Are you affected by irregular periods? Is it Hypothyroidism?

A prevalent health issue is Hypothyroidism when the thyroid gland does not generate enough thyroid hormones. Menstrual irregularity is one of the potential hypothyroidism symptoms, and it affects women more frequently than males. This article will examine the connection between Hypothyroidism and irregular periods and the reasons and treatment alternatives.

What exactly is Hypothyroidism?

The thyroid gland is butterfly-shaped in the neck that secretes the hormones that control the body's metabolism. When the gland does not secrete enough thyroid hormones, Hypothyroidism develops. This condition causes various symptoms, such as weight gain, lethargy, anxiety, and irregular periods. Hypothyroidism is typically caused by an autoimmune disorder called Hashimoto's thyroiditis, which damages the thyroid gland and impairs its function.

What are "Irregular Periods"?

Menstrual cycles that are less than the usual 21 days or longer than 36 days or that fluctuate by more than seven days from month to month are considered irregular. It is common for women to have occasional irregular periods, but if it becomes a regular occurrence, it may be a sign of an underlying health issue, including Hypothyroidism.

How Hypothyroidism Affects Menstrual Cycle

The thyroid hormones are crucial in regulating the menstrual cycle, and their deficiency can lead to irregular periods. The thyroid hormones interact with other hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, which are involved in the menstrual cycle. When the thyroid hormones are low, it can disrupt the delicate balance of these hormones and cause irregular periods.

Hypothyroidism can also cause anovulation, in which the ovaries cannot produce an egg during the menstrual cycle. Anovulation can lead to missed periods or irregular periods. In addition, Hypothyroidism can cause excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding, known as menorrhagia.

Other Causes of Irregular Periods

Several other health conditions can cause irregular periods, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that affects women of reproductive age. PCOS can cause irregular periods, weight gain, acne, and excessive hair growth.

Endometriosis is another condition that can cause irregular periods. It occurs when the tissue that lines the uterine wall grows outside of it, causing pain and irregular bleeding. Uterine fibroids, noncancerous growths in the uterus, can also cause irregular periods and heavy bleeding.

Stress, weight fluctuations, and certain drugs can disrupt the menstrual cycle and result in irregular periods.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can result in a variety of symptoms, including −

  • Fatigue and weakness

  • Weight gain or difficulty losing weight

  • Cold intolerance

  • Dry skin and hair

  • Constipation

  • Joint pain and stiffness

  • Depression

  • Memory problems

  • Menstrual irregularities

  • Hoarseness

The symptoms of Hypothyroidism can develop gradually, making it difficult to recognize the condition. In some cases, the signs may be subtle and may be attributed to other health issues, such as aging or stress.

What are the Diagnosis Procedures?

If you are experiencing symptoms of Hypothyroidism, your doctor may recommend some tests to check your thyroid hormone levels. The following are some standard tests used to diagnose Hypothyroidism −

  • Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test − This test measures the level of TSH in your blood. The pituitary gland produces TSH, which encourages the thyroid gland to create thyroid hormones. If the TSH level is high, it may indicate that your thyroid gland is not producing enough thyroid hormones.

  • Free T4 test − This test measures your blood's free thyroxine (T4) level. T4 is a thyroid hormone crucial in regulating the body's metabolism. If the T4 level is low, it may indicate Hypothyroidism.

  • Total T3 test − This test measures your blood's total triiodothyronine (T3) level. T3 is another thyroid hormone that regulates the body's metabolism. If the T3 level is low, it may indicate Hypothyroidism.

  • Anti-thyroid antibody test − This test detects the presence of thyroid-attacking antibodies. The most common antibodies associated with Hypothyroidism are thyroid peroxidase (TPO) and thyroglobulin (Tg).

  • Thyroid ultrasound − This imaging technique creates pictures of the thyroid gland using high-frequency sound waves. It can help detect any abnormalities in the gland, such as nodules or enlargement.

Treatment for Hypothyroidism

The treatment for Hypothyroidism involves taking thyroid hormone replacement therapy. The most commonly prescribed medication is levothyroxine, a synthetic form of the thyroid hormone. The drug is usually taken orally once a day, and the dosage will depend on your thyroid hormone levels.

Your doctor may need to alter the dosage to ensure it works properly. It is essential to take the medication as prescribed and to follow up with your doctor regularly to monitor your thyroid hormone levels and adjust the dosage as needed.

In addition to medication, making lifestyle changes can also help manage Hypothyroidism. This includes −

  • Having a nutritious diet − People who consume a nutritious diet can support thyroid function and enhance overall health.

  • Getting regular exercise − Exercise can help improve metabolism and reduce the risk of weight gain, which is a common symptom of Hypothyroidism.

  • Managing stress − Stress can affect thyroid function and exacerbate the symptoms of Hypothyroidism. Stress management strategies such as meditation or yoga, for example, can assist in reducing stress and increase general well-being.

Once the thyroid hormone levels are restored, it can help regulate the menstrual cycle and alleviate the symptoms of Hypothyroidism, including irregular periods.


Hypothyroidism is a common health condition that can cause many symptoms, including irregular periods. If you have hypothyroidism symptoms, you must consult your doctor and be tested to establish the underlying reason. With proper diagnosis and treatment, Hypothyroidism can be managed effectively, and the symptoms can be alleviated.

FAQs Relating Hypothyroidism and Irregular Periods

Q. Can Hypothyroidism cause irregular periods?

A. Yes, Hypothyroidism can cause irregular periods. Thyroid hormones govern the menstrual cycle, and an underactive thyroid can cause anomalies such as missing periods, severe bleeding, or longer or shorter menstrual cycles.

Q. How is Hypothyroidism related to fertility?

A. Hypothyroidism can affect fertility by disrupting the menstrual cycle and reducing the chances of ovulation. It can also influence egg development and maturation and the quality of cervical mucus, making sperm fertilization more difficult.

Q. Can treating Hypothyroidism improve menstrual irregularities?

A. Yes, treating Hypothyroidism with thyroid hormone replacement therapy can improve menstrual irregularities by restoring the expected levels of thyroid hormones in the body. Once the thyroid hormone levels are balanced, the menstrual cycle should become more regular.

Q. How long does it take for hypothyroidism treatment to improve menstrual irregularities?

A. The amount of time it takes for hypothyroidism treatments to improve menstruation irregularities varies according to the severity of the problem and the individual's reaction to treatment. In some cases, menstrual irregularities may improve within a few months of starting treatment, while it may take longer in other cases.

Q. Can Hypothyroidism cause infertility?

A. Hypothyroidism can contribute to infertility by disrupting the menstrual cycle and reducing the chances of ovulation. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, most women with Hypothyroidism can conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.

Q. Can Hypothyroidism affect hormone levels other than thyroid hormones?

A. Yes, Hypothyroidism can affect the levels of other hormones in the body, such as estrogen and progesterone, which can lead to menstrual irregularities and other symptoms. However, restoring the expected levels of thyroid hormones through treatment can also help improve the levels of other hormones.

Q. Can Hypothyroidism cause other gynecological problems?

A. Hypothyroidism can cause other gynecological problems, such as fibroids, endometriosis, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). These conditions can contribute to menstrual irregularities and fertility issues. You must consult your doctor if you suffer any gynecologic symptoms other than Hypothyroidism

Updated on: 01-Mar-2023


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