Goiter, Migraines and Menopause, how Thyroid Disorders Affect These 3 Things
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Goiter, Migraines and Menopause, how Thyroid Disorders Affect These 3 Things

Goiter, Migraines and Menopause, how Thyroid Disorders Affect These 3 Things. Natural supplements will not help most cases of hypothyroidism

This article is written as a Factoid response to the following question:

"What Are the Natural Supplements to Reduce Symptoms of Post Menopause?

I had some problem of puberty goitre for which treatment was taken during school days. After marriage i started having migraine, generally pre or post mentruation lasting three days. I had menopause at about 50. Before menopause my migraine had improved alot. But after menopause for past about one year,I am 52 now, my migraine has further resurfaced. It occurs several times in a month and continues generally for three days. What should I do?"

The following is my answer:

For many people reading this article, it would seem as though these are unrelated health issues.  However, problems with goiter during puberty, pregnancy and post menopause are fairly common and can lead to the symptoms which you are describing.

First, What is Goiter?  Goiter (spelled "Goitre" in the U.K.) is a swelling of the thyroid gland, usually caused by some type of thyroid dysfunction.  It is not cancerous.  Goiter, when it is left untreated, can lead to very visible swelling of the neck and larynx.  In most of the world, especially the developing world and then more often in places which do not get easy access to seafood, goiter is most commonly caused by an iodine deficiency.  This is also true in areas such as Australia and New Zealand, where many diets do not get an adequate amount of iodine.  In most of the developed world, especially where iodized salt is common, the most common cause of goiter is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - an autoimmune disorder where the body's own immune system attacks the thyroid gland.  Hashimoto's Thyroiditis is considered to be the most common form of hypothyroidism (low thyroid) within North America.  People with Goiter can have normal levels of thyroid hormone (euthyroidism), excessive levels (hyperthyroidism) as well as low levels (hypothyroidism).

*** One important note which needs to be made about this:  Health food stores and online ads are filled with supplements for hypothyroidism which claim to help those feelings of sluggishness and being overweight by aiding the body in making more of its own natural thyroid.  However, these will have absolutely no effect if your one of the majority of North Americans whose own immune system is attacking their thyroid gland.  Therefore, most forms of hypothyroidism need to be treated with a hormone replacement medication.  For that reason, you will need to see a doctor.

Goiter is most commonly found in people with hyperthyroidism (such as Grave's disease) or hypothyroidism.  Hypothyroidism is most usually the cause of goiter among adolescents, especially in girls.  In addition, the chances of goiter increase once a woman has hit menopause.  For me, reading your question, this is a gigantic red flag.

  1. You have a history of goiter during puberty, which is not uncommon for girls.
  2. The migraines started again after marriage, around the time of menses
  3. The migraines got much worse post menopause, when the chances of getting goiter once again sharply increase.  Goiter also is found more often in women and in those over 50.  You fall into both of those categories.
  4. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis also affects women far more often then men.  It also tends to be more frequent in those between the ages of 45 and 65.

In addition, symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  • Include migraines and other headaches.
  • Include fatigue and muscle weakness.
  • Include weight gain and constipation.
  • Can include hair loss.
  • Sensitivity to cold.
  • Is most common in women and in people over 40.

Do any of these things sound familiar?  For these reasons, rather than looking into a "natural" supplement for being post-menopause, I feel it would make more sense to address a possible thyroid disorder, of which you already have a history. 

First and foremost, you need to see a doctor, pronto:

  1. You need to have your thyroid checked, even if you are currently taking thyroid medication.  Thyroid levels can still change, even drastically.  I know this from personal experience, having had hypothyroidism since I was in my early 20s.
  2. They, in turn, need to see if this is a problem of goiter returning, or other problems relating to your thyroid gland.  They need to check your iodine levels and if things are looking suspicious, you will need to be checked for thyroid cancer.  Though this is not common within the U.S., a risk factor for thyroid cancer involves having a history of goiter
  3. Whether or not your problems are related to Goiter, you could still easily be having problems with hypothyroidism, including Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.  This cannot be treated with natural supplements which are designed to help your own body produce thyroid.  Your body's own immune system will still attack this as long as your own thyroid gland is active.  Only a thyroid replacement medication can help correct this.
  4. Hormones.  Here's the kicker.  Some forms of hormonal medication and supplements can actually negatively affect your thyroid medication.  A usual culprit is birth control pills.  From personal experience, I know that the entire time I took birth control pills, I never once had my thyroid check out at normal levels.  The moment I stopped taking birth control pills, my thyroid levels actually spiked and my thyroid dosage, for the first time ever, had to be decreased.  For this reason, any hormonal supplements you might want to take should be approved by the doctor, or at least make the doctor aware that you are taking them.  Herbal supplements such as Dong Quai may indeed help regulate estrogen levels and hormonal imbalances but it is not going to help a thyroid disorder even one iota if your own immune system is attacking your thyroid gland.  As I have mentioned above, in cases of hypothyroidism, this is usually the case.  In addition, Dong Quai can have some dangerous interactions with other drugs.  Some studies have also shown that Dong Quai does not work better than placebo when treating menopausal problems, or it may need to be used with additional supplements.  In addition, it should never be used by people who have bleeding disorders.  It is always a good idea to read more about a supplement than that which is used to market it.

I tend to say this at the end of most of articles about natural health and remedies because it needs to be said:  I am a huge advocate for natural health and natural remedies.  I strive to stay abreast of the latest Commission E findings, though information from Germany into English-speaking countries can be slow and somewhat lacking in information.  Still, I am not a doctor.  Those other responses to your question are not from doctors.  Someone with a a history of chronic or serious (or potentially serious) health issues should see a doctor for expert medical advice.  Be certain to tell her what other medications or supplements you are currently taking.  Open up a dialog and express any questions or concerns you may have, including questions or concerns about any treatments or medications she might recommend. If you feel your questions or concerns are not being adequately addressed, it is extremely reasonable to get a second opinion.  In your case, that should be an Endocrinologist.

I hope you found this article useful.  If so, you might also appreciate:

Thank you.

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