How can I tell if my symptoms relate to my thyroid condition or menopause?

Menopause and thyroid issues can exhibit similar symptoms, making it hard to differentiate between the two. As a result, it is not uncommon for thyroid symptoms to be attributed to menopause and vice versa, considering both are prevalent among midlife women. The British Thyroid Foundation reports that 12-20% of women over 60 may have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), highlighting the significant overlap. Read on to discover the key disparities between thyroid issues and menopause symptoms.

Understand the differences

The Thyroid: This butterfly-shaped gland plays a vital role in regulating your body’s metabolism, impacting everything from body temperature to heart function. It produces hormones that are released into the bloodstream, influencing various processes. Hypothyroidism (underactive) and hyperthyroidism (overactive) are the two main thyroid conditions, with hypothyroidism being more common in menopausal women.

Menopause: This natural transition marks the end of your menstrual cycle and fertility. It occurs due to depleted egg stores and triggers a significant decline in oestrogen, a crucial hormone affecting various bodily functions. This hormonal shift is responsible for many of the changes women experience during perimenopause (the transition phase) and menopause.

Is there a connection between going through menopause and having a thyroid condition?

The relationship between menopause and thyroid health becomes even more intriguing when considering the role of oestrogen. During menopause, oestrogen levels decrease significantly, causing many of the associated symptoms. Interestingly, research suggests that oestrogen levels might also influence thyroid function, with declining levels potentially reducing the production of thyroid hormones.

Thyroid disorders and menopause: where the symptoms overlap

Take a look at this table to see which symptoms are common to both thyroid conditions and menopause:

Thyroid Disorders & Menopause: Where the Symptoms Overlap

Take a look at this table to see which symptoms are common to both thyroid conditions and menopause

Weight Gain
Weight Loss
Hot Flashes
Mood Swings
Irregular Periods
Reduced Libido
Vaginal Dryness
Joint pains
Muscle aches
Low mood
Difficulty concentrating
Itchy skin
Bulging eyes
This table compares and contrasts the overlapping symptoms of thyroid conditions and menopause

How to tell the difference between a thyroid condition and menopause

Due to the overlapping symptoms, the most accurate way to differentiate between a thyroid condition and menopause is through a blood test. You can book an appointment with your doctor or opt for an at-home test kit like DocHQ Thyroid Check, MenoBalance Check and Menopause Check.

DocHQ’s screening tests:

  • DocHQ Thyroid Check: This test measures thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels and serum-free thyroxine (T4) levels.
  • DocHQ Menopause Check: This test screens follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) levels.
  • DocHQ Menobalance Check: This test identifies an imbalance in your Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH),
    Luteinising hormone (LH), oestradiol, progesterone, testosterone, and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) hormones 

Remember, if your thyroid hormone levels (T4 and TSH) fall within the normal range, other factors, like menopause, could be contributing to your symptoms.

While menopause and thyroid issues can share similar symptoms, understanding the underlying causes and nuances can help you distinguish between them.