The thyroid gland, is a small, butterfly-shaped organ in the neck, and plays a massive role in regulating our body’s functions. Despite its size, its influence on our health as a woman is massive, with approximately one in eight of us experiencing thyroid-related issues at some point in their lives.

Thyroid disorders often stem from autoimmune responses, where the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its own cells. While the exact triggers remain unknown, we do know that autoimmune conditions are more common in women than in men.

Recognising the Symptoms

The thyroid gland primarily secretes thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones, and any disruption in their balance can lead to thyroid disorders, notably hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).

Awareness of the symptoms of a thyroid problem is crucial for it to be treated. Given its influence on our metabolism, energy levels and overall wellbeing, thyroid dysfunction can make us feel like we are on an emotional rollercoaster.

Common symptoms of an underactive thyroid include fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance and changes in hair and skin texture. Whereas, an overactive thyroid may present with weight loss, increased heart rate, anxiety and heat intolerance.

Thyroid dysfunction can also disrupt our menstrual cycle, causing us to have irregular periods and also fertility issues. Hormonal imbalances associated with thyroid dysfunction can give us mood swings, anxiety and depression, so you can see why this gland has such an impact on our mental and emotional health when it is not working correctly.

How is thyroid dysfunction diagnosed and treated?

Thyroid dysfunction can be difficult to diagnose because symptoms are easily confused with other conditions. Fortunately, there is a test, called the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test, that can identify thyroid disorders even before the onset of symptoms.

The goal of treatment for any thyroid disorder is to restore normal blood levels of thyroid hormone. An underactive thyroid is treated with a drug called levothyroxine. This is a synthetic hormone tablet that replaces missing thyroid hormone in the body. 

An overactive thyroid, is generally more difficult to treat, requires the normalisation of thyroid hormone production. Treatment could involve drug therapy to block hormone production, radioactive iodine treatment that disables the thyroid, or even thyroid surgery to remove part or the entire gland.

The most popular treatment is radioactive iodine. This therapy often results in hypothyroidism, meaning that a synthetic replacement hormone called levothyroxine is used to restore balance in your body again.

Early Detection and Management

Effective management of thyroid disorders hinges on early detection and appropriate treatment. Regular check-ups, more awareness of symptoms and clearer communication with your doctor are pivotal in reducing potential complications and enhancing your quality of life.

In Dubai, we are lucky to have access to a wealth of knowledge and medical expertise in thyroid health. Dr Georges Hajje, a Consultant Endocrinologist at Mediclinic Middle East, specialises in thyroid disorders, including hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and thyroid cancer. He has more than 15 years of experience in endocrinology across various hospitals in the UAE, France and Lebanon.

How to book?

You can book an appointment with him at multiple locations, including Mediclinic Welcare Hospital by calling 800 1999, Mediclinic Creek Harbour at 800 1999 and Mediclinic Al Sufouh at 800 1999.