Hypothyroidism – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment

Hypothyroidism – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment | HealthSoul

Hypothyroidism is a disease that occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough hormones. It changes the chemical reactions in the body and can lead to a variety of health problems, including weight gain, heart disease, and infertility. It most commonly affects women over the age of 60, but it can affect people of all ages and genders. It can be treated with synthetic hormones, and those who are successfully treated can live normal, healthy lives.

Causes of Hypothyroidism

There are several things that can cause hypothyroidism. Each cause has a specific treatment that can help.

  • Autoimmune Disease – Some people experience thyroid problems because they suffer from an autoimmune disease known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The body produces antibodies that attack the thyroid and prevents it from producing hormones.
  • Treatment for Hyperthyroidism – Some people suffer from a disease called hyperthyroidism where the thyroid works too well and produces too many hormones. The treatment for this disease suppresses thyroid hormone production. This treatment can sometimes be too strong and result in hypothyroidism.
  • Radiation Therapy –Radiation therapy is used to treat certain types of cancers. The radiation can damage and even destroy the thyroid and prevent it from working properly.
  • Thyroid Surgery – People who have had thyroid issues in the past or may have cysts or cancers growing on the thyroid might have to have part or all of the thyroid removed. When this happens, it stops functioning and releasing the proper hormones.
  • Other Risk Factors: Family History of Thyroid disease, Recent pregnancy, history of other autoimmune diseases like lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

The symptoms of hypothyroidism start out slowly and aren’t usually obvious until the disease has become more advanced. Most people notice one or two symptoms and then more as time goes on. Because the symptoms start so slowly and are often misdiagnosed as other health problems or even ignored, many people fail to get treatment as early stages of the disease. Some of the most common symptoms include:

Diagnosis of Hypothyroidism

Doctors can diagnose hypothyroidism with a blood test. The test checks the levels of TSH and thyroxine. Before conducting blood tests, the doctor will check for physical symptoms that may suggest the patient has some type of thyroid disorder.

Treatment of Hypothyroidism

Treatment for hypothyroidism involves the use of synthetic hormones. They replace the hormones that the thyroid can no longer produce. The treatment is not designed to repair the thyroid but to help the body get the hormones it needs. The synthetic hormone can be administered two ways.

  • Oral Treatment – Oral treatment is given in pill form and can be swallowed. It is normally taken with meals and must be taken every day.
  • Injections – Injections can be self-administered or given by a medical professional. They last longer and usually do not need to be given daily.
  • Pig Hormones – While doctors prefer to use synthetic hormones, some will consider using natural hormones from the thyroid glands of pigs. These hormones include thyroxine and triiodothyronine, while synthetic hormones only contain thyroxine.

Prognosis of Hypothyroidism

For patients who seek treatment, the prognosis is good. Once they begin taking the synthetic hormones, they will notice their cholesterol levels dropping and may even experience some weight loss. The sooner a person can be diagnosed and treated, the better the prognosis.

Another disorder that comes from a lack of hormones is Addison’s Disease.


  • Medline Plus
  • Clinical Practice Guidelines for Hypothyroidism in Adults: Cosponsored by the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists and the American Thyroid Association. Endocrine Practice. 2012;18(6):988–1028
  • https://www.thyroid.org