Male Hypothyroidism: Research Says Men Should Listen to Their Bodies
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid (a butterfly-shaped gland located in front of your windpipe) fails to produce enough of its vital hormones that are required for the proper functioning of many of your bodily systems.
Although many people assume this condition occurs exclusively among women, hypothyroidism also occurs in men. Male hypothyroidism can be difficult to diagnose, and it carries with it a lengthy list of unpleasant symptoms that include:
- Poor concentration and memory
- Low libido and/or erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Elevated cholesterol and weight gain
- Low blood pressure and arrhythmias
- Dry skin
- Thinning outer eyebrows
- Feeling cold
Men: Take Your Symptoms Seriously
Yes, sometimes “man-ing up” means you need to take your circumstances at face value and soldier on in spite of them. On the other hand, when it comes to ignoring symptoms that just keep piling up, sometimes it means that you need to lay your machismo aside, and just talk to your provider about how you are feeling.
A 2015 research project published in the Journal Clinical Endocrinology examined gender differences in the symptoms reported by patients newly diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
147 subjects, both men and women who presented with an elevated TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), a low free thyroxine level, and who reported at least 1 symptom suggesting hypothyroidism were compared to control subjects of similar age, area of origin, and gender whose bloodwork showed normal thyroid output.
The most common symptoms reported were fatigue (80.6%), dry skin (62.1%) and difficulty breathing (51.4%).
When the data from all participants was analyzed, 73.7% of women from the control group reported symptoms of hypothyroidism that could not be confirmed by their bloodwork. Symptoms alone proved to be an unreliable predictor of hypothyroidism in women in this particular study.
However, a significant number of men reporting 2 to 3 hypothyroid symptoms in fact had hypothyroidism, confirmed by blood tests. In other words, the researchers concluded that, based on the data, the presence of hypothyroid symptoms is a more reliable diagnostic tool for men than for women.
While the reasons for these results are somewhat unclear, there is a useful lesson to be drawn from the results:
Men experiencing symptoms should take them seriously and strongly consider a visit to their medical provider for proper testing. It’s important to find out whether male hypothyroidism is the root cause of the symptoms and to learn about suitable treatment options.
Male Hypothyroidism and Worsening Hormone Imbalance
There’s another crucial reason to listen to your body if you detect the symptoms of male hypothyroidism:
You could wind up with low testosterone.
When your body’s systems are operating properly:
- The thyroid gland produces healthy levels of thyroid hormone, which stimulate the hypothalamus to produce GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone
- GnRH in turn signals the pituitary gland to produce LH (luteinizing hormone)
- LH signals the testes to produce testosterone
It’s easy to see how this vital process could unravel if it was short circuited by poor production of the thyroid hormone responsible for initiating the whole process:
- Insufficient thyroid hormone could lead to an insufficient level of GnRH may be produced
- The message to the pituitary gland may be disrupted, causing low production of LH
- Insufficient LH production means the testes won’t be signaled to produce healthy amounts of testosterone
As a result, you could be left with chronically low testosterone levels that fall into symptomatic territory.
It’s important to understand that your hormonal system is complex, and imbalances can carry serious consequences.
Male Hypothyroidism: Learn More
Hypothyroidism isn’t just a condition that affects women—men can suffer from underactive thyroid as well. I will go on to say that until I personally got my own thyroid care on track, I didn’t respond to TRT the way I knew that I should.
If you’re concerned, our comprehensive video will provide valuable information regarding the symptoms of male hypothyroidism and the available treatment options.