World Thyroid Day 2023: What Causes Thyroid Problems In Women?

    Thyroid Problems In Women: Why Is It Becoming More Common In India?

    World Thyroid Day 2023: In India, approximately 42 million people are estimated to suffer from thyroid disorders, and women are disproportionately affected. The prevalence of thyroid disorders among women is considerably higher than among men, with the female-to-male ratio. Hypothyroidism affects many women. It is estimated that around 32 million people in the country have hypothyroidism, with a significant majority being women. The condition is more prevalent in older age groups, especially women over 35. The thyroid gland regulates various bodily functions in the front of the neck. Unfortunately, thyroid problems, particularly among women, have become increasingly common in recent years. In this article, Dr Vrinda Agarwal, Consultant Endocrinology, CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, explores the various thyroid problems in women, their causes, and why their prevalence appears to rise.

    What Is Hypothyroidism?

    Hypothyroidism results in insufficient production of thyroid hormones. Common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, depression, hair loss, and cold intolerance. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism is characterized by an overactive thyroid gland, leading to excessive production of thyroid hormones. As a result, symptoms of hyperthyroidism often include weight loss, anxiety, irritability, increased heart rate, and heat sensitivity. In addition, thyroid nodules, lumps or abnormal growths may cause various symptoms depending on size and activity.

    The thyroid gland produces two essential hormones: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones control metabolism, regulate body temperature, influence energy levels, and ensure proper growth and development failed thyroid gland lead to several disorders, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid nodules.

    Several factors contribute to the development of thyroid problems in women

    1. Firstly, there is a vital genetic component, as thyroid disorders tend to run in families.
    2. Secondly, certain autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease, play a significant role in thyroid dysfunction.
    3. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition, destroys the thyroid gland, resulting in hypothyroidism.
    4. Graves’ disease, another autoimmune disorder, causes the thyroid gland to produce excessive amounts of hormones, leading to hyperthyroidism.

    Hormonal Changes In Women

    Furthermore, hormonal changes during various stages of a woman’s life contribute to thyroid problems. For example, pregnancy and postpartum periods often bring about fluctuations in hormone levels, which can trigger or exacerbate thyroid disorders. Postpartum thyroiditis, for instance, is a condition that affects women after giving birth, resulting in temporary thyroid dysfunction. Additionally, menopause, with its associated hormonal changes, can also impact thyroid function.

    Lifestyle Factors

    Environmental factors and lifestyle choices may also contribute to the increasing prevalence of thyroid problems in women. For example, exposure to certain chemicals, such as perchlorates and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) found in water and some industrial products, has been linked to thyroid dysfunction. Additionally, iodine deficiency, although less common in many developed countries due to iodized salt, remains a concern in some regions and can lead to thyroid disorders.

    The increasing prevalence of thyroid problems among women can be attributed to several factors:

    1. Improved diagnostic techniques and awareness have resulted in better identification and reporting of thyroid disorders.
    2. Changing lifestyles, such as increased stress levels, sedentary habits, and dietary changes, may contribute to thyroid dysfunction.
    3. The rise in environmental pollutants and exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals may also play a role.


    Thyroid problems in women, including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, and thyroid nodules, have become more common in recent years. Genetic predisposition, autoimmune diseases, hormonal changes, environmental factors, and lifestyle choices contribute to developing thyroid disorders. The increasing prevalence of these conditions can be attributed to better detection methods, changing lifestyles, and environmental factors. Early detection, proper medical care, and lifestyle modifications can help manage thyroid problems and improve the quality of life for affected women.

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