Underactive Thyroid In Men: Its Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

The thyroid gland is butterfly shaped gland and is situated in the anterior aspect of the neck. The clinical picture of hypothyroidism varies widely in men, and depends up on the duration and intensity of deficiency.

Hypothyroidism is the medical terminology used for an under-active thyroid gland. In this condition, the thyroid fails to synthesize sufficient quantity of the thyroid hormones. The thyroid hormones are vital to have a good metabolic activity, to sustain normal body temperature and for the manufacture of protein. T3 and T4 are the chief thyroid hormones, and a shortage of these two disrupts the rate of metabolism and can trigger various signs and symptoms.

By and large, thyroid dysfunction and disorders are commoner in women than in men. When thyroid insufficiency occurs in men, there is a wide range of symptoms and clinical manifestations. Some men may complain of only one main symptom, whilst others show a spectrum of clinical features. A few may experience certain non specific symptoms, such as exhaustion, weariness or muscle pain.

Underactive Thyroid Symptoms In Men

  • Sluggishness, exhaustion and weariness.
  • Inexplicable weight gain.
  • Constipation.
  • Joint and muscle pains.
  • Dry skin.
  • Increased sensitivity to cold.
  • Hair loss.
  • Depression.
  • Decreased heart rate.
  • Decreased libido.

Left untreated, further symptoms develop, these are:

  • Puffiness of the face.
  • Slowness of speech.
  • Thinning of the eyebrows.
  • Diminished sense of smell and taste.
  • Thickening of the skin.

What Causes Underactive Thyroid In Men?

  • By and large, hypothyroidism occurs due to an autoimmune disease, called Hashimoto’s thyroditis. Antibodies are produced against the body’s tissues by the immune system itself. In Hashimoto’s thyroditis, the immune system synthesizes antibodies to assault and annihilate the thyroid gland cells and this affects the gland’s capability to manufacture hormones.
  • Certain drugs and medicines used to manage hyperthyroidism may be the cause of hypothyroidism.
  • Surgery performed to excise a segment of the thyroid may unfavorably influence the synthesis of T3 and T4.
  • Diseases of the pituitary gland affects the production of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), this in turn, leads to hypothyroidism.
  • Iodine deficiency is another significant cause
  • Radiation therapy for cancer of head and neck and intake of medications such as amiodarone are important causes too.

Treatment For Underactive Thyroid Or Hypothyroidism

  • Hypothyroidism is managed with levothyroxine, artificial thyroid hormone supplement. This reinstates normal levels of the thyroid hormones. More often than not, medication needs to be taken lifelong. The dosage of drug is altered by your endocrinologist with time, and is decided by assessing the level of TSH in the body.
  • Most importantly, along with the drug, you need to watch your diet and lifestyle pattern. Certain foods help cope with an under-active thyroid gland better. Protein-rich foods, iodine supplementation, dietary fiber, selenium and vitamin A, C, B1, B3 and B6 are recommended for hypothyroidism.
  • Step up your daily intake of tomatoes, prunes, nuts, soy, limes and celery. Also, mineral and vitamin supplements are advised, but do confer with your physician before starting them.
  • Exercise at least thrice a week for 20 to 30 minutes; exercising will boost your metabolic activity and help you in managing optimal body weight.
  • Another factor to consider is stress management. Follow at least one stress busting technique every day.

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