Hyperthyroidism and Periods: A Guide

Medically Reviewed By Kelly Wood, MD

Hyperthyroidism can affect periods and the menstrual cycle in many ways. Examples include causing irregular, lighter, or stopped periods, and decreasing fertility. However, treatments for hyperthyroidism and menstrual symptoms can be effective. Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. It is also known as an overactive thyroid.

Thyroid hormones help control the menstrual cycle. As a result, hormonal imbalance caused by hyperthyroidism may have an impact on the reproductive system and menstrual cycle.

Learn more about hyperthyroidism and periods, including effects, causes, and treatment.

How hyperthyroidism affects periods 

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Hyperthyroidism can have many effects on periods and the reproductive system, including Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source :

  • Irregular periods: Hyperthyroidism can lead to irregular menstrual cycles. This can include changes in the length of the whole menstrual cycle, when a period starts, and a period’s duration.
  • Lighter periods and spotting: Periods may become lighter Trusted Source Office on Women's Health Governmental authority Go to source than usual or present as spotting rather than steady bleeding.
  • Fewer or stopped periods: In some cases, hyperthyroidism can cause Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source periods to become less frequent or completely stop.
  • Fertility problems: Hyperthyroidism can affect fertility by interfering with ovulation, the release of eggs from the ovaries. Irregular or absent periods can also make it more challenging to conceive.
  • Early menopause: Hyperthyroidism may cause Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source menopause before the age of 40. This is due to its effects on hormone balance and the reproductive system. However, the link between the two is complex and differs from person to person.

The effects of hyperthyroidism on periods can vary per person. This can be due to several factors, such as the duration and severity of hyperthyroidism.

Talk with your doctor if you notice any new symptoms or have questions about how hyperthyroidism may affect you.

Q: Can you still ovulate and get pregnant with hyperthyroidism?

Anonymous

A: You can still ovulate with hyperthyroidism, but you may not ovulate every month. As a result, getting pregnant may be difficult but not impossible.

Kelly Wood, MD Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.

Why hyperthyroidism affects periods

Researchers are still studying exactly how hyperthyroidism affects the menstrual cycle. Although, some research suggests it may disrupt the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. This is the network of hormones that regulate menstruation.

For example, the thyroid hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) help regulate Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source the release of the reproductive hormones known as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). FSH and LH help control the growth and release of eggs from the ovaries. 

With hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces T3, T4, and other thyroid hormones in excess. This, in turn, impacts the release of reproductive hormones.

Other factors and possible causes

While hyperthyroidism can affect the menstrual cycle, other Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source factors and conditions can also contribute Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source to similar symptoms.

Ot Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source h Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source er Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source possible causes of unusual menstrual symptoms include Trusted Source PubMed Central Highly respected database from the National Institutes of Health Go to source :

Contact a doctor if you have hyperthyroidism and are experiencing changes in your usual menstrual symptoms. They can help to rule out other possible causes.

Treating period problems and hyperthyroidism

Treatment for period symptoms linked to hyperthyroidism mainly focuses on treating the underlying hyperthyroidism.

Possible treatment options include:

  • Antithyroid medications: These can help reduce thyroid hormone production, and include drugs such as:
    • methimazole (Northyx, Tapazole)
    • propylthiouracil (Propycil), which can be taken during the first trimester of pregnancy
  • Radioiodine therapy: This treatment uses radioactive iodine-131 to kill the thyroid gland cells and stop thyroid hormone production.
  • Thyroidectomy surgery: This is a procedure that involves removing the thyroid gland to stop thyroid hormone production.

Read more about thyroidectomy, including its procedure, benefits, and risks.

While radioiodine therapy can sound harmful, the radioactive substance used doesn’t affect other body tissues and is considered safe. However, radioiodine therapy cannot be used for people who are pregnant or nursing.

Some treatments can also lead to hypothyroidism because they completely stop thyroid hormone production. In such cases, doctors can provide daily thyroid hormone replacement medications.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), hypothyroidism can be easier to treat than hyperthyroidism. It may also lead to fewer long-term health complications.

Learn more about hypothyroidism, including its symptoms, causes, and treatment.

Improving thyroid function may help improve or resolve period changes. However, responses to treatment may vary per person.

Doctors can also provide self-care advice for period symptoms with hyperthyroidism. This can include monitoring your menstrual cycle with a diary or app.

Summary

Hyperthyroidism can impact your period, such as by making periods lighter, shorter, or irregular. It can also lead to fertility problems and early menopause.

Treatment to address the underlying hyperthyroidism may help improve your period symptoms. Treatment options include antithyroid medications, radioiodine therapy, and surgery.

Talk with a doctor if you have hyperthyroidism and experience changes in your typical period symptoms. They can also answer questions about hyperthyroidism health effects.

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Medical Reviewer: Kelly Wood, MD
Last Review Date: 2024 Jan 12
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