This week we celebrate National Men’s Healthcare week with Thyroid Disease Education, the week of Father’s Day weekend. How fitting is that? There is no better way to celebrate fathers and men alike than to encourage them to take care of their health.
Thyroid disease in men can have similar symptoms to those of a woman who has thyroid issues. However, men can exhibit symptoms that are unique only to male patients; one example being low sperm count or erectile dysfunction. A contributing factor to this could be that women are about 10 times more likely than men to suffer from thyroid issues.
Often times thyroid symptoms are overlooked in men (and women) because some of the men’s symptoms are not always associated with thyroid dysfunction. Men should stay proactive when it comes to their healthcare. According to a study, approximately 3% to 16% of men can get hyperthyroidism, and 20% of thyroid cases are found in men, and the risk increases as they age.
Potential Thyroid Symptoms in Men
- Hair Loss
- Low Libido
- Low Sperm Count
- Erectile Disfunction
- Loss of Muscle Mass
- Lowered Testosterone Levels
- Gynecomastia (male breast enlargement)
- Graves’ disease
- This condition causes an overabundance of thyroid hormone that can result in hyperthyroidism. Men with this condition report unwanted muscle loss/weight loss, mood changes, irritability, muscle pain, heat intolerance, and increased appetite as well.
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Hashimoto’s disease or underactive thyroid is a common condition that causes hypothyroidism. Typical symptoms in men often include weight gain, slowed metabolism, cold intolerance, fatigue, depression, hair loss, constipation, muscle cramps, joint pain, hormonal irregularities, and weakness.
Potential Treatment Options for Thyroid Disease in Men
- Anti-thyroid drugs – These medications stop the thyroid from producing excessive hormones.
- Beta-blockers – These medications don’t alter the amount of thyroid hormones in the body, but they significantly help control the symptoms.
- Radioactive iodine – This treatment damages the thyroid cells, preventing them from producing high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Surgery – In surgery, the healthcare provider surgically removes the thyroid (thyroidectomy). However, you’ll need to take thyroid hormone supplements for the rest of your life.
- Thyroid RFA – Thyroid RFA is a minimally invasive treatment option performed by interventional radiology that is an alternative to surgery in some patients with thyroid nodules.
Other items that are essential to be aware of and address are food sensitivities. For instance, reactive foods activate an inflammatory response in the GI tract, resulting in malabsorption of nutrients and also producing intestinal permeability every time they are eaten. Supplementing nutrient depletions can also help in treating thyroid disease. Taking medications, eating conventionally grown foods, having food sensitivities, altered gut flora, gut inflammation, gut infections, poor digestion, malabsorption issues, and even hypothyroidism in itself can cause nutrient depletions.
Top things to look out for regarding thyroid disorders and men’s health:
- Pay attention to the symptoms
Paying attention to the symptoms is the first line of diagnosis that your thyroid is not working properly.
- Look at the family history
If you have got a family history of thyroid disease, it maximizes the likelihood of having a thyroid condition.
- Address adrenal fatigue
When we’re in a fatigued state of our adrenals, the fight-or-flight response is activated. Unfortunately, this can make the body constantly be in “emergency mode” and trigger a feeling of not being safe.
- Eliminate toxins
Especially, halogens (found in the fluoride, bromide, and chloride forms) can take up receptor sites in the thyroid gland and ultimately cause inflammation and thyroid cell death, resulting in autoimmune thyroiditis development.
Since this is Men’s Health Week and Father’s day is right around the corner, the best gift to give dad is the encouragement to lead a healthy lifestyle throughout the year. Encouraging the men in our lives for annual visits to a primary healthcare physician is recommended to ensure that blood-sugar levels, blood pressure, thyroid function, and cholesterol are appropriate. It’s the first step to improving his chances of living a healthier, longer, and happy life!
Disclaimer: None of the information posted is intended as medical, legal, or business advice, or advice about reimbursement for health care services.