Overactive thyroid symptoms in men

Updated March 23, 2017

Although women experience thyroid disease with greater frequency than men (one in 50 women to one in 500 men, according to one British study by BUPA), men can and do develop thyroid problems. Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) symptoms in men are essentially the same as they are in women. Since thyroid disease is more prevalent in women, men who are experiencing these symptoms should bring up thyroid disease with their doctors, especially if they have a family history of thyroid disease

Skin, Nail and Hair Symptoms

Hyperthyroidism can cause many changes to skin, nails and hair. Overall, the skin may appear thicker and velvety. Increased pigmentation, flushed faces and red palms are also possible. The skin may feel hot to the touch and increased sweating is common, especially on the palms and feet. Nails tend to grow very quickly and hair will fall out. In extreme cases, pretibial myxedema, a condition in which deposits of plaque accumulate on the shins causing the skin to appear bumpy, may occur. These symptoms should improve with treatment.

System Overdrive

A hyperactive thyroid speeds up the metabolism, which has several impacts. Patients with hyperthyroidism often complain of feeling nervous, edgy and agitated. They also may experience difficulty concentrating and general fatigue. Tremors and heart palpitations/irregular heartbeat are also common complaints. Intolerance to heat accompanies this "revved up" feeling. These symptoms abate when thyroid function normalises with treatment.

Weight Changes

Because hyperactive thyroids speed up the metabolism, weight loss is a very common symptom. Some people lose a few pounds while others lose a significant amount of weight, depending on the severity of the thyroid malfunction. The lost weight is often regained after treatment when the thyroid is returned to normal.

Impotence and Infertility

Impotence is the one male-specific symptom of hyperthyroidism. Infertility often accompanies hyperthyroidism in both sexes. These symptoms should reverse themselves when the thyroid problem is treated.

Goitre and Eye Problems

Hyperthyroidism can cause the fat behind the eyes to swell and push the eyeballs forward, causing them to look protruded. This symptom is most common in hyperthyroidism caused by the autoimmune condition Grave's disease. The thyroid may also swell, which causes a goitre to appear. A goitre is a lump on the neck that is caused either by swelling of the entire thyroid or swelling of a small part of the gland. The goitre may go away with treatment, but protruding eyes may persist even when the thyroid function returns to the normal range

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About the Author

Lily Welsh is a freelance writer from North Carolina, though she has spent much of her adult life living abroad. She is the Guide to Music Careers, and her work appears frequently in other Web-based and print publications. Welsh has worked in the music industry for 15 years and counting and holds B.A.s in international studies and economics.