While hypothyroidism tends to be more prevalent in women than in men, that means it’s all the more important to talk with a medical professional if you are a man concerned about your thyroid health.
Hypothyroidism is often caused by autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a common cause), but can also be the result of damage to your thyroid, including surgery, or even as the result of treatment for an overactive thyroid.
Some hypothyroidism symptoms are similar in men and women, but there are some symptoms that tend to turn up more often in men. First, I’ll list some of the general symptoms of hypothyroidism, and then some of the symptoms that are more common in men—including erectile dysfunction.
Common hypothyroidism symptoms
Hypothyroidism slows down your body’s metabolism and even energy production—down to the cellular level—and these are some of the most common symptoms.
- Goiter (swelling of the thyroid gland
- Feeling cold
- Difficult time concentrating
- Tiring easily
- Weight gain
- Dry skin and brittle nails
- Sore muscles
Symptoms that are more common in men
Men who have hypothyroidism may not in fact be gaining weight, but they may find that they are losing muscle (and muscle strength).
Premature balding, or even abrupt hair loss, including body hair and eyebrows, also tends to be a hypothyroidism symptom more common in men than women.
Some men also experience a loss of interest in sex and trouble having erections. Think about it: hypothyroidism basically slows your whole body down. That often includes your sex drive.
A study comparing men with hypothyroidism to men without it found that men with hypothyroidism had significantly more instances of erectile dysfunction than men without the disease.
What should you do if you suspect that you have hypothyroidism?
You should talk with a trusted medical provider about your symptoms and request a test for your thyroid hormone levels. Many doctors will only recommend one test, but there are multiple tests that can determine in more detail what is going on with your thyroid.
There are several treatment options, including both synthetic and natural forms of thyroid hormones. Work with a doctor you trust, who will listen to your concerns, to determine the best treatment options for you.