If you’ve been missing some periods lately but are too young to suspect perimenopause, have you considered low thyroid as a possible cause?

But keep in mind that even a woman of perimenopausal or premenopausal age can still develop underactive thyroid disease.

“Low thyroid can indeed lead to irregular cycles,” says Marcelle Pick, MSN, OB/GYN, NP, in private practice and co-founder of Women to Women Health Center, and author of the book, “Is It Me or My Hormones?

Oligomenorrhoea refers to infrequent menstruation, but this term does not necessarily apply to occasionally skipping a period.

And there are cases in which the infrequency of menstruation is a particular woman’s normal or typical baseline – it’s nothing surprising; it’s the way things are for her.

While for others, beginning to miss periods is a new phenomenon that strays from her baseline of monthly cycles.

Common causes of missed periods in younger women include emotional stress, excessive running or other intense aerobic exercise, obesity and anorexia nervosa.

Low Thyroid and Periods

“When someone is not producing enough thyroid hormone, normal body functioning does not occur,” says Pick.

“The thyroid. when not working properly. may cause the body to produce either too much or too little prolactin which is another hormone. When the prolactin levels become altered this causes a disruption in the menstrual cycle.”

Other Symptoms of an Underactive Thyroid

You probably already know that unintentional weight gain, fatigue, feeling cold and hair loss are symptoms. But there’s quite a few more that may surprise you.

  • Constipation for no apparent reason
  • Dry skin
  • Hoarse voice
  • Puffy face
  • Stiff or tender muscles
  • Unusually slow heart rate
  • Elevated cholesterol level
  • Unexplained depression
  • Memory impairment
  • Tingly or numb sensation in the fingers

A simple blood test can show the presence of a thyroid disorder. Hypothyroidism can also cause heavier-than-normal menstruation.

marcelle pickMarcelle Pick holds a BS in nursing from the University of New Hampshire School of Nursing and her MS in nursing from Boston College-Harvard Medical School. She is certified as an OBGYN nurse practitioner.