November 29, 2022

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Hypothyroidism (Underactive Thyroid) | NIDDK

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What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism, also referred to as underactive thyroid, is when the thyroid gland doesn’t make adequate thyroid hormones to meet your body’s demands. The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck. Thyroid hormones regulate the way the human body utilizes strength, so they affect virtually each and every organ in your human body, even the way your heart beats. Devoid of adequate thyroid hormones, many of your body’s features gradual down.

Illustration of the thyroid and its location in the neck.
The thyroid is a small gland in your neck that tends to make thyroid hormones.

How widespread is hypothyroidism?

About four.6 % of the U.S. population ages 12 and older has hypothyroidism, even though most conditions are moderate.1 That is nearly 5 men and women out of a hundred.

Who is a lot more likely to produce hypothyroidism?

Girls are much a lot more likely than gentlemen to produce hypothyroidism. The ailment is also a lot more widespread between men and women older than age 60.1

You are a lot more likely to have hypothyroidism if you

  • have had a thyroid issue ahead of, such as a goiter
  • have had surgical procedures to suitable a thyroid issue
  • have acquired radiation remedy to the thyroid, neck, or upper body
  • have a spouse and children background of thyroid ailment
  • ended up pregnant in the previous 6 months
  • have Turner syndrome, a genetic problem that has an effect on girls
  • have other well being difficulties, including

Is hypothyroidism all through being pregnant a issue?

Hypothyroidism that isn’t handled can affect both equally the mother and the baby. Even so, thyroid medicines can enable reduce difficulties and are harmless to consider all through being pregnant. Study a lot more about causes, analysis, and remedy of hypothyroidism all through being pregnant.

What other well being difficulties could I have mainly because of hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism can contribute to large cholesterol, so men and women with large cholesterol should be tested for hypothyroidism. Rarely, severe, untreated hypothyroidism might direct to myxedema coma, an severe type of hypothyroidism in which the body’s features gradual to the position that it gets existence threatening. Myxedema coma involves quick health care remedy.

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism has many symptoms that can differ from particular person to particular person. Some widespread symptoms of hypothyroidism contain

  • exhaustion
  • pounds attain
  • a puffy deal with
  • difficulties tolerating chilly
  • joint and muscle mass soreness
  • constipation
  • dry skin
  • dry, thinning hair
  • lowered sweating
  • weighty or irregular menstrual durations
  • fertility difficulties
  • melancholy
  • slowed heart amount
  • goiter

Because hypothyroidism develops slowly but surely, many men and women don’t notice symptoms of the ailment for months or even decades.

Several of these symptoms, particularly exhaustion and pounds attain, are widespread and don’t always suggest that somebody has a thyroid issue.

What causes hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism has quite a few causes, including

  • Hashimoto’s ailment
  • thyroiditis, or inflammation of the thyroid
  • congenital hypothyroidism, or hypothyroidism that is existing at beginning
  • surgical elimination of element or all of the thyroid
  • radiation remedy of the thyroid
  • some medicines

Significantly less generally, hypothyroidism is prompted by far too much or far too little iodine in the food plan or by pituitary ailment.

Hashimoto’s Illness

Hashimoto’s ailment is the most widespread induce of hypothyroidism. Hashimoto’s ailment is an autoimmune problem. With this ailment, your immune procedure assaults the thyroid. The thyroid gets infected and can’t make adequate thyroid hormones.


Thyroiditis is inflammation of your thyroid that causes stored thyroid hormone to leak out of your thyroid gland. At first, the leakage boosts hormone levels in the blood, major to hyperthyroidism, a ailment in which thyroid hormone levels are far too large. The hyperthyroidism might very last for up to 3 months, just after which your thyroid might turn out to be underactive. The ensuing hypothyroidism usually lasts 12 to 18 months, but at times is permanent.

Numerous types of thyroiditis can induce hyperthyroidism and then induce hypothyroidism:

  • Subacute thyroiditis. This ailment entails a painfully infected and enlarged thyroid. Experts are not absolutely sure what causes subacute thyroiditis, but it might be linked to an an infection prompted by a virus or micro organism.
  • Postpartum thyroiditis. This kind of thyroiditis develops just after a lady gives beginning.
  • Silent thyroiditis. This kind of thyroiditis is referred to as “silent” mainly because it is painless, even nevertheless your thyroid might be enlarged. Experts consider silent thyroiditis is almost certainly an autoimmune ailment.

Congenital hypothyroidism

Some babies are born with a thyroid that is not completely designed or does not functionality thoroughly. If untreated, congenital hypothyroidism can direct to intellectual disability and expansion failure—when a baby doesn’t develop as envisioned. Early remedy can reduce these difficulties, which is why most newborns in the United States are tested for hypothyroidism.

Surgical elimination of element or all of the thyroid

When surgeons eliminate element of the thyroid, the remaining element might create usual quantities of thyroid hormone, but some men and women who have this surgical procedures produce hypothyroidism. Elimination of the whole thyroid always results in hypothyroidism.

Surgeons might eliminate element or all of the thyroid as a remedy for

  • hyperthyroidism
  • a large goiter
  • thyroid nodules, which are noncancerous tumors or lumps in the thyroid that can create far too much thyroid hormone
  • thyroid most cancers

Radiation remedy of the thyroid

Radioactive iodine, a widespread remedy for hyperthyroidism, step by step destroys the cells of the thyroid. Most men and women who obtain radioactive iodine remedy ultimately produce hypothyroidism. Medical practitioners address men and women with head or neck cancers with radiation, which can also damage the thyroid.


Some medicines can interfere with thyroid hormone manufacturing and direct to hypothyroidism, including

  • amiodarone, a heart medicine
  • interferon alpha, a most cancers medicine
  • lithium, a bipolar problem medicine
  • interleukin-2, a kidney most cancers medicine

How do medical professionals diagnose hypothyroidism?

Your physician will consider a health care background and do a bodily examination, but also will have to have to do some checks to validate a analysis of hypothyroidism. Several symptoms of hypothyroidism are the similar as individuals of other diseases, so medical professionals usually can’t diagnose hyperthyroidism based mostly on symptoms by itself.

Because hypothyroidism can induce fertility difficulties, gals who have difficulties receiving pregnant generally get tested for thyroid difficulties.

Your physician might use quite a few blood checks to validate a analysis of hypothyroidism and obtain its induce. Study a lot more about thyroid checks and what the results suggest.

How is hypothyroidism handled?

Hypothyroidism is handled by changing the hormone that your possess thyroid can no more time make. You will consider levothyroxine, a thyroid hormone medicine that is equivalent to a hormone the thyroid commonly tends to make. Your physician might advocate taking the medicine in the early morning ahead of consuming.

Your physician will give you a blood check about 6 to eight months just after you commence taking thyroid hormone and modify your dose if necessary. Each individual time your dose is adjusted, you are going to have an additional blood check. After you have attained a dose that’s functioning for you, your well being care provider will almost certainly repeat the blood check in 6 months and then once a yr.

Your hypothyroidism most likely can be wholly controlled with thyroid hormone medicine, as extended as you consider the advisable dose as instructed. In no way halt taking your medicine with out chatting with your well being care provider first.

What should I consume or keep away from consuming if I have hypothyroidism?

The thyroid utilizes iodine to make thyroid hormones. Even so, men and women with Hashimoto’s ailment or other types of autoimmune thyroid disorders might be delicate to damaging side consequences from iodine. Ingesting food items that have large quantities of iodine—such as kelp, dulse, or other sorts of seaweed—may induce or worsen hypothyroidism. Getting iodine health supplements can have the similar outcome.

Discuss with associates of your well being care group about what food items you should restrict or keep away from, and enable them know if you consider iodine health supplements. Also, share details about any cough syrups that you consider mainly because they might have iodine.

Girls have to have a lot more iodine when they are pregnant mainly because the baby will get iodine from the mother’s food plan. If you are pregnant, speak with your well being care provider about how much iodine you have to have.


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