Most of what you read about thyroid problems is generally directed at women. Some of the common symptoms include difficulty conceiving or menstrual difficulties. Among the causes of an underactive thyroid, you may often see menopause listed. While all of these are true, it leads some people to believe that thyroid problems only affect women. We are here to tell you that men can suffer from over- or underactive thyroid glands, as well, and it can be a real hindrance to your quality of life.
What are thyroid problems?
Your thyroid gland controls your metabolism. It governs your energy levels and how your body burns calories. It does this by producing thyroid hormones T3 and T4. If it is overactive, you are said to have hyperthyroidism. In this case, as your thyroid produces T3 and T4 at too great a rate, you will have trouble keeping weight on; consequently, you will also feel anxious, have trouble sleeping, and you will notice intolerance for heat.
If your thyroid is underactive, that is called hypothyroidism. In this case, you will have no tolerance for cold exposure, and you may notice that you have put on weight, your hair is thinning and you may feel sluggish and depressed.
Your thyroid and your sex life
Your thyroid may also be to blame for problems in the bedroom. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism has shown that about 50% of men diagnosed with hyperthyroidism have problems with premature ejaculation, while about 64% of men with hypothyroidism complained of delayed ejaculation or erectile dysfunction.
That’s right, in addition to other symptoms that could seriously affect your energy levels, self-confidence, and quality of life, an over- or underactive thyroid could cause problems for your love life, as well.
If you have been experiencing an unexplained decrease in sex drive, coupled with weight gain and lethargy, you may have hypothyroidism. If you are having problems with premature ejaculation, and you find that you cannot tolerate heat and/or that you have unexpectedly lost weight, you may have hyperthyroidism.
What should you do?
If you are concerned that your thyroid may be producing too much or too little in the way of T3 and T4, schedule an appointment with an thyroid specialist immediately. The solution may be hormone replacement therapy, or you may need surgery to remove part of your thyroid to reduce its activity.
Doctors treat hypothyroidism by prescribing hormone replacement therapy. You will take replacement T3 and T4 orally, and you should see weight loss and an increase in energy. Be sure to discuss dosages and the right medications for you with your doctor and keep in touch after you have started medication. If your dosage is too high, you may begin to feel antsy and have trouble sleeping. If it is too low, you will feel sluggish and possibly depressive.
If you have hyperthyroidism, your doctor will likely recommend that you undergo surgery to have part or all of your thyroid gland removed. If you only need to have part of the thyroid removed, it will still continue producing thyroid hormones but at a regular rate, and hormone replacement therapy will likely not be needed.
Unfortunately, even when part of the gland is removed, an overactive thyroid may still produce too much T3 and T4. In this case, the entire gland will have to be removed, and you will need to start hormone replacement therapy. Without a thyroid gland you will, unfortunately, have to take medication for the rest of your life to govern your metabolism.
If you think that you have a thyroid problem, make an appointment with your local doctor.