Thyroid UK
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Thyroid dysfunction - Not just a women's issue

This raises the question of whether men and women are affected differently by thyroid disease? This is a snippet from a news article from 2015, so perhaps someone might find a more recent article...

health.usnews.com/health-ne...

How are Men Affected?

"The thyroid regulates the energy production and metabolism of every cell in the body, so changes in its function can affect every system and look very different from person to person. Many of the issues that occur are similar to those found in women, such as dry skin, exhaustion, cold extremities and constipation. Men, however, also have their own special set of concerns. For example, while women tend to have unexplained weight gain, men may lose muscle mass and strength.

Here is a partial list of symptoms male patients often report:

loss in executive function

diminished ability to think clearly and make decisions

reduced feeling of empowerment and self-assuredness

decrease in sex drive

erectile dysfunction

balding/hair loss

high cholesterol

decreased ability to deal with stress

reduced energy and fatigue

decreased testosterone levels (low T)

depression

anxiety"

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As a young male with hypothyroidism, this makes complete sense in regards to how hypothyroidism is different in women and men. Especially since we know meds also affect women and men differently as well. I wonder if more researched should go into this as a way to better treat men and women with hypothyroidism considering how different it affects men and women.

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I think that we men probably don’t tie some of the above symptoms to potential thyroid issues, thereby just living with them without knowing we have a problem.

Mine started in a more unpleasant nature in October last year. But, if I am really honest I knew that I wasn’t feeling like myself for around 3 years prior. I just put it down to a very stressful job and some distressing family events that had all taken their toll.

In October 2017 I started with a feeling of pressure around my lower throat along with permanent mucus in my lower and upper throat causing me to feel slightly nauseous. Along with this my larynx started clicking every time I swallowed food which was unnerving.

I was seen my both an ENT consultant and the day after a consultant radiologist who performed an ultrasound scan. I was found to have an 8mm thyroid nodule and a 4mm nodule. The consultant stated they are benign and to either go back for a follow up in a year or not if there were no further symptoms.

I was left with the above symptoms over Christmas but decided to research potential natural remedies myself. I found the following which may be of some use to others...

1. Selenium deficiency. European soil is very deficient in this mineral (not so in the US) Our food no longer contains much, if any. Therefore I decided to supplement one selenium tablet per day.

2. I take curcumin, one tablet per day. I figure that inflammation is another issue so both Selenium and Curcumin are anti inflammatory.

3. I take a B12 vitamin, one a day and a tablespoon of Virgin coconut oil per day.

4. I’m currently awaiting the results of a private thyroid blood test. The blood test I had at the doctors before Christmas stated that my thyroid was fine, but I don’t believe it was thorough enough. Depending on the New result I may / may not supplement iodine too.

I’ve been carrying out the above for over a month now, along with cutting out most of dietary sugar, eating healthier and have started yoga :-)

Results so far are the the mucus has mostly ceased as of a couple of days ago and the pressure on my neck although still there is more bearable. The clicking larynx is probably 60% better and I am feeling a bit better in terms of energy. My neck / thyroid area feels a bit less swollen too. I was told that the clicking larynx wasn’t a result of my thyroid nodules but I refuse to believe this.

I think overall it’s a good move to try to change your life if you have thyroid problems, reduce stress as much as possible and give natural therapies a try, you never know. I don’t know what the future will bring but I am remaining optimistic and hope for the best.

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That’s very interesting, but I think it’s great that you took the initiative for your health and began researching solutions. We’ve all encountered health care professionals who often dismiss how we feel, so it’s important to stand up for ones health. Personally my symptoms manifested differently. I knew something was going on when I was tired but wired all the time, didn’t want to go out at all, had very cold hands and feet, ate pretty clean and exercise but saw no weight loss, I also noticed an inability to gain muscle mass. Thankfully my doctor tested my thyroid last year when I told her it ran in the family (which it does). It came out sub clinical and was unfortunately told to wait and see if my TSH would be high enough. Fast forward to today and I was tested once more and the doctor finally decided it’s time to get treatment. All in all I’m just grateful that I found this forum because I used to think hypothyroidism was a disease that would literally kill you slowly with no hope of ever getting better. Not to mention I hate taking pills for anything so I thought taking a pill for a lifetime would be the worst. But it’s the opposite, and I hope to feel normal again!

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Thanks, Glad that you have a good doctor and that you have a course of treatment, hope that you feel better again soon.

I forgot one other item and that’s magnesium. I take it as an external spray, I have read that magnesium deficiency is also common and that it can adversely affect the Thyroid. I don’t want to sound like I’m on a truck load of natural therapy pills etc every day :-) but the ones I mentioned do seem to have helped a bit since my lousy symptoms late in 2017.

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Sounds the same as for women. But I bet that these things are thought of as more serious in men. Loss of sex drive in women - "never mind, pet, just lie back and think of the Empire, you don't actually need to do anything" Loss of sex drive in men: "OMG! Emergency". Diminished ability to think clearly and make decisions in women, "Never mind, pet, you're a bit depressed, take this Prozac don;t worry about making decisions". Diminished ability to think clearly and make decisions in men: "OMG! The sky is falling, industry will suffer!" and so on.

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I have to agree. The way that the specific concerns about hypothyroidism in men are framed in the posted article strikes me as reflecting gender differences which are mainly cultural in perception. Women may suffer all these problems, just as severely.

To the men with hypo reading this post, I would like to point out that my husband is also affected by this condition. He can still work full time, but he also struggles for long periods. In his case, all the symptoms on the list relating to cognitive function and psychological health, and physical strength and stamina apply. Thankfully, he is less severely affected than I am, otherwise we would have no income.

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Yes, I agree with both of you. The list doesn't look any different. I've also got a close male friend with a thyroid problem. I think perhaps the stigma of accepting you're ill may be harder for him, but I also know many women that pretend not to be sick, too ;)

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Well . Don’t know what to say really. Only thing different is erectile dysfunction. Dead from the neck down though so does that count ?

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