- The Human Body’s Endocrine System: a Chemical Messenger
- A Quick Overview of the Causes and Symptoms Hypothyroidism
- A Quick Overview of the Causes and Symptoms of PCOS
- Diagnosis and Treatment of PCOS and Hypothyroidism
- Taking Control Over Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Hypothyroidism
The Human Body’s Endocrine System: a Chemical Messenger
The Endocrine system consists of different glands which produce hormones that serve as chemical messengers in our body. Irregularity in the system can affect growth during puberty, fertility, metabolism, and even stress management.
According to Mayo Clinic, the endocrine system is made up of the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, adrenal glands, parathyroid glands, pancreas, testicles (in males), and ovaries (in females). There are several endocrine disorders. These are classified to have either a high or low hormone production. Two of which are Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism: the Case of the Underactive Thyroid
The first disorder is hypothyroidism. It is characterized as low production of thyroid hormone. Its most common cause is the thyroid damage brought by autoimmune diseases.
To better understand the condition, the thyroid is located at the lower front part of your neck. It produces several hormones called Thyroid hormones – and the main hormone is called thyroxine (T4). Thyroid hormones act throughout the body and influence metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature.
A Quick Overview of the Causes and Symptoms Hypothyroidism
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease that produces antibodies that attack the thyroid gland;
- Medical treatments for some people, who produce too much thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism), can sometimes lead to hypothyroidism;
- Thyroid Surgery is the process of removing merely a portion or your entire thyroid gland, which causes it to produce a lesser number of thyroid hormones;
- Radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck can also affect the thyroid gland’s hormone production. Medications for some medical conditions can lead to hypothyroidism. Medicine for heart and psychiatric conditions may often include lithium, which may cause hypothyroidism.
- Weight gain
- Hair loss
- Memory loss/ lapses
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: an Understated Prevalent Condition in Women
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is another common endocrine disorder, which affects almost a quarter of the women of reproductive age (15-49 years old). It is a hormonal condition, which is manifested by various combinations of signs and symptoms, mainly characterized by excessive androgen (male hormone) production. It is often the diagnosis given when a specific hormonal disorder in women is undetermined.
When you have PCOS, the hormonal imbalance often leads to an irregular menstrual cycle. When this happens, it can further cause infertility and cysts in the ovaries.
A Quick Overview of the Causes and Symptoms of PCOS
- High levels of androgens
- High levels of insulin
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Too much hair (face, chest, back)
- Weight gain, and
- Thinning of hair on the head
As the result of the symptoms, women with PCOS may have physical features that are usually found in men like a beard, facial hair, or a bald spot.
The Links Between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Hypothyroidism
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Hypothyroidism are both disorders of the endocrine system. Hypothyroidism is a disorder pertaining to low thyroid hormone levels, and PCOS refers to a disorder consisting of high hormone (androgen hormones) levels in women
- They have similar symptoms that can sometimes cause misdiagnosis. The one may be mistaken for the other.
- Hypothyroidism can cause an increased level of androgen, which, in turn, is the primary cause of PCOS. Studies will show that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome can also cause you to be more susceptible to thyroid disorders.
Diagnosis and Treatment of PCOS and Hypothyroidism
It is crucial that you know how to diagnose Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Hypothyroidism properly. An endocrinologist should be the one to deliver the diagnosis. Several blood tests will be undergone like TSH Test and T4 Tests for hypothyroidism.
Examination of symptoms, blood tests, a physical exam, or an ultrasound may also be required. As it is a little tricky to diagnose PCOS, other endocrine diseases particularly hypothyroidism should be eliminated first.
A proper diagnosis to determine Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Hypothyroidism from one to the other is crucial so you can have the appropriate treatment. A research study with regard to the diagnosis of PCOS has been conducted and it confirmed that teens with PCOS have higher levels of testosterone.
It also stated that Irisin, a newly discovered hormone, could also help in the diagnosis of PCOS. Early correct diagnosis will lead to earlier management. It may also help in preventing future complications and undergoing unnecessary treatments.
Treatment for hypothyroidism is often thyroid hormone replacement therapy or prescription of a synthetic drug thyroid hormone T4, which is taken daily to correct hormonal imbalance.
The best treatment for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is often focused on lifestyle changes or medications that address specific symptoms like infertility, acne, or obesity. One of the most common symptoms is an irregular menstrual cycle which can be treated with birth control pills.
Multiple medical researches are exploring a concrete link between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and hypothyroidism. In one particular study about their emerging relationship, it is acknowledged that they have similar characteristics, risk factors, etc. When diagnosing PCOS, hypothyroidism should be first excluded.
However, when you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism, polycystic ovaries are a clinical feature.
A study states that Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and hypothyroidism share almost the same characteristics. However, their similarities end with their cause and development. When you suffer from hypothyroidism, there is an increase in ovarian volume and cystic changes in women with PCOS.
It also states that women with hypothyroidism have higher ovarian volumes. It concludes that hypothyroidism can lead to polycystic changes in the ovaries. Yet, no evidence suggests that hypothyroidism can directly lead to Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.
Taking Control Over Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Hypothyroidism
Modern-day developments in diagnosis will help better determine the links between PCOS and hypothyroidism more accurately. This can also help in managing them properly, most especially in the case of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, which affects a significant amount of women but has no known cure at the present. A second medical opinion is always advised.
When you or anyone you know is or might be suffering from these disorders, do not forget that you have the power to be more diligent in monitoring your health. You should be aware of the lifestyle that you have and check if this is the right path you would want to take. Help is also at arm’s length when you really want it.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and hypothyroidism are endocrine conditions are a reality; studies have linked them together and have shown the tendency for their symptoms to overlap. Having said this, you need to go over all the symptoms that you may be experiencing and do not hesitate to seek help when you need it.