All you need to know about thyroid in men
In today’s world, thyroid issues have become common, not only in women but men too. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is one of the most important endocrine glands which secretes the essential hormones. Thyroid hormones control the rate of many activities in our body. These include the rate at which your calories burn, and how far your heartbeats.
Certain thyroid problems include:
- Goiter: enlarging of the thyroid gland
- Hyperthyroidism: when your thyroid gland makes more thyroid hormones than needed
- Hypothyroidism: when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormones
- Thyroid cancer
- Thyroid nodules: lump in the thyroid gland
- Thyroiditis: swelling of the thyroid
While the thyroid is well-known among women, the thyroid is difficult to be diagnosed among men. This is mainly because men are yet to be made aware of the signs and symptoms of thyroid in men.
This article will discuss the signs and symptoms of thyroid in men and the treatment for the same.
Even though thyroid in women is 10 times more common in women than in men, that doesn’t completely rule out the possibility of thyroid in men. Many men don’t get checked for thyroid as they believe they can’t have thyroid problems, even if they have symptoms.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF THYROID
Both men and women experience similar symptoms of thyroid.
This is a thyroid condition in which the thyroid gland cannot produce the needed amount of thyroid hormones. The most common condition is known as Hashimoto's Disease
- Weight gain
- Coarse skin
- Feeling cold
- Muscle ache or stiffness
- Memory problems
- Hair loss
- Enlarged thyroid gland
This condition, your thyroid glands are overactive and secrete more than regular amounts of thyroid hormones. The most common condition is known as Graves' Disease. This autoimmune thyroid condition causes hyperthyroidism.
This is uncommon in men, while women are 8 times more at risk for hyperthyroidism.
The symptoms include:
- Weight loss
- Feeling nervous
- Faster heartbeat
- Heart palpitations
- Increased appetite
- Difficulty in sleeping
There are some thyroid symptoms that are more specific to men. These include:
- Hair loss
- Lower sex drive
- Decreased testosterone levels
- Male breast enlargement
- Loss of muscles
Besides other things, thyroid disease also affects the sexual functions of men and women, which is more visible in males. Sexual health-related symptoms include:
- Erectile dysfunction
- Delayed ejaculation (common in hypothyroidism)
- Premature ejaculation (common in hyperthyroidism)
Sperm-related problems that may lead to infertility include lower sperm counts, poor sperm quality, lower semen volume, etc.
DIAGNOSIS FOR THYROID
The diagnosis for thyroid is the same in men as women. But many healthcare providers tend to miss out on the symptoms as the condition is more common in women than in men. A Thyroid Profile Test including your TSH, T3, and T4 is done to know the situation of your thyroid condition.
Imaging tests are used to look out for signs of thyroid condition that may not be visible to physical examination and blood tests such as goiters and thyroid enlargement. The tests may differ on the basis of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
In case you are suspected of having hypothyroidism the doctor may suggest you undergo an ultrasound. Whereas, if you have hyperthyroidism, you may be suggested the following imaging tests:
- Radioactive Iodine Uptake Test (RAI - U)
TREATMENT FOR THYROID
Treatment depends on whether the patient has hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism patients would be prescribed an antithyroid medication. Once the condition is treated, they may stop having the medication completely or the doctor would decrease the dosage.
Other treatment options include radioactive iodine ablation, and thyroidectomy, which destroys or removes the thyroid gland.
In the case of hypothyroidism, the patient will have to take thyroid hormone replacement medicines, Levothyroxine, a synthetic form of T4. This will be a lifelong treatment.