The thyroid is an endocrine gland located in the front of your neck. It's main function is to convert iodine into thyroid hormones, which regulate your body's metabolism. If the gland malfunctions, hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid condition, or hypothyroidism, an under active thyroid condition, can develop. Although thyroid problems are more common in women, men are also affected. According to CBS Money Watch, men represent about three million of the fifteen million North American thyroid sufferers. The signs of thyroid problems in men vary and depend on whether the thyroid gland produces too many hormones or not enough.
The thyroid produces two major hormones: thyroxine and triidothyronine. They regulate and maintain all of the basic tissues and cells in the body; however, when a man's body produces too much of these hormones, hyperthyroidism develops. Heart palpitations, diarrhoea, lethargy, muscle weakness and exhaustion indicate hyperthyroidism in men. Other physical symptoms include breast enlargement, hair loss, unexplainable weight loss, trembling hands and skin that bruises easily. A man may also experience emotional and sexual symptoms, such as the sudden onset of depression and impotence.
Hypothyroidism develops when the thyroid gland does not produce or secrete enough metabolism regulating hormones into the body. Some of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are the same as those of hyperthyroidism, such as hair loss and fatigue. Other symptoms are the exact opposite. For instance, instead of weight loss, an underactive thyroid gland causes sudden weight gain. Other signs of hypothyroidism in men are dry skin and hair, constipation, high cholesterol and sudden changes in voice. Also, a man may often feel cold and have trouble concentrating or maintaining memory.
Another thyroid problem in men involves lumps that develop on the thyroid gland. When the thyroid's cells divide too rapidly, they may stick together and form tumours. Edward Joseph, a writer for CBS Money watch, notes that one in 60 men may have thyroid tumours, but most are not cancerous. Although most thyroid tumours in men are benign, they can cause symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism to appear, or a combination of both. Some signs that indicate the presence of a tumour are difficulty swallowing, neck pain or a hoarse voice. Generally, thyroid tumours do not cause noticeable symptoms and they are usually only discovered by a doctor during an exam.