A variety of hormones control the menstrual cycle. This network of hormones impacts thyroid function, although the relationship between menstruation, reproductive function, and the thyroid is complex.
This article looks at how hyperthyroidism can affect the menstrual cycle, other symptoms, and more.
Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland, a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the front of the neck, produces more thyroid hormones than the body needs.
Thyroid hormones are
In people with hyperthyroidism, menstruation may occur irregularly, and menstrual flow may be lighter. This may cause fertility problems.
Hyperthyroidism can cause low levels of a protein called sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). This protein attaches itself to both male and female sex hormones.
A person with abnormal SHBG levels may experience fertility problems.
Hyperthyroidism can cause various menstruation problems, including:
According to some
However, other organizations have different criteria. For example, a
Other information suggests that a period is also irregular if the length of the menstrual cycle varies by more than
An irregular menstrual cycle is a
Lighter or fewer periods
People with hyperthyroidism are
Hyperthyroidism can also cause a person to have fewer periods.
The absence of periods is called amenorrhea.
This can cause fertility problems.
Because hyperthyroidism can affect ovulation, which is the release of an egg from the ovary, it can affect fertility.
Increased prolactin levels can prevent the egg, or ovum, from releasing and traveling down the fallopian tube in preparation for fertilization.
This can make it
If the immune system is the cause of a person’s hyperthyroidism — for example, in Graves’ disease — it may affect other glands, including the ovaries.
Other conditions or factors can influence a person’s menstrual cycle.
Typically, irregular periods only
- pregnant or nursing
- experiencing a medical condition that causes periods to stop
- taking continuous-cycle hormonal birth control
- other hormonal contraceptives, such as a levonorgestrel IUD
Other potential causes of irregular periods include:
- certain medications, such as anxiety or epilepsy medication
- eating disorders, including anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder, and bulimia nervosa
- high levels of prolactin in the blood
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
A person may be unable to prevent issues with their menstrual cycle without treating the underlying hyperthyroidism.
Taking the appropriate medications for hyperthyroidism will help a person prevent abnormally light or irregular periods.
People can discuss limiting or avoiding sources of iodine with their doctor to reduce symptoms. These may include:
- iodine supplements
- foods that contain iodine, such as kelp and iodized table salt
- certain multivitamins and cough syrups
Talking with a doctor about any symptoms of hyperthyroidism is important, as an overactive thyroid can lead to serious medical issues if left untreated.
As well as menstrual irregularities, symptoms include
- irregular or rapid heartbeat
- unexplained weight loss
- increased appetite
- trembling fingers or hands
- anxiety or nervousness
- difficulty sleeping
- sweating more than usual
- weak muscles
- redness, bulging, or irritation in the eyes
- feeling hot when others do not
Doctors can treat menstrual cycle issues due to hyperthyroidism by addressing the underlying condition.
Doctors can treat hyperthyroidism with medication, surgery, and radioiodine therapy.
After successful treatment, a person’s periods and ovulation may return to their usual cycle pattern.
The long-term outlook of the condition depends on various factors, including the cause of hyperthyroidism and a person’s general health.
If left untreated, hyperthyroidism can lead to severe health problems.
- osteoporosis and muscle problems
- fertility issues
- irregular heartbeat, which can cause stroke and other heart-related problems
- Graves’ ophthalmopathy, which is when Graves’ disease affects the eyes
This section answers some frequently asked questions about hyperthyroidism and the menstrual cycle.
Why does hyperthyroidism cause menstrual problems?
Hyperthyroidism can cause menstrual problems because it leads to:
- higher production of the protein sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), which can lead to irregular, lighter, or missed periods
elevatedlevels of the hormone prolactin in the blood, which can affect menstruation, ovulation, and fertility
Can I get pregnant with hyperthyroidism?
A person with hyperthyroidism can get pregnant, but the condition may make it significantly more difficult to conceive.
This is because hyperthyroidism can impair ovulation and prevent the ovum from descending the fallopian tube where sperm may fertilize them.
A person may wish to contact a doctor if they have hyperthyroidism and wish to become pregnant. A doctor may recommend fertility treatments and treatments for hyperthyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism in pregnancy carries risks to the parent and baby, so a doctor will need to closely monitor any pregnancy.
Do you ovulate with hyperthyroidism?
Hyperthyroidism can prevent a person from ovulating, as it can
However, this is not always the case, and a person with hyperthyroidism may still ovulate.
People with hyperthyroidism often have higher levels of the hormone prolactin in their bodies than usual.
High levels of prolactin and the protein SHBG can interfere with the functioning of the ovaries, causing periods to become irregular, infrequent, or lighter than usual. It can also cause periods to stop.
Because hyperthyroidism may directly affect ovulation, it can lead to infertility or difficulty conceiving.
If a person does not receive treatment, hyperthyroidism can lead to serious health problems.
A person with symptoms of hyperthyroidism should contact a doctor. Treatment can involve medication, such as beta-blockers, antithyroid medication, surgery, and radioiodine therapy.
Following treatment, a person’s menstrual cycle should return to normal.