What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, occurs when your thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped gland that is located in your neck, just below the voice box or larynx. Thyroid hormone works to regulate your metabolism, or the way your body uses energy. Because the symptoms of hypothyroidism can disguise themselves as simple day-to-day ailments, many patients live with the condition for years before they seek treatment.1

Patient Resources Information

For more information, the following resources may be helpful.
https://www.thyroid.org/
https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/endocrine-diseases/hypothyroidism
https://medlineplus.gov/hypothyroidism.html

Woman with thyroid highlighted

Signs and symptoms

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Having hypothyroidism means that your thyroid gland is not producing enough of the thyroid hormone that regulates your metabolism. As a result, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:1

  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Forgetfulness
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Dry skin, brittle hair
  • Constipation
  • Sore muscles
  • Heavy or more frequent menstrual periods

A comprehensive list of other symptoms associated with hypothyroidism and more information about thyroid disease can be found by visiting the American Thyroid Association website at www.thyroid.org. Or you can read an overview of common hypothyroidism symptoms by clicking here.

Treatment

For most patients with hypothyroidism, levothyroxine is the treatment of choice. Both synthetic and naturally derived levothyroxine are commonly prescribed to replace or supplement the hormone that is typically produced by the body’s thyroid gland. Levothyroxine is intended for long-term use.

Managing hypothyroidism with levothyroxine requires taking a precise dose of your prescribed therapy every day. Your doctor will perform tests to determine what dose of your medication is right for you. These tests help your doctor determine if you are maintaining consistent levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) within your body. If your TSH level remains too low with your current dose, you may not experience relief from your hypothyroidism symptoms. To read more about the TSH test, click here.1

Doctor with patient

Hear from an expert

Nathan Becker, M.D.

Dr. Becker is an endocrinologist specializing in the treatment of hypothyroidism. Here, he outlines the 3 most common reasons why people have difficulty experiencing symptom relief while taking levothyroxine.

Do I have hypothyroidism?

Having hypothyroidism means that your thyroid gland is not producing enough of the thyroid hormone that regulates your metabolism. Take the quiz below to find out if the symptoms you’re experiencing could be the result of hypothyroidism.

Understanding your condition

Find out if the symptoms you’re experiencing could be the result of hypothyroidism.

  • Q1: Do you feel less energetic than you used to?
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  • Q2: Have you been feeling depressed lately?
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  • Q3: Has your hair been thinning?
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  • Q4: Have you experienced dry skin, unusual weight gain, increased sensitivity to cold or impaired memory?
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  • Q5: Do you think there’s a chance you have hypothyroidism?
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  • Your Quiz Results

Click here for references