The most common cause of hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disorder. This means your immune system starts to attack itself. It makes antibodies against the thyroid gland. Another cause may be treatment for an overactive thyroid gland. That may include radioactive iodine therapy or surgery.
A condition called secondary hypothyroidism can also sometimes happen. It’s when your pituitary gland stops working. The pituitary gland then no longer tells the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones.
These things may make it more likely for you to have hypothyroidism:
Symptoms are different for each person. They are usually hard to notice and start slowly. They may be mistaken for symptoms of depression. Here are the most common symptoms and signs:
These symptoms may look like other health problems. Always see your health care provider for a diagnosis.
Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment for you based on:
The goal of treatment is to return your level of thyroid hormone back to normal. You may need to take medicine that gives you a dose of thyroid hormones. Your provider may need to change the dose over time. You will need blood tests to make sure you are taking the correct dose of thyroid hormone replacement. You will probably need to take this medicine for the rest of your life.
If your hypothyroidism is not treated, these complications may happen: