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Hypothyroidism - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

Updated on August 17, 2012

Hypothyroidism is a disorder with low levels of thyroid hormones in the body. Millions of people, especially women over 50 years of age suffer from hypothyroidism. Some people may not know that they have hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism developes when thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid gland is situated in the front of the neck. The function of thyroid gland is to control the metabolism or energy system of body. So it affects many functions of the body. The thyroid gland produces two hormones, which are called T4 or thyroxine and T3 or triodothyronine. The thyroid gland needs iodine to produce these hormones. If not treated, hypothyroidism can lead to other complications in the body.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Excessive weight gain
  • Lack of concentration
  • Itchy skin
  • Dry skin
  • Loss of hair
  • Dry hair
  • Lack of cold tolerance
  • Muscle cramps
  • Constipation
  • Irregular menstrual cycle

Causes of hypothyroidism

  • Autoimmune disease
  • hormonal imbalance
  • iodine deficiency
  • radiation therapy
  • thyroid surgery
  • medications, like lithium
  • congenital
  • genetic
  • pituitary disorder

Complications of hypothyroidism

  • Low temperature
  • Reduced breathing
  • Increased risk of infection
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility

Symptoms of hypothyroidism vary from person to person, depending on their own health condition. It can be symptomless. The symtoms of hypothyroidism may not be felt until it becomes really bad. Some symptoms may be unnoticed.

If the person have the above symptoms or not feeling healthy, he/she go the doctor immediately and get thyroid hormone testing. The common testing for thyroid hormones are TSH and T4 levels in blood. Hight level of TSH and low level of T4 indicate underactive thyroid. TSH is secreted by pituitary gland in the brain which regulates the thyroid hormone secretion by feedback mechanism.


The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is synthroid or levothyroxine. Doctor will decide how much the dose should be. After taking the medicine for couple of weeks, the symptoms will start to disappear. Some hypothyroidism like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis needs to continue treatment for lifelong. Some other types may not need life long treatment.

Vitamins and minerals
Vitamin D3 is needed for thyroid hormone production. Selenium is another important nutrient for thyroid to function properly. Selenium, L-tyrosine, magnesium, vitamin B1 and B2 and iodine are the vitamins needed for hypothyroidism treatment.

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Diet for hypothyroidism
Whole cereal, egg, fish like salmon, turkey, chicken, yogurt, fruits and green leafy vegetables. Make sure that you have lots of vitamin B and C in your diet. These simple diet plan will provide will provide good nutrition for thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones. Eat selenium rich food which are onion, garlic, eggs, kelp, mushroom, sunflower seed, brazil nuts etc.

  • Coconut oil is very good for overall thyroid function. Coconut oil has saturated fat. It has triglyceride which increase metabolism.
  • Vegetable juices can improve thyroid functioning.

Alternative treatment for hypothyroidism
Herbs like bladderwrak, kelp, green oak and licorice are very good for thyroid support.

There are many ways to treat hypothyroidism. It can be cured with treatment, but in some cases, treatment has to continue for life long.


The information provided above is not a substitute for professional medical help. Please consult your physician before using alternative or home remedies.


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    • sfshine profile image

      sfshine 5 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you for the comment. I have hypothyroidism. I have taken synthroid for five years. Now trying to take some alternative medicine.

    • dipless profile image

      dipless 5 years ago from Manchester

      My mum suffers with this and really struggles with weight gain and many other of the symptoms, she is on medication of life as hers near as damn it doesn't work at all. Thank you for sharing this.