Top 5 Symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism in Women
Women are three times more likely than men to suffer from hyperparathyroidism (parathyroid disease). It is most common in women over the age of 50, though it does affect young people and men as well.
Hyperparathyroidism is devastating is left untreated, and it often causes maddening and debilitation symptoms in many patients. However, the symptoms of hyperparathyroidism are different in different people. Some patients have symptoms making them miserable within the first year of having elevated blood calcium levels. Other patients can go many years without experiencing symptoms. Over time, though, hyperparathyroidism will slowly destroy your body.
Top 5 Symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism in Women
The most common symptoms of hyperparathyroidism in women are chronic fatigue, body aches, difficulty sleeping, bone pain, memory loss, poor concentration, depression, and headaches. Hyperparathyroidism also frequently leads to osteoporosis, kidney stones, hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, and kidney failure.
#1 Symptom of Hyperparathyroidism in Women: Fatigue
Nearly all our patients suffering from hyperparathyroidism complain of fatigue. And since we know women are more commonly affected than men, it is certainly the number one symptom of hyperparathyroidism in women.
Many patients say they are tired all the time, or that they get tired by noon and can’t stay motivated throughout the day. Hyperparathyroidism in women who are middle-aged is sometimes first attributed to menopause.
So, why is fatigue a top symptom of hyperparathyroidism in women? Our nervous system runs on calcium, and when the calcium in the blood is high, this makes our nerves conduct electricity slower. Our body interprets this as fatigue or tiredness.
The good news is that this symptom relieves in almost all patients very quickly after surgery. In fact, many patients say it’s like “a fog that lifts overnight”.
#2 Symptom of Hyperparathyroidism in Women: Bone Pain
Another common symptom of hyperparathyroidism in women is bone pain.
This occurs because of the activity of parathyroid hormone on the bones, causing calcium to be pulled out of the bones. In severe cases, bones give up so much of their calcium that they become brittle and break (osteoporosis or osteopenia). Bones can also have small hemorrhages within their center which will cause bone pain.
Because of this, many patients with hyperparathyroidism undergo a DEXA bone density scan. Their doctor is checking to see how much calcium has already been lost due to the excess parathyroid hormone.
Everyone with hyperparathyroidism will develop osteoporosis, some faster than others. This is a dangerous and concerning symptom of hyperparathyroidism in women and men, and especially in older patients. Although all patients with hyperparathyroidism should undergo surgery to be cured, this is especially true for patients with osteoporosis or a decrease in bone density.
#3 Symptom of Hyperparathyroidism in Women: Depression
The next most common symptom of hyperparathyroidism in women is depression. About half of our patients were either formally diagnosed with depression or were put on anti-depressants within the last two years of seeing us.
The majority of patients experience symptoms like lack of energy, insomnia, sadness, anxiety, irritability, nervousness, and more. Because hyperparathyroidism is a rarer disease that some doctors are not well versed in, they’ll often diagnose depression when they hear these symptoms.
This is simply treating the symptoms of the disease, not treating the disease itself. Remember, hyperparathyroidism in women and men can only be treated through surgery.
#4 Symptom of Hyperparathyroidism in Women: Acid Reflux (GERD)
Hyperparathyroidism in women often causes acid reflux (GERD) as well. And just like anti-depressant medications, many patients with hyperparathyroidism have been prescribed an anti-stomach acid medication. If acid production is severe, it can cause stomach ulcers and lead to more complications.
High calcium increases acid production, so this problem is fixed when the parathyroid tumor is removed through surgery. Most patients experience complete resolution of their acid reflux of GERD symptoms within the first week or two after parathyroid surgery.
#5 Symptom of Hyperparathyroidism in Women: High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
Another classic symptom of hyperparathyroidism in women is high blood pressure (hypertension). About three quarters of patients with hyperparathyroidism will experience high blood pressure, and many have been placed on multiple medications to try to control it.
This is another symptom of hyperparathyroidism in women and men which will be resolved after a patient undergoes parathyroid surgery and the parathyroid tumor is removed.
Other Symptoms of Hyperparathyroidism in Women
Hyperparathyroidism in women also commonly causes kidney stones, cardiac symptoms, atrial fibrillation, insomnia, headaches, and more. Hyperparathyroidism takes a toll on the body, and the complications add up over the years.
Hyperparathyroidism in Women Requires Surgery for Cure
Patients who have been living with hyperparathyroidism for more than 15 years have a life expectancy five years shorter than their peers.
Hyperparathyroidism is easily cured through a minimally invasive parathyroid surgery, developed right here at the Norman Parathyroid Center by Dr. Jim Norman. Our surgeons check all four parathyroid glands in about 20 minutes, remove any parathyroid tumors, and send you to recovery with just a band aid over your very small incision. Nearly every patient is able to go home on the same day of their parathyroid surgery. And best of all, nearly all symptoms of hyperparathyroidism in women and men will resolve quickly after parathyroid surgery.
Luckily, you’re in the right place. Patients with hyperparathyroidism from around the globe travel to have parathyroid surgery with the Norman Parathyroid Center team at the Hospital for Endocrine Surgery in Tampa, Florida. For more than 25 years, we have been the #1 center for treating hyperparathyroidism in women in the world--more than 15 times any other hospital. Learn more and become our patient.
- Learn more about the Norman Parathyroid Center.
- Read more on the Parathyroid blog.
- Become our patient.
- Check out our sister surgeons at the Clayman Thyroid Center, the Scarless Thyroid Surgery Center and the Carling Adrenal Center. We are now united under one roof, operating at the Hospital for Endocrine Surgery.