Hypothyroidism in Men – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
What is hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when your thyroid is not producing enough thyroid hormone. This condition is also called underactive thyroid. Your metabolism is controlled by hormones produced by the thyroid gland. The two main hormones your thyroid releases — thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) — together make the thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone, manufactured in your thyroid gland, controls your body’s ability to change the food you eat into energy. Low levels of thyroid hormone can cause extreme tiredness and weight gain. T4 is considered the inactive form while T3 is the active form that impacts cells and your metabolism. T4 is converted as needed into T3 by cells in the liver, the kidneys, the muscles, the thyroid, the pituitary, and the central nervous system. As you need more energy, more T4 needs to be converted into T3. Low levels of active thyroid hormone can be caused by a lack of hormones needed to convert T4 to T3 as well as hormones needed to stimulate the production of T4 and T3. It is easy to see why all areas of the body need to be functioning properly if you’re to enjoy a healthy and active metabolism and all the benefits it gives you. The better all of the organs, glands, and other parts of the body are working, the better your health and sense of well-being will be. This is why its important to work with a medical practitioner and address the body as a whole.
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism may not cause obvious symptoms in its early stages but if left untreated, hypothyroidism can lead to other serious health problems, such as high cholesterol and heart problems. One of the first noticeable signs for most people is a loss of energy. When the thyroid gland which controls your metabolism is not working properly, you become tired and lethargic. Tasks which used to be easy to complete become insurmountable to finish. Unfortunately, many people attribute this lagging energy to simply “growing old.” Usually, you will notice yourself slowly gaining weight has come with your growing sense of tiredness. Some studies report that 60% of men with hypothyroidism have expressed concerns about low libido, erectile dysfunction, or delayed ejaculation. Hypothyroidism has also been shown to affect semen quality which is associated with lower sperm count, poor formation, and slower movement. These factors can potentially lower fertility. About 20% of people with hypothyroidism will experience weak muscles, and almost 35% of people have reported muscle cramps in the arms and legs. These symptoms usually go away once treatment is started. Some of the other symptoms that you might experience due to an underperforming thyroid are:
- More sensitivity to cold.
- Dry skin.
- Weight gain.
- Puffy face.
- Hoarse voice.
- Coarse hair and skin.
- Muscle weakness.
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness.
- Menstrual cycles that are heavier than usual or irregular.
- Thinning hair.
- Slowed heart rate, also called bradycardia.
- Memory problems.
What are the causes of hypothyroidism?
The primary cause of hypothyroidism is an underactive thyroid gland that doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone. The natural process of aging is the primary reason this production level drops; however, the presence of a growth or tumor in the thyroid can affect the thyroid’s effectiveness and that is why a scan of the thyroid is frequently ordered. Some families have a history of thyroid disorders and this is why a medical practitioner needs to take a complete medical family history from you as part of any diagnosis. Another gland disorder can be found in the pituitary gland which is responsible for producing the thyroid-stimulating hormone TSH. If you suffer from any auto immune diseases, you are at risk of developing a thyroid disorder. Medical treatments for cancer, as well as certain prescriptions, can cause a low-performing thyroid.
How do you treat hypothyroidism?
Treating hypothyroidism in men is important. A treatment plan formulated by your medical practitioner can prevent permanent health problems and reverse many of the symptoms from which you have been suffering. The main treatment plan is a thyroid replacement pill. It is taken every day. Your healthcare provider will monitor your symptoms and your thyroid levels in your blood regularly until the right dose is found for you.
The most common medications are Armour Thyroid® and Synthroid®. Synthroid® is a synthesized form of the hormone T4. Its major disadvantage is that it does not contain T3 which is the active form of the thyroid hormone. This lack of T3 may lead to you having to take a second medication for the T3 if your body fails to use the T4 to make adequate amounts of T3. Armour Thyroid® is the more natural of the two medications and is made from the desiccated liver tissue of an animal, usually a pig. This medication contains both T3 and T4, and many physicians feel that this medication as a natural substance is tolerated better by their patients than a substance made exclusively in a lab.
Why is treatment important?
If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause serious complications. Some of the problems that may occur if hypothyroidism is left untreated for a long period of time are:
- Goiter or enlarged thyroid gland
- Heart diseases such as slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Peripheral neuropathy
Is there a difference between hypothyroidism in men and hypothyroidism in women?
Hypothyroidism affects about 5% of the population. Women are 5-8 times more likely to suffer with hypothyroidism than men; however, all suffers, both men and women, pay the price of diminished energy, low libido, depression and weight gain which are only a few of the common symptoms of this disorder which has such a negative impact on people’s lives. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed the same way for both men and women. A diagnosis is based on a physical exam, symptoms, medical history, and blood work. A thyroid function test is used to measure the levels of T3 and the levels of T4 hormones made by the thyroid gland. Sometimes a scan of the thyroid is done to check for any abnormalities in the thyroid gland.
How can Androgenix help?
If you feel tired or sluggish, the medical practitioners at Androgenix are here to help. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms discussed above of have any concerns about other areas of your health, please contact our office and make an appointment with our staff to get a complete blood work-up and a physical examination. Our staff of caring healthcare practitioners are here to answer your questions and develop an appropriate treatment plan for you. You will be monitored by our team for treatment effectiveness and side effects of any recommended treatment on a regular basis. Our team at Androgenix is always here to support your journey to a better, healthier, and happier you. Every person who enters our doors is treated as an individual deserving of care and respect. We can help you feel and look better. Give us a call today.
- What Does Hypothyroidism Look Like in Men? – GoodRx
*Unless otherwise stated, individual results may vary depending on many factors not all patients “feel” or achieve the same results.