Can women with hypothyroidism start perimenopause/menopause earlier?

Treated hypothyroidism is not explicitly associated with early menopause. However, Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) is associated with autoimmune thyroid disease. Thyroid problems can occur in 14–27% of women with POI, so these women should be tested for thyroid peroxidase antibodies and screened for thyroid-stimulating hormone levels at presentation.

Can people with hyperthyroidism start perimenopause/menopause earlier?

Hyperthyroidism does not specifically cause an earlier menopause. Uncontrolled hyperthyroidism can cause stress across your hormone system. For this reason, it can affect, and even stop, menstrual periods in fertile women and increase perimenopausal symptoms in women who are already nearing, or in, the menopause transition. Once the overactive thyroid is treated, these effects may subside. They may also continue if your body was already heading towards perimenopause before the thyroid problem began.

If I am prescribed testosterone, could this interfere with my thyroid medication?

If you are prescribed testosterone and your blood levels are normal, this should not impact your thyroid medication. Very high doses of testosterone (used as anabolic steroids, not replacement doses) can affect thyroid levels.

How can I tell if my symptoms relate to my thyroid condition or menopause?

That is not easy. Your doctor should ensure that your thyroid levels are optimised. If your symptoms continue and there are no other apparent causes menopause is the likely culprit. Lifestyle can help a lot with menopause symptoms, but if you continue to struggle, then talk to your doctor about treatment options.

Can having a thyroid condition make menopause symptoms worse?

Yes, it can because thyroid hormones control your metabolism. So, if your thyroid function is not stable and your metabolism is either too high, too low, or changing rapidly, that can impact in different ways on your menopause symptoms. However, as long as your thyroid condition is treated optimally, and is stable, there should be minimal impact on your menopause symptoms.

If women without a thyroid condition are presenting with menopause-like symptoms, should their thyroid function also be checked? 

If you have developed typical menopause symptoms after the age of 45 years, then a thyroid test is not usually needed. 

If you have severe symptoms that are not consistent with menopause alone, or if you have any ‘red flag’ features identified by your doctor, such as unexplained weight gain, weight loss or palpitations, among other symptoms, then your doctor will check your thyroid levels.

Is it safe to take menopause supplements and other preparations if I have an existing thyroid condition?

It is important to take thyroid hormone medication on an empty stomach. You can take such supplements, but you should not take ones containing calcium within about four hours of your thyroid medication. You should also always wait at least 30 minutes after you take your tablet before consuming food, milk, tea or coffee.