What Can Cause Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid occurs if your thyroid gland cannot produce enough thyroid hormones need for normal body functions. It is fairly common health problems, especially among elderly females. There are number of factors that can lead to development of hypothyroidism. They are

  • Autoimmune disease: people suffering from Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (an autoimmune disease) are prone to develop hypothyroidism. Autoimmune disease may affect thyroid gland too, which may affect normal functioning of thyroid gland and lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Thyroid surgery: surgical removal of part of thyroid gland known as subtotal thyroidectomy (a part of thyroif gland is removed leaving behind some portion of it intact for thyroid function) can cause hypothyroidism, if more part of thyroid gland is removed.
  • Treatment of hyperthyroidism: hyperthyroidism is overactive thyroid gland that produces much more quantity of thyroid hormones than required, leading to various problems. Treatment of hyperthyroidism includes use of medication (to reduce production and secretion of thyroid hormones), surgery, or use of radioactive iodine. All these procedures can lead to development of hypothyroidism, as a side effect.
  • Radiotherapy: radiation therapy for treating cancer, especially in head and neck can lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Medications: there are some medications used for treatment of other medical conditions (other than hyperthyroidism) can also lead to development of hypothyroidism. Drugs such as lithium, used for psychiatric diseases can cause hypothyroidism as side effect.

The above mentioned causes of hypothyroidism are common causes. However, there are also many other less common causes of hypothyroidism, they are:

  • Iodine deficiency: this is rare nowadays, because of iodization of salt in many countries. Iodine is available in sea foods and vegetables grown near sea. Hence, iodine deficiency is still common in many places (especially mountainous areas) which are far from sea.
  • Iodine excess can also cause hypothyroidism.
  • Pituitary gland problem (such as tumor) can cause hypothyroidism, by not being able to produce enough TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), which is produced in pituitary gland.
  • Pregnancy: some women, during pregnancy, produce auto-antibodies against their own thyroid gland (a type of autoimmune disease) and develop hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism during pregnancy should be treated promptly to avoid complication and harm to fetus.
  • Congenital problems: some babies are born with a defective thyroid gland and some are born with no thyroid gland. Both these conditions lead to hypothyroidism, sooner or later.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Loading...