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What is Hypothyroidism?

Fatigue is a common symptom of hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism can cause weight gain.
Weight gain is a symptom of hypothyroidism.
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  • Written By: T Thompson
  • Edited By: L. S. Wynn
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2014
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Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones. The main function of the thyroid gland is to regulate the body's metabolism, and it affects all parts of the body. Many of the symptoms of this problem are associated with other illnesses, and are often overlooked or misdiagnosed by physicians. The problem is very common, although many people are unaware that they have it, and often go untreated for many years.

Symptoms

The most common symptoms include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Weight gain/difficulty losing weight
  • Coarse, dry hair
  • Hair loss
  • Muscle cramps/aches
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Irritability
  • Memory Loss
  • Abnormal menstrual cycles
  • Depression
  • Cold and/or heat intolerance
  • Decreased libido

Causes

Inflammation of the thyroid gland: If the thyroid becomes inflamed, it's likely that a large percentage of thyroid cells will be damaged and left incapable of producing sufficient hormone. This most commonly occurs due to what is called autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto's thyroiditis), in which the immune system overreacts and thereby results in an inflammation of the thyroid gland.

Medical treatments: If the thyroid, or a portion of it, has been removed to treat a previous condition, it may fail to produce enough thyroid hormone. Also, radioactive iodine therapy is often used to treat thyroid goiters; this type of therapy is employed to kill a portion of the thyroid in order to prevent goiters from growing any larger, or producing too much hormone.

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Diagnosis

Hypothyroidism is diagnosed through a blood test, but is usually not included in a routine exam. People who suspect that they might have this problem should ask a healthcare provider for a thyroid test. It's important to note, however, that the "normal" range for thyroid hormone is not the same for everyone. Patients should discuss their symptoms with a medical professional, since blood results often show normal results, even though the symptoms indicate otherwise.

Treatment

Treatment for hypothyroidism usually consists of a daily dose of thyroid replacement hormones, accompanied by regular visits to a medical professional to monitor the dosage and any changes in symptoms.

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Discuss this Article

anon357436
Post 15

Very helpful article as it points out that hypothyroidism can be an issue. Warning signs are very helpful.

anon275765
Post 14

I went through all the symptoms of Hypothyroidism and even after taking levothyroxine for months, I felt better at first but then felt the symptoms again.

I asked the doctor for stronger dose but it would cost me another $400 in medical bills to get another blood test. I found out about Iodoral, which is a high potency potassium iodide/iodine and I have felt wonderful ever since! It's from the radioactive iodine used for goiters. It's actually really good for you as a whole. Research it, buy it, use it and you will thank me later! I take one pill a day of 12.5mg. I bought two bottles of 180 pills and so it will last me a long time! It's truly changed my life!

anon262125
Post 13

I was also back in bed for three to four hours when first starting. I am beginning to feel better two weeks into treatment. Still not 100 percent but getting a little better every day. The brain fog is slowly improving. The doctor started me on 50 mcg, and does not want to retest for six weeks as any testing prior to that may not be accurate.

I would not wait four to five months to be retested if my symptoms had not improved in six weeks.

anon132670
Post 12

@Swati123: I have been suffering from hypothyroidism, especially brain fog. I am on levoxyl. Other symptoms seem to be fine but brain fog is horrible and I feel damn depressed and numb with this symptom. will coconut oil help for the brain fog too? please, please advise me.

anon91824
Post 11

I am having the same problem. I have been on Levothyroxine for two months now. After the first three or four weeks my fatigue, back pain, muscle aches, and poor memory problem seemed to disappear. I actually felt like a new person.

I have not had any weight loss. I am still struggling not to gain weight even with a low calorie diet and a lot of exercise. However, now at month two, all those symptoms are slowly coming back.

fairyocious
Post 10

I was diagnosed as hypothyroid in March of 2009, and was placed on 25 mcg of Levothyroxin (Synthroid). By the time I was diagnosed, I had been progressively gaining weight and had ballooned to 245 pounds.

I restricted my caloric intake, but was not having any luck losing the extra weight. I hoped and prayed and waited to see if I would lose any of the extra pounds with the levothyroxin, but only plateaued.

Some of the other symptoms, hair loss, dry skin, fatigue, depression subsided in the beginning, but have slowly crept back in and now I'm feeling some pain on my outer neck, just below my chin. It's very tender to the touch, around where my thyroid gland is.

I met with my doctor this morning and he was inclined to dismiss my symptoms as an allergy to Oak, because I had a mild cough -- even though I stressed that my neck pain is painful to the touch, and not on the inside. It doesn't hurt to swallow, cough, or move my head/neck. He finally decided to order a full blood workup to see what's going on with my thyroid this time.

I'm assuming it's a matter of having to change my medication dosage, but I'm worried that it may be something else.

Has anyone else experienced the tenderness/painfulness that I'm describing? And if so, what should I expect from here?

Any suggestions and/or insight would be helpful and much appreciated.

anon47245
Post 9

I had joint pain and muscle cramps. I was treated with painkillers. later the pain returned and this time with low b.p. I was treated with multivitamins, to no avail, then had anger, irritability and memory loss. I was treated with antidepressants and sleeping pills only to make myself worse. After three months of suffering and pain I was diagnosed with overt hypothyroidism. I have been on medication for the past month. Almost all symptoms have gone but one annoyingly frustrating one is there: "brain fog". I have been a class topper all my life and now this brain numbness and lack of thinking pattern makes me suicidal. I am trying yoga to combat this one. Does brain fog due to hypothyroidism go away?Anticipating a yes to that one -- in how much time? I have no weight gain or hair loss or skin problems.

aivlys
Post 8

Hi! I have loads of the symptoms of hypothyroidism (extraordinary exhaustion and fatigue, unexplained weight gain, low blood pressure / pulse rate / temperature, loss of body hair and outer third of eyebrow, hoarse voice, loss of concentration, poor memory, low sex drive, weepiness, long and heavy periods, I already have 2 auto-immune disorders - coeliac and psoriasis, muscle and joint aches, pins and needles, dry skin, puffy eyes, change in facial expression) yet my bloods have come back as normal. What can I do and where do I go from here?

I've been on the net for what seems like days and am seriously considering taking Thyromine. Thanks for any help or suggestions.

swati123
Post 6

HI, I would like to share my exp with you all suffering from thyroid.

I have had severely low thyroid for nearly two years now, I did not want to end up taking Synthroid. When came to know about VCO (Virgin coconut oil ) from my friend, I was so excited to try the Coconut Oil. I took 3 tablespoons a day and within two months, I returned to my physician and she just couldn't believe that everything on my tests was once again normal! She was so enthused that she has prescribed your product to three other thyroid patients since then. Your product took me out of the doom and gloom I suffered for so very long! My muscles have returned to normal... The depression, hoarse voice, swollen face/eyes and all my other symptoms have disappeared! there are many brand available in market you need to choose the right one I have been using MeritVCO.

Here is what you should see for an Extra Virgin Coconut Oil:

Colourless and crystal clear.

Light, fresh coconut aroma

Natural Coconut taste

Quick absorption

No oily feel

Very light viscosity

you can find more information by googling thyroid herbals.

anon8735
Post 5

hey friends, we are all in the same boat more or less. this winter break i was diagnosed...accidentally, as a case of hypothyroid. that was a jolt, especially being in the line of fitness for over 15 years...well i took my time to accept that this is one thing that's so not in my hands...but yes, now i knew all the answers to all the why my body was slowing down and bang i challenged myself to spring back and stop feeling beaten to the god-gifted situation. i accepted the new me. and today have lost about a kilogram with smarter workouts and yoga. yes i do feel pulled down at times..but then i simply put my feet up and do my breathing exercises and gear up my attitude. know you are your own best friend...so pep up, it's all in the attitude. god is with you. cheers! n good health :)

anon3140
Post 4

If you have an underactive thyroid does it come back up on its own or do you have to be treated?

kathy
Post 3

i had my blood results through for my thyroid and it has gone from 2.46 to 100 and my t4 is 2.76 ive started on levithyroxine but feel terrible as soon as i take my pill in the morning and have to go back to bed for about 3 hours,when should i start to feel better.

anon1656
Post 2

I too have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism and am still experiencing symptoms...in fact i have gained 7 pounds since ive started taking it, and havent changed my diet but that im drinking more water and less sugary drinks. Im waiting my current THS test. Im taking 50mcg as well.

anon982
Post 1

I have recently been diagnosed as having hypothyroidism - when my doctor informed me I was only told you have hypothyroidism and heres a prescription for Levothyroxine come back in three weeks time for a blood test - no explanation of what is was or meant, no leaflet etc. I have had to research it myself on the net. When I returned three weeks later for my results I was told that my thyroid was now normal so my dose of 50mgs would be fine - come back in four to five months time !! I still have all the symptoms, have gained two stone in less than a year, have hair loss, very cold hands and feet, short term memory loss, weepy, lethargic, poor sleep pattern. How can my test be normal within three weeks of such a low dose of Levothyroxine and yet still have all the symptoms ?

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