By American Thyroid Association — From thyroid.org August 19, 2011 309 3
What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too little thyroid hormone. Symptoms may include any of the following: feeling run down, slow, depressed, sluggish, cold, tired, having dry skin and hair, constipation, muscle cramps, or weight gain. Women may have a heavier menstrual flow. Some patients have a swelling in the front of the neck due to thyroid enlargement (a goiter).
What causes hypothyroidism?
In the United States, most cases of hypothyroidism are caused by a condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in which a patient’s immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid. Worldwide, the most common cause of hypothyroidism is lack of iodine in the diet. Hypothyroidism can also be caused by treatment of hyperthyroidism or by certain medications, and it may be present from birth. The thyroid may temporarily become underactive after pregnancy or if it is inflamed due to a viral infection. Finally, faulty signaling of the thyroid through a problem with the pituitary gland can cause hypothyroidism.