There is a common misconception that thyroid diseases affect only women. This is not true. Men can (and do!) get it too. Men face additional symptoms apart from those common in both genders. It's very important for men to diagnose their thyroid disease on time and get the right treatment.
Approximately 5% of people of the total population are suffering from hypothyroidism. Further, 5% of people are not even aware that they are dealing with thyroid disease. Sometimes it is left undiagnosed leading to complications.
If left untreated, thyroid disease can induce serious complications. Thyroid treatment should focus on a permanent cure instead of a temporary fix.
In this blog, let’s see the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment of thyroid problems in men. Read on to know more.
Causes of thyroid diseases in men
Thyroid diseases occur because of the inability of your thyroid gland to function properly. In some cases, the thyroid produces too little T4 & T3, and in other cases, too much.
We found that 80% of thyroid diseases are due to autoimmune conditions. In this condition, your immune system mistakenly attacks your healthy thyroid cells. As a result, you develop thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
Autoimmune diseases are more common in women than in men. However, hypothyroidism in men is also a significant cause for concern and needs prompt treatment.
Here are some common thyroid symptoms in men.
Common thyroid symptoms in men and women
Hypothyroidism means your thyroid produces inadequate thyroid hormones. This slows down your metabolism, reduces energy levels, and leaves you feeling tired all day. Some common hypothyroidism symptoms in men and women are:
Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid means your thyroid is producing more hormones than needed. Overproduction of thyroid hormones might damage your health in many ways. The most common hyperthyroidism symptoms people face are:
- Weight loss
- Increased sweating
- Frequent bowel movements
- Hair loss
- Irregular heartbeat
Thyroid symptoms in men only
The above-mentioned symptoms are common in both men and women. But there are also specific symptoms of thyroid problems in men.
This mainly involves the male reproductive organs and conditions mediated by male hormones such as testosterone.
Sexual dysfunctions are one of the most common thyroid symptoms in men. According to a study, the prevalence of sexual dysfunctions in hypothyroid men is 59-63% and in men with hyperthyroidism is 48-77%.
Some of the severe sexual dysfunctions that men experience are discussed below:
Trouble in bed is one of the topics that men are most embarrassed to admit to or visit a doctor for. However, it’s better to get over your reservations soon.
Erectile dysfunction (ED) is one of the most common symptoms of thyroid problems in men. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause ED.
In a study of 48 adult men (34 with hyperthyroidism and 14 men with hypothyroidism), these were the findings. 64.3% of men with hypothyroidism had ED. 14.7% of men with hyperthyroid men had ED.
Studies show the prevalence of ED is reduced significantly after appropriate treatment of thyroid disease for 8-9 months. This means that just maintaining normal thyroid hormone levels can help restore your sex drive and maintain an erection.
Also, it is advised that men with ED should opt for thyroid tests before beginning their ED treatment. Curing the root cause of thyroid diseases should be the first step and then you can focus on ED treatment.
Ejaculatory dysfunction is a problem of ejaculating too late or too soon. Men with hypothyroidism have a higher risk of delayed ejaculation (DE) and it is one of the hypothyroidism symptoms in men. Men with hyperthyroidism might have the risk of premature ejaculation (PE).
A study believes that considering hyperthyroidism as an underlying cause of PE might improve the efficacy of treatment.
Semen quality and sperm count:
Testosterone is the main hormone in males responsible for fertility, sperm production, muscle mass, and certain other functions. According to a study, deficit or excess thyroid hormones are found to reduce sperm morphology, sperm motility, semen quality, and sperm density.
It is now evident that the thyroid plays a major role in the sexual functions of men. These sexual dysfunctions might result in infertility in some men. Treating thyroid problems in men should be the priority to improve the overall quality of life.
However, there are many other problems also that men with hypothyroidism face. There are a few:
A problem in the thyroid gland can show its impact on the hair as well. Severe hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can cause premature balding in men. The thyroid plays an important role in the development of hair follicles.
If you are imagining an old man with a bald head, that’s not going to be you! This type of balding is not like age-related balding commonly seen in men. Treating your thyroid on time can result in the regrowth of your hair.
Men with hyperthyroidism may also experience an uncomfortable enlargement of breast tissue called gynecomastia.
This is a rare condition only seen in severe cases. Gynecomastia can completely resolve after your thyroid treatment.
Loss of muscle mass:
Loss of muscle mass is one of the hypothyroidism symptoms in men. In Hashimoto thyroiditis, when your body does not absorb nutrients properly it uses the protein available in muscles for energy.
This might cause a loss of muscle mass. Fixing the thyroid hormone through medication, diet, and lifestyle can reverse this symptom completely.
Diagnosis of thyroid disease in men
Thyroid symptoms in men need a proper diagnosis before starting treatment. If you are encountering any of these thyroid symptoms in men, then approach a thyroid specialist for your diagnosis and treatment.
Your doctor would first advise you to undergo thyroid function tests. These tests include a series of blood tests measuring TSH, T4, T3, free T4, and free T3. These tests conclude if you are suffering from hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.
Sometimes your thyroid doctor might suggest a thyroid antibody test to check for autoimmune conditions. Positive results indicate either Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Grave’s disease.
Treatment: Thyroid symptoms and cure
Men with thyroid disorders experience thyroid symptoms and a cure for their disease requires a holistic approach. This means along with medications, diet and exercise must be done regularly.
Majority of the thyroid disorders are autoimmune in origin. Depending only on medication for thyroid symptoms may not cure your disease completely.
Diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, meditation, and proper sleep together contribute to the complete cure of the disease. Thyroid specialists who can guide you through this journey must be preferred.
Men also encounter thyroid disorders and experience a wide range of symptoms. Symptoms of thyroid problems in men also include sexual dysfunctions.
Starting thyroid treatment promptly is a must to control symptoms and improve quality of life.
The thyroid gland governs the entire body's function and proper thyroid health should be maintained. A thyroid disorder might affect the whole body if it is not cured.
Jeevam health aims at curing the root cause of thyroid problems and not just suppressing the symptoms.
Book a call with Jeevam Health to begin personalized treatment for your thyroid disease.