Irregular periods and menstrual cycle disturbances are common in almost 30% women due to several reasons, and thyroid disorders one among them. Most women may not realize that their menstrual cycle is closely related to the proper functioning of their thyroid gland. Any irregularities in your menstrual cycle might be caused due to hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism and knowing the symptoms will help you seek the help of an expert to treat the condition.
Severe premenstrual syndrome
Most women experience a premenstrual syndrome or PMS, a week or 10 days before their period starts. When the woman is suffering from thyroid disorders, this syndrome becomes severe. The common symptoms include bloating and fluid retention, tenderness in breasts, fatigues, insomnia, headaches, cramps, food cravings, tension, irritability, anxiety, depression, trouble in concentrating and many more. These symptoms are magnified when she is suffering from hypothyroidism.
Conditions that affect menstrual cycle
- Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism is caused when you have an underactive thyroid, and it is a common disorder of the endocrine system in which the thyroid gland fails to produce adequate thyroid hormone. Several menstrual irregularities are associated with hypothyroidism. They are:
- Early menstruation: The average age of menarche or the first onset of a period is 12. But a girl suffering from hypothyroidism can experience menstruation as early as the age of 10.
- Heavy menstrual periods: A woman can suffer from menorrhagia or heavy periods if she has hypothyroidism. Under this condition, the woman can experience heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding.
- Frequent menstrual periods: Hypothyroidism causes periods to occur more frequently, mainly at a gap of 21 days instead of the usual 28-day cycle.
- Longer menstrual periods: While a menstrual period lasts for an average of 5 days, hypothyroidism patients will have their periods lasting longer than 6 days.
- Painful menstrual periods: Dysmenorrhea is the term used to describe painful menstrual periods. This includes backaches, menstrual cramps, headache, and stomachache along with other symptoms.
- Hyperthyroidism: It is a condition caused due to the excessive production of thyroid hormone by the thyroid gland. An undiagnosed and improperly managed hyperthyroidism can cause several menstrual irregularities, such as
- Late menstruation: A female suffering from an untreated hyperthyroidism will experience her puberty at a late age of 15 or older compared to the average 12 years.
- Lighter menstrual periods: The periods experienced by hyperthyroidism patients are lighter than the usual.
- Short Menstrual periods: While the average time span of a period is 5 days, hyperthyroidism patients will have a period span of 3 days or lower.
- Sporadic menstrual cycle: Hyperthyroidism patients suffer from oligomenorrhea, where they experience a strange and irregular menstrual cycle. The period may skip one or even two months and then resume again or come every 35 to 40 days.
When there is an irregularity in menstruation for more than 6 months, it becomes important to consult your physician to know the cause behind it and follow the appropriate treatment procedure. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!