Thyrotoxicosis of the thyroid gland – what is it? Symptoms, causes and treatment
Symptoms of thyrotoxicosis in women are manifested in disruptions in the digestion and nervous system. Thyrotoxicosis (or hyperthyroidism) is an increased activity of the thyroid gland, during which the amount of hormone production increases (according to Wikipedia). This condition can be complicated by the accompanying intoxication of the body.
As a result, there are malfunctions in the functioning of the endocrine, digestive, cardiovascular and nervous systems. Most often women are susceptible to thyrotoxicosis, this is due to the fact that men are much less likely to suffer from thyroid dysfunction.
During the development of thyrotoxicosis, the following stages are distinguished:
- Stage 1 of thyrotoxicosis is mild. There is no clearly expressed clinical picture of thyrotoxicosis symptoms in a woman, the patient may have complaints only of minor manifestations, such as insomnia, headache, increased irritability.
- Stage 2 of thyrotoxicosis is medium. There is a noticeable decrease in body weight, and the rate of weight loss can reach up to 10 kg per month. At the same stage, a symptom of a rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath in a woman is noticed.
- Stage 3 of thyrotoxicosis is severe. With severe exhaustion of a woman, damage to internal organs occurs against the background of a symptom of general intoxication of the body.
Subclinical thyrotoxicosis is another possible manifestation of the disease in a woman. With it, there are no symptoms at all, but an excess of thyroid hormones can be seen on laboratory blood tests.
Causes of the disease
The thyroid gland is very small, but its importance in the activity of the body is simply enormous. The health of a woman in general, and metabolic processes in particular, depends on its functioning in the most direct way.
The main hormones it produces are thyroxine and triiodothyronine (T3 and T4) and calcitonin . Body temperature, the rate at which the body uses carbohydrates and fats depends on T3 and T4 . Calcitonin is involved in the regulation of blood calcium.
All of the above hormones play an important role in heart rate and protein production.
Too active activity of the thyroid gland and, as a result, increased synthesis of hormones can be associated with a number of reasons.
The causes of thyrotoxicosis symptoms in women include:
- Graves’ disease (or diffuse toxic goiter) most often has autoimmune causes, because of them antibodies are produced by the thymus gland, which themselves destroy their own cells.
- toxic adenoma – a node that appears in the thyroid gland begins to produce hormones.
- diseases of the pituitary gland, which are of a benign nature.
- traumatic conditions and operations on the thyroid gland, as well as inflammatory processes in it.
- the use of preparations containing iodine.
- excessive intake of artificial hormones.
- malignant diseases of the uterus and ovaries with the production of hormones outside the gland.
- period of pregnancy and childbirth.
Diffuse goiter and thyroid adenoma are the most common causes of thyrotoxicosis.
Classification of the disease
Classification of thyrotoxicosis in a woman:
- drug thyrotoxicosis is actually an overdose of thyroxine.
- a destructive form of thyrotoxicosis is an incorrect reaction of the thyroid gland to various kinds of external stimuli. In this case, the follicles of the gland disintegrate and a huge amount of hormones are released into the blood.
- autoimmune thyrotoxicosis ( thyroiditis ) – a reaction to abnormal activity of the immune system.
- the central form occurs with pathology of the pituitary gland.
- gestational – diagnosed in women during pregnancy against a background of high hCG levels.
In 2% of women of reproductive age, manifestations of thyrotoxicosis and its symptoms are found. Among older women, this figure reaches 10%.
Regardless of the above types of thyrotoxicosis, their clinical symptoms are approximately the same. The only exceptions are Graves’ disease and autoimmune thyroiditis . In these cases, a symptom of pronounced bulging, dermatopathy and type 1 diabetes mellitus appears .
The most common symptoms include:
- a symptom of mood swings, depression, irritability and anxiety. They arise due to the detrimental effect of excess amounts of thyroid hormones on the nervous system and, especially, on the brain and its structure. Women have excessive fussiness, they tend to make unnecessary movements. Tremor of the upper extremities is often noted, it is especially pronounced in a position when the arms are extended forward.
- a symptom of increased fatigue. This is due to the lack of the amount of energy to which the body is accustomed.
- a symptom of sweating and hot flashes to the head
- weight loss with a normal diet.
- a symptom of an abnormal heart rhythm, a rapid pulse.
- bowel dysfunction symptoms: constipation, flatulence, frequent loose stools. Abdominal pain and vomiting are possible.
- symptoms of frequent urination, and because of this, there is a strong thirst.
- increased blood sugar.
- body temperature often rises to 37.5 degrees. Thyroid hormones are substances that prevent viruses from entering the body. The increased body temperature is aimed precisely at combating them.
- brittle hair and nails, early graying.
- disruptions of the menstrual cycle, amenorrhea, infertility, miscarriages. Miscarriages occur due to increased muscle tone of smooth muscles, which is caused by the negative effect of thyroxine.
- sleep problems. Although the feeling of fatigue is constantly present, a person cannot sleep. If this happens, then the sleep is very short-term and superficial, not bringing the proper rest.
- decrease or absence of sexual desire.
- an increase in neck volume, insignificant in the eyes of the patient and his relatives, but obvious to an experienced specialist. This can make it difficult to swallow and breathe. This manifestation occurs when thyrotoxicosis is accompanied by active growth of the thyroid gland.
- bulging (or exophthalmos) is a rather specific symptom. In this case, the palpebral fissure increases, and the eyeball moves forward, as it were. This phenomenon usually affects both eyes at once.
Already during the diagnosis, according to the results of a visual examination and a survey, the doctor is able to assume the presence of thyrotoxicosis . However, it is imperative to diagnose thyroid function so that the diagnosis can be confirmed. Therefore, laboratory blood tests are important in this case.
Based on their results, the content of hormones in the blood serum is determined. Thyrotoxicosis corresponds to a low level of TSH and an increased level of T3 and T4. If TSH is low, and T3 and T4 are normal, then this indicates a latent form of thyrotoxicosis.
Related article: Symptoms of a cough with thyroid disease
In addition to this blood test for thyrotoxicosis, a number of additional examinations are also carried out:
- blood tests for the presence of antibodies (this test is effective for establishing an autoimmune form of thyrotoxicosis).
- Thyroid ultrasound and scintigraphy . These studies allow us to consider the size of the gland, see the nodes and signs of malignant neoplasms, changes in tissues of a diffuse nature. Scintigraphy is performed using iodine.
- biopsy of the thyroid gland.
- MRI and / or CT.
The main medications for the treatment of symptoms of thyrotoxicosis of uncomplicated forms are thyrostatics , which prevent the production of an excessive amount of hormones T3 and T4 in a woman. These medications include Merkazolil and Tiamazol .
The duration of the course and the dose should be determined only by the attending physician. Treatment of symptoms of thyrotoxicosis in a woman can be quite long. But it should not exceed two years.
The result of the resulting treatment of thyrotoxicosis symptoms in a woman must be constantly monitored, and the first control analysis must be carried out after two months of taking the medication. This allows for timely adjustment of drug doses in the treatment of symptoms of thyrotoxicosis in a woman.
These drugs should not be taken immediately at the maximum allowed dose.
The medicine is tested with small doses. If, during the treatment of thyrotoxicosis symptoms in a woman, a decrease in free T4 is observed, then the dosage is reduced, but also under constant control. For pregnant women, such treatment of thyrotoxicosis symptoms is not suitable, since there is a threat of blocking the thyroid of the embryo.
Along with the above drugs, adrenergic blockers are prescribed for thyrotoxicosis and therapy for other internal organs in case of indigestion, metabolism, cardiac activity.
Patients with diffuse toxic goiter are also prescribed Prednisolone to relieve symptoms of thyrotoxicosis.
The drug does not allow the release of T3 and T4 from the follicles of the thyroid gland, which has a beneficial effect on improving the activity of the adrenal cortex and reduces tissue infiltration.
Along with the drug treatment of thyrotoxicosis symptoms, a woman is strongly advised to start leading a healthy lifestyle: eliminate bad habits, engage in health improvement with the help of various procedures and sports.
If, after two years of treatment, it is not possible to achieve positive dynamics in the removal of symptoms of thyrotoxicosis, then surgery may be indicated. This is necessary in the following cases:
- violations of the normal functioning of the thyroid gland for over two years (decompensation).
- enlargement of the thyroid gland up to 60 ml3 and more.
- recurring episodes of illness after a course of treatment.
- the occurrence of knots.
- adenoma of the thyroid gland.
- individual intolerance to thyreostatics .
- malignant neoplasm of the thyroid gland.
There are also a number of contraindications to surgical intervention for thyrotoxicosis, these are: renal and hepatic failure, serious diseases of the cardiovascular system.
During the operation at the time of thyrotoxicosis, a partial resection of the thyroid gland is performed. The operation may result in hypothyroidism, but this is not a complication. This is followed by the treatment of the woman with thyroxine.
How to treat correctly: radioactive iodine therapy is used, as a rule, when methods of drug treatment have been used, and they have not brought results. The principle of this method is as follows: the drug enters the body and accumulates in the thyroid gland of a woman.
Then there is a disintegration within eight days and the release of particles that participated in the decay of organ cells. Because of this process, the production of thyroid hormones decreased.
Such treatment of thyrotoxicosis symptoms is impermissible during pregnancy and lactation, in childhood and up to 18 years, as well as if the goiter volume exceeds 100 ml3, in the presence of nodes and cancer, hepatitis and liver cirrhosis.
After a course of radioiodine therapy, it is necessary to take a course of taking thyroxine analogues to relieve the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis in a woman.
Possible complications of thyrotoxicosis
Sometimes it happens that in the course of thyrotoxicosis, a complication such as a thyrotoxic crisis develops. This state is facilitated by:
- severe mental stress or physical strain.
- incorrect medication or incorrect therapy.
- surgical interventions.
- diseases of an infectious nature.
A woman’s condition in a crisis at the time of thyrotoxicosis is usually severe, with severe heart failure, high blood pressure and high temperature. Usually with nausea and vomiting. At the same time, body temperature can rise to 40-41 degrees. A woman should be given emergency care, because her condition is very dangerous and can be fatal.
Thyrotoxicosis and pregnancy
Due to significant changes in the hormonal background of a woman with thyrotoxicosis, pregnancy against such a background is almost impossible.
If conception nevertheless happened, then it is necessary to contact the antenatal clinic as soon as possible – patients with thyrotoxicosis need constant monitoring.
There is a danger for both the woman and the child (the formation of congenital deformities is possible) due to this pathology. However, modern therapeutic methods for relieving the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis allow a woman to bear a child, avoid the negative effects of the disease and give birth to a healthy baby, subject to all the recommendations of the attending physician.
With such a disease as thyrotoxicosis, pregnancy planning is of great importance. It is very important for a woman to undergo a full examination with the passage of all the necessary specialists, laboratory and apparatus tests to identify the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis.
It is impossible to name any specific preventive measures to avoid thyrotoxicosis. Particular attention to your health should be given to those who have had cases of thyroid problems in their family.
Such people should be periodically examined by an endocrinologist for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland. Sometimes it happens that in the course of thyrotoxicosis, a complication such as a thyrotoxic crisis develops.
Women who are diagnosed with hyperthyroidism should adhere to a special diet with high calorie foods to fully restore the body’s energy reserves to avoid exhaustion.
It is imperative to limit seafood, which contains a large amount of iodine – this can aggravate the woman’s condition and cause the disease to progress.
It is necessary to remember one very important rule – many complications and negative consequences can be safely avoided provided that the symptoms of thyrotoxicosis are detected in a timely manner and adequate treatment.