroid disorders

(Cynthia Weiss/ Mayo Clinic) — It is estimated that more than 20 million Americans take some form of thyroid hormone replacement for thyroid disease.

The thyroid – a butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the throat – controls the metabolism of many of the body’s systems. An underactive thyroid can cause a number of health problems if left untreated, including unexplained fatigue, weight gain, difficulty with memory, constipation and depression. An overactive thyroid can cause weight loss, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating and tremors.

Women are at greater risk of developing thyroid disorders. Dr. Robert Smallridge, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, says about 80% of all thyroid conditions occur in women.

“We do not understand fully why that might be, but it’s well established,” he says. “We also know women suffer from hypothyroidism in particular more often than men.” (…)

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