Contents from this article were shared in an article published in TV9 Hindi on 9.3.2023 featuring Mugdha. This article was written to serve as input for the same following a query from TV9.
The thyroid gland is a small butterfly-shaped gland in our neck. It produces thyroid hormones which play critical roles in our body function. In particular, they control the rate of metabolism or the rate at which our body is running and burning energy.
The thyroid gland and its associated hormones make a very complex, sophisticated system. This is why it isn't easy to treat thyroid dysfunction. There are a number of different things that could go wrong and the reason for the same is much more so. This is why it can often be difficult to uncover the root cause of thyroid dysfunction.
Thyroid issues, particularly hypothyroidism are known to have a much higher prevalence among women than men. According to the Cleveland Clinic, women are about 5 to 8 times more likely to be diagnosed with a thyroid condition.
But what is the reason for this vast disparity? There isn’t a single big reason for it. Some of the different ways in which women differ from men make them more prone to this condition:
- The estrogen hormone which is dominant in women interacts with the thyroid hormones in ways that increase the risk of dysfunction of the thyroid. Fluctuations in the estrogen and progesterone levels create a cascade of hormonal effects that can negatively impact thyroid function as well.
- Pregnancy, which is exclusive to women is a huge stressor on the body and can strongly impact the thyroid hormones as well. A lot of women develop thyroid conditions post-pregnancy.
- Women use a lot of personal care products that have many artificial fragrances and chemicals. These things are big endocrine disruptors and negatively affect thyroid function. Women are also more involved in household cleaning and cleaning products include strong artificial fragrances that are endocrine disrupting.
- Restricted eating is much higher in women. Women are more affected by body image issues and go on diets much more commonly than men. Undereating can cause blood sugar imbalances and very commonly leads to hypothyroidism. Women also tend to skip meals more often than men.
- Women are more subdued and tend to bottle up their feelings rather than express them openly. This leads to increased internalized stress which can cause elevated cortisol levels and lead to thyroid issues. People dismiss this stuff as unscientific, but the thyroid gland also sits exactly where the Throat Chakra lies. The Throat Chakra signifies the power of your speech-being honest and communicate what you feel in your heart.
- Women are genetically primed to hold on to more fat than men who are primed to be more muscular. The hormonal conditioning that enables fat storage is one that induces stress and negatively affects thyroid function.