Hyperthyroid Symptoms in Women
The most common type of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder where the immune system of the body targets against the thyroid gland. Women in early 20s are the most prone to Graves’ disease. Apart from causing similar symptoms as hyperthyroidism, Graves’ disease is commonly associated with significant tissue swelling and severe bulging of the eyes. Untreated elderly with overactive thyroid may be often misdiagnosed with dementia or depression due to the similarity of symptoms. Hyperthyroidism can aggressively hasten the progression of osteoporosis and heart diseases, thus increasing the risk of stroke or heart failure. Read on to learn in detail about the hyperthyroid symptoms that are commonly experienced by women at puberty, before pregnancy, during pregnancy, after pregnancy and during old age.
Hyperthyroid symptoms before pregnancy
Before pregnancy, women with untreated hyperthyroidism can significantly pose risk to the developing baby. Some of these symptoms include:
- Low birth weight
- Retardation of Intrauterine growth
- Overactive thyroid (Hyperthyroidism) in the newborn or in developing fetus
Hyperthyroidism symptoms during pregnancy
During pregnancy, the hyperthyroidism related symptoms are often hard to recognize due to their similarity to pregnancy symptoms like anxiety,fatigue, and insomnia, to include a few. However, the most significant sign of an overactive thyroid gland (Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism) that sets apart from pregnancy symptoms is a visible enlargement in front of the neck(goiter). The thyroid gland presents with marked enlargement that is nearly 2 to 4 folds larger than its normal size.Some of the signs and symptoms of untreated or undiagnosed hyperthyroidism during pregnancy include:
- The two major diagnostic criteria that determine an overactive thyroid gland during pregnancy include:
- Rapid pulse rate
- Unexplained weight loss that is certainly not usual during pregnancy, as it could be a possible indication of hyperthyroidism.
- Lack of weight gain that is normal during pregnancy, or significant weight loss, despite having normal appetite.
- Heart palpitations
- Highest pulse rate that is above 100, called as “tachycardia”
- Irregular heart rate (arrhythmia) and atrial fibrillation
- Concentration difficulty
- High blood pressure
- Severe vomiting
- Excessive nausea
- fidgety behavior
- Extreme mood swings
- Heat intolerance
- Severe sweating
- Weakness or muscle pain in the arms and legs
- Difficulty in climbing stairs
- Significant visual defects such as blurred vision, protrusion of the eyes, characteristic gaze or stare, double vision (diplopia), all together termed asophthalmopathy.
- Some of the symptoms that could be evident in a developing baby include:
- Rapid or increased heart rate that is higher than 160 beats per minute
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms during puberty
- The prevalence rate of hyperthyroidism is more common in women between an age group of 20 and 40.
- It generally presents with an enlargement of the thyroid gland (goiter), accompanied with series of various other complications as follows:
- Tiresome feeling
- Easy fatigue
- Mental instability
- Tremor or Trembling or shaky hands
- Breathing difficulty
- Bulging eyes
- Rapid, irregular heartbeat, accompanied with chest pain
- Hair loss
- Moist, Warm and itchy skin
- Intolerance to Heat
- Profuse sweating
- Increased appetite, over- eating, and hungry feeling
- Weight loss despite eating normally or more than usual
- Irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea associated with lighter menstrual flow
- Rapid and increased heart rate over 100 beats per minute
- Increased perspiration
- Loss of hair on scalp, underarms
- Eyebrow thinning
- Fingernails tend to separate from the nail bed
- Smooth and dry skin
- Muscle weakness, especially of the thighs and upper arms
- Altered menstrual cycle
- Frequent, Loose bowel movements
- Prominent eyes with a characteristic stare
- Protrusion of the eyes in case of Graves’ disease that may or may not be accompanied by double vision
- Higher rate of miscarriage
- Irregular heart rhythm, (more frequent in women over 60 years)
- Increased incidence of osteoporosis, with frequent fractures due to rapid loss of calcium from bones
Hyperthyroidism complications in women
Some of the most commonly experienced symptoms of hyperthyroidism in women include:
- Some of the common symptoms include typically smooth, unusually youthful looking skin (due to increased turnover of skin cells)
- Other skin changes include bruising, increased acne, spider veins on the neck and face, blister like bumps over the face and forehead, itching, facial flushing, vitiligo, and hives.
- Graves’ Dermopathy( or pretibial Myxedema) is a characteristic symptom of Graves’ disease that presents with typical reddish-brown,itchy, and waxy skin lesions over the lower legs and shins that appear inflamed.
- Osteoporosis associated with brittle bones and frequent fractures, is common in postmenopausal women with hyperthyroidism.
- Hyperthyroidism hinders a woman’s chances to conceive.
- Thyroid storm is a rare, life-threatening condition that is characterized by an abnormally increased blood pressure,heart rate (over 200 beats per minute), and body temperature(up to 106).
- Other symptoms of thyroid storm include chest pain,palpitations, shortness of breath,delirium,confusion, psychosis, stupor, and fatigue.
- Fatal health complications include heart attack and stroke.
Hyperthyroidism symptoms in elderly women
- Elderly women with hyperthyroidism can experience tremors, frequent falls, dementia and atrial fibrillation.
Apathetic hyperthyroidism can rarely occur that is not related to hyperthyroidism that presents with lack of energy, forgetfulness, depression, confusion and constipation with no apparent weight loss.