Hypothyroidism Guide: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Medication
Vijeta Rana
Vijeta RanaMay 30, 2022

Many of us know hypothyroidism as underactive thyroid disease. It is a common disorder where the thyroid gland does not make enough thyroid hormone. Hypothyroidism is prevalent in women. Many conditions can cause thyroid problems. The main ones are autoimmune disorders, immune disorders, thyroid removal, pituitary disease, and iodine deficiency. Hypothyroidism

The pituitary gland controls the thyroid gland. The pituitary gland releases hormones in your body through the bloodstream. This release of hormones affects all parts of our body, from your heart and brain to muscles and skin. In this way, the primary purpose of thyroid hormones is to control the body's metabolism. If you want to explore everything about hypothyroidism, read this blog till the end.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

Many symptoms of developing hypothyroidism are similar to other illness symptoms, so it becomes challenging to recognize hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism symptoms usually develop gradually, and during this time, you may not concede that you have had this problem for many years.

The common hypothyroidism symptoms include:

Tiredness: A person feels tired most of the time, even after proper rest.

Sensitive to cold: Most people who develop hypothyroidism catch a cold quickly.

Gaining weight: If you are gaining weight, it can be hypothyroidism.

Constipation: Constipation is one of the problems causing hypothyroidism symptoms.

Depression: Some people with hypothyroidism can feel depressed.

Slow movements and thoughts: Hypothyroidism causes slow actions and thoughts.

Muscle pain and weakness: A person might have muscle pain and weakness in hypothyroidism.

Dry and scaly skin: People may have dry and scaly skin with hypothyroidism.

Weakening of hair and nails: Hair and nails become weak and may break down.

Sex desire phenomenon (sex drive): Loss of libido is a common problem with hypothyroidism patients.

Discomfort and tingling in the hands and fingers: Hypothyroidism patients can also feel pain, tingling, and numbness in the hands and fingers.

Irregular periods or heavy periods: Women with hypothyroidism have irregular periods or heavy periods

Older adults with thyroid problems may develop memory loss. If you experience any symptoms, go to the thyroid specialist and ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid. Join Thyroid Community/

Causes of hypothyroidism

Chronic Stress: Living a more stressful life affects the activation of thyroid hormones.

Nutritional deficiency: Thyroid glands are particularly affected due to low iodine intake in the diet. The thyroid gland requires iodine to make thyroid hormones. Insufficient iodine intake can result in a low production of thyroid hormones. Not just that, deficiency of selenium, zinc, and Vitamin B12 can also cause hypothyroidism.

Hereditary: This disease can also be genetic. If other family members have also had this problem, other family members can also have this problem.

Hashimoto thyroiditis: It is an autoimmune thyroid disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid and causes inflammation of the thyroid.

Goitre: Hypothyroidism disease can also be caused by goitre disease.

Postpartum Thyroiditis: You might be wondering what Postpartum thyroiditis is? Let me burst the bubbles for you. Postpartum thyroiditis is a specific condition in which a woman's thyroid gland stops working accurately within one year of their child's birth.

A non-functional thyroid gland: About 1 in 3,500-4,000 newborns have congenital hypothyroidism. Each baby born in the UK is screened for congenital hypothyroidism five days after birth.

Leaky gut: There is a profound connection between a leaky gut and hypothyroidism. Here are the points that make it clear

  • A leaky gut is usually connected with autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. In autoimmune diseases, the antibodies affect the thyroid's capability to produce hormones.

  • A leaky gut causes iron and selenium deficiencies. The body requires iron to produce the thyroid hormone, and selenium is crucial in maintaining thyroid health.

If you think you are struggling with a leaky gut, you must also check your thyroid functionality.

Radiation therapy. Radiation therapy is used to treat head and neck cancers. It can impact your thyroid gland and can cause hypothyroidism.

Food sensitivities: Do you know that food sensitivities can disturb the functioning of the thyroid gland and can cause hypothyroidism? It is usually related to autoimmune thyroid disorders.

Environmental Toxins: No one can deny that environmental toxins disrupt the thyroid hormone structure and cause thyroid dysfunction. Environmental toxins include heavy metals (aluminium, cadmium, lead, and mercury), household toxins (PBDEs, BPA, PFOA), industrial chemicals (Dioxin, perchlorate, PFCs, PCBs), and agricultural agents (pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides).

Treatment & Medication

A thyroid doctor always recommends levothyroxine (a daily hormone replacement tablet) to treat hypothyroidism. Levothyroxine replaces the hormone thyroxine, which the thyroid does not make in adequate amounts.

You may initially require regular blood tests until an accurate dose of levothyroxine is found. It may take a little time for you to recover.

You can take a low dose of levothyroxine initially but gradually increase it later. However, it depends on how your body reacts. Some people feel better soon after starting treatment, while others do not notice an improvement in their symptoms for several months. You may need to have blood tests between 3 to 6 months to check hormone levels after taking the correct dosage.

If a blood test shows that you have an underactive thyroid but have mild or no symptoms, you won't need treatment. In this situation, your doctor will usually check your hormone levels every few months and prescribe levothyroxine if symptoms develop.

How to take thyroid medication?

If a thyroid specialist prescribes levothyroxine, you should take one tablet at the same time every day. The doctor advises thyroid patients to consume the tablets in the morning. The efficacy of these pills can be affected by other drugs, supplements, or dietary intakes. Therefore, they should be consumed on an empty stomach with water and should not eat anything for the next 45 minutes.

If you missed a dose of the medicine, take it as soon as you remember. It is better to take the missed dose of medication within a few hours. If you remember too late, take the next dose at your usual time except for the previous one.

Side-effects of thyroid medication

Levothyroxine usually has no side effects, as the tablet works to replace a hormone that is not being produced. If you consume levothyroxine in excess, you will face side effects like sweating, chest pain, headache, diarrhea, and vomiting.

If new symptoms develop while taking levothyroxine, tell your doctor immediately. Also, inform your doctor if your symptoms get worse or improve.

When to See a Doctor?

Hypothyroidism is also called a silent killer. When the person has general symptoms like obesity, fatigue, thinning of hair, etc., he should see a doctor promptly.

Who's affected by hypothyroidism?

Both men and women can be affected by an underactive thyroid. However, it is more common in women. As per studies, it affects 15 in every 1,000 women and 1 in 1,000 men in the UK. Did you know that hypothyroidism can also develop in children?

Takeaway

We understand that with increasing age, the body goes through various changes. But if you witness a noteworthy difference in your body, it is better to talk with your doctor to check whether a thyroid problem affects you, especially if you're a woman over age 60.

If you have hypothyroidism, you need to take your thyroid medication on time and maintain a healthy lifestyle. It will help to fade away from your hypothyroidism symptoms quickly. But do you know we can reverse hypothyroidism symptoms? Sounds impressive, right?

To explore more, you can connect with Jeevam Team

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