Can Men Have Thyroid Issues? Symptoms You Need To Know

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We make it easy for you to participate in a clinical trial for Hyperthyroidism, and get access to the latest treatments not yet widely available - and be a part of finding a cure.


Hyperthyroidism, known as overactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces more hormones than usual. The thyroid is a small gland found beneath your Adam's apple and controls how your cells use energy.

The most common cause of hyperthyroidism is Graves’ disease, followed by Plummer's disease. Hyperthyroidism is much more common in women, which means symptoms in men can sometimes get overlooked. Additionally, this condition is more likely to affect people over 60 years old. 

Thyroid problems in men

As in women, men can suffer equally detrimental effects on their health.

Causes of hyperthyroidism in men

Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in both men and women. Other causes include:


Thyroiditis is thyroid inflammation, which can sometimes cause thyroid hormones to leak into the bloodstream excessively.

Overexposure to sources of iodine

Iodine is a key nutrient that the thyroid uses to make its hormones. You will produce fewer of these hormones with a low-iodine diet.

Overdose of thyroid hormone medication

In some cases, people medicated for hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can be overmedicated, raising their hormone levels excessively. This can be prevented by having regular appointments with a doctor to check your hormone levels.

Tumor in the pituitary gland (non-cancerous)

This is relatively rare but can cause hyperthyroidism.

Overactive thyroid nodules

These are lumps in your thyroid that produce excess hormones. The condition can include Plummer's disease.

General symptoms of hyperthyroidism

Hyperthyroidism affects many organs in the body, which means it can cause many different symptoms. Some common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty focusing

  • Tiredness

  • Hair loss

  • Bulging eyes

  • Tremors

  • Increase in appetite

  • Increase in sweat production

  • Irregular menstruation

  • Nervousness

  • Problems sleeping

  • Frequent bowel movements

  • Swelling of or on the thyroid gland (goiter)

  • Anxiousness

  • Weight loss

  • Heat intolerance

  • Changes in fingernails and/or toenails

  • Racing heart

  • Heart palpitations

Male-specific symptoms of hyperthyroidism

Males sometimes display specific symptoms, including:

  • Sexual dysfunction

  • Mild depressive symptoms

  • Breast development

Symptoms related to male sexual health

Sexual dysfunction can include:

  • Erectile dysfunction

  • Ejaculatory dysfunction

  • Change in libido

  • Fertility issues

  • An overall decrease in satisfaction

In men with hyperthyroidism, sexual dysfunction has been shown to affect 48–77% of patients. Thyroid hormones also affect the testes, meaning that an impact on sperm quality and quantity can be observed.¹

How thyroid disease differs in men and women

Hyperthyroidism is very similar in men and women, but men can experience additional symptoms, most related to sexual health. It’s important to express your concerns to a medical professional if you suspect you have hyperthyroidism. Symptoms in men can sometimes be ignored since it is less common.

Why is hyperthyroidism less common in men?

It is not entirely known why hyperthyroidism is less common in men. However, one hypothesis is that hyperthyroidism is associated with autoimmune disorders, which are more common in women. Pregnancy and menopause have also been shown to affect thyroid function.²

Diagnosis of hyperthyroidism in men

To diagnose hyperthyroidism, your doctor will perform a physical exam and other tests. They may also ask about your family history, as it can increase the likelihood of the disease’s development. The tests may involve scans or blood tests.

They are necessary because hyperthyroidism shares many of its symptoms with other conditions. The physical exam may include checking your heart rate or inspecting your thyroid gland for any signs of growth or swelling. 

When to get tested

Speak to your medical professional if you suspect you may have this disease. The symptoms listed in this article may be key signs that you are experiencing hyperthyroidism. It’s always best to get tested as soon as you suspect something, as leaving this disease to develop could lead to possible complications, such as:

  • Osteoporosis or a decrease in bone density

  • Heart problems, e.g., irregular heartbeat, rapid heart rate, heart failure

  • Thyrotoxicosis crisis

Treatment of hyperthyroidism in men

Treatment of hyperthyroidism aims to lower your thyroid hormone until they reach healthy levels. The type of treatment you need will depend on the disease severity and what has caused your hyperthyroidism. 

In some cases, if the symptoms are few and manageable, the disease can be controlled by simply avoiding iodine. However, you should consult your doctor before deciding against medical therapy. 

Several treatment options are available, including medication, radioiodine therapy, and thyroid surgery.


Medication can come in the form of beta-blockers or antithyroid drugs. Beta-blockers can reduce the symptoms of hyperthyroidism but do not prevent the thyroid from making hormones. 

Antithyroid medications stop the thyroid from making as many hormones to reduce the symptoms. These medications can sometimes cause side effects; your doctor will discuss these with you before prescribing anything. 

Radioiodine therapy

This treatment involves taking iodine-131 in capsule or liquid form. The iodine is absorbed by only the thyroid gland. It destroys the overactive cells that are producing too much thyroid hormone. 

Radioiodine therapy is an effective treatment. Nevertheless, most people under this treatment develop hypothyroidism later. This condition is the opposite of hyperthyroidism, occurring when your thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones.

Hypothyroidism is much easier to treat. You may be recommended to only take a daily medication that raises your hormone levels, and that’s it. 

Thyroid surgery

Thyroid surgery can remove part or all of the thyroid. This is often used if a large goiter has formed on the thyroid.

The risk of this procedure is that sometimes general anesthesia can cause a sudden upsurge in all symptoms, which is called a thyroid storm. Your doctor may prescribe antithyroid medication before surgery to prevent this from happening. 

Another side effect of thyroid surgery is that it can also cause hypothyroidism, especially if the entire thyroid is removed. This would require you to take daily hormone supplements as your doctor prescribes. 

Common misconceptions about thyroid disease

There are many misconceptions about thyroid disease; some of these include the following:

Only middle-aged women have hyperthyroidism.

This is not true. Anyone can develop this disease despite it being more common in women.

If you have hyperthyroidism, your thyroid will grow a goiter.

Not all people with hyperthyroidism develop a goiter.

Hyperthyroidism causes protruding eyes.

Of the many symptoms caused by hyperthyroidism, bulging eyes is usually only caused by Graves’ disease. Not everyone with hypothyroidism is affected by this.

Any lump on your thyroid is thyroid cancer.

Goiters (growths on the thyroid) are much more common, affecting around 5% of the U.S. population, but only 1–2% of people will get thyroid cancer at some stage of life. Therefore, it is much more likely that the lump on your thyroid is benign or non-cancerous.³ ⁴

The lowdown

Hyperthyroidism is significantly lower in men compared to women. However, this does not mean that men are never affected by it. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism in men can often be overlooked because it is less common, causing the disease to progress into further health issues. 

It can also cause sexual health problems that are not present in women, potentially affecting relationships, self-esteem, and fertility. You must seek advice from a medical professional if you suspect the symptoms may relate to hyperthyroidism. 

Frequently asked questions

What are thyroid problems in men?

Thyroid problems in men can include hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism and be caused by multiple ailments. Thyroid problems are less common in men but can still affect your health. 

How do men fix thyroid problems?

Consult your medical professional for the best approach to treat your thyroid problems. There are several treatment options, including surgery, medication, or supplements, to help you return to normal. The right approach will depend on the cause. 

What are the early warning signs of thyroid problems in males?

Thyroid problems are generally indicated by many symptoms that can often get mistaken for other diseases. Men, in particular, often experience sexual dysfunction due to thyroid disease. This could include erectile dysfunction, ejaculatory dysfunction, or decreased sexual satisfaction. Other symptoms to look out for have been listed in this article's “symptoms” section.

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