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Hypothyroidism: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment & Medication

Pathkind Team 1791 Views
Updated: 13 Oct 2023
Published: 01 Mar 2023
Hypothyroidism: Treatment & Medication

All the eight endocrine glands have some usefulness to the body. One such endocrine gland is the thyroid gland, responsible for secreting the thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormone is responsible for regulating the metabolism in the human body. Sometimes, the thyroid gland fails to produce ample thyroid hormone required by the body. In such a situation, the body has to tackle some repercussions. Disorders of the endocrine system can take a toll on the human body. One such disease caused due to non-production of the thyroid hormone is hypothyroidism. Read on to know hypothyroidism symptoms, causes, treatments, and more. 

Detailed understanding of hypothyroidism

As discussed above, non-secretion of thyroid hormone leads to hypothyroidism. When someone has hypothyroidism, TSH (Thyroid-stimulating Hormone) does not develop in the body. TSH is the pituitary gland, which stimulates the thyroid gland to produce hormones. With the help of TSH, the thyroid gland produces thyroxine (T4). Besides T4, the thyroid gland produces triiodothyronine (T4) and calcitonin. When the secretion of the thyroid hormones is less, hypothyroidism can be severe. Milder cases of hypothyroidism are also observed, with normal levels of thyroid hormones. 

Many people around the world seek thyroid treatment due to the non-secretion of the thyroid hormone. Effects of hypothyroidism are generally observed in people aged 60 and beyond. However, a young person can also suffer from hypothyroidism. Therefore, one should be aware of the common effects of hypothyroidism and seek treatment proactively. Let us discuss the causes and symptoms of hypothyroidism. 

Common symptoms of hypothyroidism 

Based on the severity of thyroid hormone deficiency, the symptoms of hypothyroidism can change. Sometimes, symptoms of hypothyroidism develop gradually over the years. The patient might only witness mild symptoms like fatigue during the initial stages. The patient might gain weight suddenly and might not notice. Over the years, the metabolism becomes slow due to a lack of thyroid hormones. Once the metabolism becomes too slow, more and more symptoms start to occur. For the same reason, one should seek medical attention immediately after discovering hypothyroidism symptoms. Some common hypothyroidism symptoms observed in different patients are as follows: 

  • Increased fatigue even after low-effort physical activities 
  • Increased sensitivity in the body against cold 
  • Constipation
  • Dryness in skin
  • Sudden puffiness in the face 
  • Hoarseness (Abnormality in the voice)
  • Increased weakness in muscles 
  • High level of blood – cholesterol 
  • Pain and stiffness in the muscles 
  • Irregular menstrual cycles in females 
  • Thinning or loss of hair 
  • Decrease in the heart rate 
  • Depression or other mental disorders 
  • Loss of memory
  • Goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland) 

Infants might also experience the effects of hypothyroidism. Sometimes, hypothyroidism symptoms can change in infants. Common hypothyroidism symptoms in infants are as follows: 

  • A projecting (sticking out) tongue
  • Jaundice 
  • Hernia 
  • Improper muscle tone 
  • Sleepiness 

In an infant body, bilirubin is produced after old/damaged RBCs are recycled. However, due to improper functioning, the thyroid gland does not metabolise bilirubin. For the same reason, infants experience jaundice as a symptom of hypothyroidism. 

Sometimes, teens and children experience the effects of hypothyroidismHypothyroidism symptoms in teens remain the same as in adults and infants but may also include the following: 

  • Poor development of the body 
  • Short stature 
  • Delay in hitting puberty 
  • Improper mental growth 
  • Late arrival of permanent teeth 

Common causes of hypothyroidism 

Thyroid deficiency can occur due to numerous reasons. Common causes of hypothyroidism around the world are as follows: 

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis 

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disorder that gives rise to hypothyroidism. However, medical scientists are still puzzled by autoimmune disorders. When an autoimmune disorder occurs, the immune system develops antibodies that attack our own tissues. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is one such autoimmune disorder that hampers the productivity of the thyroid gland. It can occur due to genes or via an environmental trigger. 

Wrong treatment of hyperthyroidism 

Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland does not perform to its expectations. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism occurs when the gland starts producing hormones in excessive quantities. Thyroid disease treatment goes wrong on many occasions. To treat hyperthyroidism, surgeons use radioactive iodine or medications to stop hormone secretion. The goal of the treatment is to get the thyroid gland back to normal. However, the treatment can backfire, and the patient has to bear hypothyroidism. 

Surgery of thyroid gland 

Sometimes, surgeons have no option but to remove the thyroid gland from the body. Sometimes, a part of the thyroid gland is removed from the human body. In both situations, the hormone secretion is halted. In such a case, the patient has to intake thyroid hormone throughout their life. 

Cancer treatment via radiation 

Surgeons use radiation to treat cancer occurring in the head and neck region. However, these radiations might harm the thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism. 

Side effects of medications 

Sometimes, medications for different disorders can lead to hypothyroidism. Usually, medications for psychiatric disorders might result in hypothyroidism. For example, lithium is used to treat psychiatric disorders but can impact the thyroid gland. Be it for thyroid disease treatment or any other disorder, consult with your doctor and know the side effects. 

Apart from the above causes, hypothyroidism can also occur due to congenital diseases, pituitary disorders, pregnancy, and iodine deficiency. 

Treatment(s) for hypothyroidism 

Common treatments for thyroid deficiency are as follows: 

  • Doctors indulge in hormone therapy and release levothyroxine into the patient’s body. Levothyroxine is an artificial thyroid hormone used to treat hypothyroidism. By determining the correct dosage of levothyroxine, doctors try to regulate the functions of the thyroid gland. 
  • Self-care by taking medicines without any side effects and quitting smoking can also increase the productivity of the thyroid gland. 
  • Doctors also advise improving the diet to fight hypothyroidism. Food items that contain antioxidants, selenium, and tyrosine are consumed to improve the functionality of the thyroid gland. 

Besides the above treatments, doctors also implement personalised treatments for thyroid deficiency 

Medication for hypothyroidism 

Drugs used for the treatment of hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, are as follows: 

  • Levothyroxine 
  • Armour thyroid 
  • Levoxyl 
  • Cytomel 
  • Synthroid 
  • Unithroid 
  • NP Thyroid 
  • Triostat 
  • Thyquidity 
  • Levo – T

Before taking any medication for thyroid deficiency, don’t forget to consult your doctor! Click here for hypothyroidism panel test.

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