Hypothyroidism: Underactive Thyroid Gland


What is hypothyroidism?

When the thyroid doesn’t produce and release enough thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, it’s known as hypothyroidism, a frequent illness. Your metabolism decreases as a result. Hypothyroidism, also known as an underactive thyroid, can cause you to feel exhausted, put on weight, and become sensitive to cold temperatures. 

Hormone Replacement for underactive thyroid

HRT is the major method of treatment for this condition. When the thyroid doesn’t produce and release enough thyroid hormone into the bloodstream, it’s known as hypothyroidism, a frequent illness. Your metabolism decreases as a result. An underactive thyroid, can cause you to feel exhausted, put on weight, and become sensitive to cold temperatures. HRT is the major method of treatment for this condition.

What happens in hypothyroidism?

When you have hypothyroidism, your metabolism slows down as a result of a lack of thyroid hormone in the bloodstream. Your entire body is impacted by this as your metabolism slows down. It is a condition that is also referred to as underactive thyroid disease. Myxedema is a condition in which your thyroid hormone levels are exceedingly low. Myxedema is a highly dangerous illness that may result in major symptoms like:

Life-threatening hypothyroidism exists in this severe form.

Hypothyroidism is generally a highly curable disorder. It can be controlled with consistent medication use and follow-up visits to your doctor.

How does my thyroid work?

You can locate the thyroid gland as a butterfly’s wings encircling your windpipe and its middle section resting on your neck (trachea). Your thyroid mostly regulates your metabolism. Your body employs the metabolic process to convert food into the energy it needs to function. To regulate your metabolism, the thyroid produces the hormones T4 and T3. To instruct the body’s cells on how much energy to use, these hormones operate throughout the body. Your body temperature and heart rate are under their control. When your thyroid is functioning properly, it continuously produces hormones, releases them, and then produces new hormones to replace those that have been utilized. This keeps all of your body’s systems in check and your metabolism running smoothly. 

How does the thyroid gland function?

The pituitary gland, which is found in the center of the skull beneath the brain, regulates the quantity of thyroid hormones in the blood. Thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH, is adjusted by the pituitary gland and sent to the thyroid to correct any imbalances when it detects either too little or too much thyroid hormone. The entire body is affected if the level of thyroid hormones is either excessively high (hyperthyroidism) or excessively low (hypothyroidism).

Who is affected by underactive thyroid?

It’s a prevalent condition, especially in women over 60. After menopause, women are typically more likely to acquire hypothyroidism than they are earlier in life. 

What’s the difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism?

There is insufficient thyroid hormone production in hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism differ from one another in terms of their levels. Low thyroid hormone production occurs in hypothyroidism. A person with hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, has a thyroid that produces excessive thyroid hormone. Your metabolism quickens when you have hyperthyroidism because of greater thyroid hormone levels. Your metabolism decreases when you have hypothyroidism.

What are the causes?

The main causes of hypothyroidism are far more frequent. An autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s disease is the most prevalent of these root causes. This inherited illness, often known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis (passed down through a family). When a person has Hashimoto’s disease, their immune system attacks and harms their thyroid 

What causes hypothyroidism in pregnancy?

Hashimoto’s illness is most frequently present in pregnant women who experience hypothyroidism. The thyroid is attacked by and damaged by the body’s immune system as a result of this autoimmune disease. The entire body is affected when that occurs because the thyroid is unable to create and release sufficient amounts of thyroid hormones. Hypothyroid pregnant women may have cramping, extreme fatigue, and trouble coping with cold temperatures. For prenatal growth, thyroid hormones are crucial. The brain and neurological system are developed in part by these hormones. Managing your thyroid levels throughout pregnancy is crucial if you have hypothyroidism. The fetus’s brain may not develop properly if it doesn’t receive enough thyroid hormone throughout pregnancy, which could lead to problems later. 

Does birth control affect my thyroid?

The estrogen and progesterone in birth control pills can have an impact on your thyroid-binding proteins while you’re on them. Your levels rise as a result. If you have hypothyroidism, you will need to take more medication while taking birth control tablets. The dosage must be decreased once you stop taking birth control pills.

Can hypothyroidism cause erectile dysfunction?

Hypothyroidism that is left untreated occasionally has been linked to erectile dysfunction. Low testosterone levels are possible when a pituitary gland disorder is the root cause of your hypothyroidism. If the hormone imbalance was the direct cause of the erectile dysfunction, treating hypothyroidism can frequently assist.


What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism typically appear gradually over months or even years. They may consist of:

  • Being worn out 
  • experiencing constipation.
  • putting on weight
  • Having pain in all parts of your body (can include muscle weakness).
  • feeling down and out.
  • being unable to stand being in the cold.
  • skin and hair that are dry and coarse.
  • losing interest in sexual activity
  • enduring regular, heavy menstrual cycles.
  • noticing facial physical changes (including drooping eyelids, as well as puffiness in the eyes and face).
  • becoming hoarser and lower in voice.
  • heightened forgetfulness (brain fog).

How is this condition diagnosed?

The symptoms of hypothyroidism can be easily mistaken for those of other diseases, making the diagnosis challenging. Speak with your healthcare practitioner if you experience any low thyroid level symptoms. A blood test known as the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test is the primary method for identifying hypothyroidism. For ailments like Hashimoto’s disease, your doctor could additionally request blood tests. Your doctor may be able to feel the thyroid during a physical examination at your appointment if it is enlarged.

What is the treatment?

The most common method of treating hypothyroidism is to replenish the hormone your thyroid is no longer producing. Typically, a drug is used for this. Levothyroxine is one drug that is frequently used. By increasing the amount of thyroid hormone your body produces when taken orally, this drug balances your levels. The condition of hypothyroidism is treatable. To balance your body’s hormone levels, however, you will need to take medication regularly for the rest of your life. You can live a normal, healthy life with careful management and follow-up meetings with your healthcare practitioner to ensure that your therapy is effective

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