The lack of thyroid hormone in the body impairs metabolism, rendering weakness, muscle cramps and difficulty in losing weight. The risk of hypothyroidism is higher in women, particularly those in the above 50 age group, than men.
Hypothyroidism in Women – A General Overview
Women who have just given birth may suffer from postpartum thyroiditis, which occurs when the body adjusts the immune system because of pregnancy. Clinical data show that this condition is experienced by 5% of new mothers. Before hypothyroidism in women with postpartum thyroiditis, hyperthyroidism or the overproduction of thyroid hormones occurs. After this, either the thyroid glands stabilize or they begin to stall production of the hormones, leading to hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism in women can become permanent if not treated early. The cause of the disease in older women remains unknown, but experts recommend screening for those who have a family history of hypothyroidism, other thyroid problems, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes.
Hypothyroidism Cause – Helpful Information
The primary cause of hypothyroidism is iodine deficiency. When a person is iodine deficient, his body struggles to produce thyroid hormones imperative to growth and metabolism. Inversely, too much intake of iodine can also trigger hypothyroidism by reducing iodide organification, which aids hormone generation. Another hypothyroidism cause that also hinders hormone production is thyroid gland inflammation. This may stem from problems with the immune system. Medical interventions such as surgically removing part of or the whole thyroid gland due to cancer are also a significant hypothyroidism cause. People being treated for bipolar disorder with mood stabilizers that contain lithium have been shown to bring about hypothyroidism. Drugs such as thalidomide, interferon alpha and interleukin-2 also reportedly cause underactive thyroid.
Diet for Hypothyroidism – Recommendations
Women with underactive thyroid should never self-prescribe vitamins and minerals as the practice could impede thyroxine absorption. They should consult a specialist before taking supplements with calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and iodine or before loading up on caffeinated foods or soy foods. A good diet for hypothyroidism involves consumption of regulated amounts of iodine. This can be done by eating a balanced meal involving bread, cheese, saltwater fish, soy milk and eggs. Cow’s milk, frozen yogurt and ice cream are also allowed. Seafood such as saltwater fish and seaweeds like kelp, nori and duce are good sources of dietary iodine as well.