As you reach your mid 40s and 50s, you may notice signs of menopause like mood swings, depression, weight gain, and irregular menstrual cycles. It is true that these symptoms can be early signs of perimenopause; however they may also indicate the onset of a thyroid problem. Thyroid problems & menopause share the same symptoms thus making it difficult to distinguish between the two. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing menopause symptoms or if you have any thyroid-related problems. Your doctor may refer you to an endocrinologist or a gynecologist based on your test reports.

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of your neck. It's main job is to produce hormones that help regulate your body's metabolism. These thyroid hormones help your brain, heart, muscles, and other organs to function properly. An imbalance in the production of thyroid hormones may lead to thyroid problems.

Shared symptoms of menopause and thyroid problems

Menopause and underactive thyroid:

Irregular menstrual cycles, fatigue, forgetfulness, mood swings, weight gain, cold intolerance

Menopause and overactive thyroid:

Hot flushes, heat intolerance, rapid heartbeat, insomnia

How to distinguish between menopause and thyroid problem?

The following key differences may help you differentiate between menopause and thyroid problems

Details Menopause Thyroid problems
Age Occurs between your 40s and 50s, although some symptoms can occur earlier or later in life Most commonly occur between your 30s and 60s
Body temperature Hot flushes and night sweats Increased sensitivity to cold in case of underactive thyroid
Weight Increase in weight Unplanned weight loss in case of overactive thyroid
Hair loss Potential loss of eyelash or eyebrow hair Pattern baldness and hair thinning
Ache and pain Muscle tightness, breast tenderness, joint pain Swelling in arms, legs or neck
Other symptoms Vaginal dryness, painful intercourse, loss of interest in sex, urinary problems Digestive problems like constipation and diarrhea
Diagnostic Tests To measure the levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) To measure the levels of thyroid stimulating hormones (TSH)