Ever since I got my first period at 13, dealing with my menstrual cycle has been a bit of a struggle. Weight gain, acne, fatigue, you name it. To cope, I tried the mini pill (progesterone only), but it made me feel terrible, so I switched to the combined pill.
For the past 10 years, I've tried all the combined pills the NHS has to offer, and none of them worked for me. I was having super annoying bleeds at least twice a month, and sometimes they were just downright debilitating. Fed up, I decided last February to see how my body would do without any pills. I figured, now that I'm older and past puberty, maybe things would be different naturally.
Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. My periods were still heavy, painful, and all over the place. For the longest time, I thought being dismissed by doctors was normal. Spoiler: it isn’t! It wasn't until I changed my doctor's surgery recently that things started looking up. They actually listened, ran tests, did exams, and finally, I'm getting some answers!
(Just a reminder, if you feel like your doctor isn’t truly listening to you, that's not normal or fair. Finding a new doctor or switching up your surgery could prove to be very beneficial.)
From this change, I have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which in turn has led me to have an Underactive thyroid. Let’s delve into what this means for my menstrual cycle:
The menstrual cycle is a delicate symphony of hormones, and when things get out of whack, it shows up in all sorts of ways. Two common thyroid disorders, hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, can cause havoc with the menstrual cycle. Interestingly, their effects may overlap with other menstrual issues, making accurate diagnosis challenging. In this blog post, we’re diving into the connections between thyroid disorders and the menstrual cycle, highlighting how symptoms can sometimes mimic those of conditions like endometriosis and PMS.
Understanding Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism:
Before delving into the complex relationship with the menstrual cycle, it's essential to understand hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones, while hyperthyroidism results from an overproduction of these hormones.
Effects on the Menstrual Cycle:
- Hypothyroidism (aka Underactive thyroid) and Periods:
- Irregular Periods: Hypothyroidism can lead to irregular menstrual cycles, causing periods to be longer, heavier, or even absent.
- Amenorrhea: In severe cases, hypothyroidism may contribute to amenorrhea, where periods disappear altogether.
- Hyperthyroidism (aka Overactive thyroid) and Menstruation:
- Shortened Menstrual Cycles: Hyperthyroidism can lead to more frequent periods.
- Lighter Periods: Periods may become lighter due to an accelerated metabolism.
Similarities with Other Menstrual Issues:
- Endometriosis and Thyroid Disorders:
- Cramping: Both endometriosis and thyroid disorders can cause pelvic pain, making it challenging to distinguish the source of discomfort.
- Fertility Issues: Both conditions may contribute to fertility problems, further complicating the diagnostic process.
- PMS and Thyroid Disorders:
- Mood Changes: Symptoms such as mood swings and irritability can be present in both PMS and thyroid disorders.
- Fatigue: Tired all the time? Hypothyroidism and PMS can team up to make fatigue a regular visitor
Thyroid disorders can have a vast influence on the intricate hormones of your menstrual cycle. Sharing symptoms with conditions like endometriosis and PMS, seeking a medical professional’s advice is crucial. A thorough check will help find the correct diagnosis, leading to targeted solutions.