Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune illness in which the body’s immune system attacks its own tissues. Hashimoto’s disease is the other name for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The immune system targets the thyroid-affected persons with Hashimoto’s disease. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is very similar to Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid does not produce enough hormones to satisfy the body’s requirements.

What causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Although the specific causes of Hashimoto’s disease are still unknown. Various factors play a significant role to cause Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in the body. Some of them are:


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can be seen very common in women than in men. This could be due to the role of sex hormones. Furthermore, some women experience thyroid issues in the first year after giving birth. Even though the condition normally goes away, up to 20% of these women get Hashimoto’s disease years later.

Exposure to radiation

Thyroid disease has been seen in people who have been exposed to radiation, such as the atomic bombs dropped on Japan. It was previously proved in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and radiation treatment for Hodgkin’s disease.

Excessive iodine

Thyroid disease may be triggered by some medicines and also by consuming too much iodine. Iodine is a trace element necessary for your body to generate thyroid hormones.


People with Hashimoto’s disease may have relatives with thyroid illness or other autoimmune diseases. This shows that the disease has a hereditary component in the genes.

What are the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Some of the symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are briefly elaborated below:


Constipation can be especially painful if you have hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. Many body systems including digestion and disposal, slow down when you have hypothyroidism.

Dry and pale skin

Thyroid hypofunction causes dry, pale, and chilly skin due to reduced capillary flow, perspiration, and thermogenesis.

Hoarse voice

One of the symptoms for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a hoarse voice.

When the thyroid gland enlarges owing to disease or due to low thyroid hormone levels, the vocal chords might become constricted or partially paralysed due to their proximity. Hypothyroidism affected people frequently experience hoarseness.

High cholesterol

You’re more likely to have high cholesterol if you have thyroid illness. In most cases, bad lifestyle and inherited factors can contribute to cholesterol.  Sometimes, medical issues can also play a role in depositing cholesterol on your body.


When compared to healthy controls, individuals with autoimmune thyroiditis had significantly higher depression and anxiety disorder scores.

Lower body muscle weakness

Hypothyroidism can cause muscle weakness in people with Hashimoto thyroiditis (HT). However, clinical experience reports suggest that neuromuscular symptoms may emerge particularly in the people with thyroiditis.


The tiredness may hit you gradually or suddenly, leaving you unable to get out of bed in the morning. Even if you get more sleep than normal, you’ll still be fatigued due to a lack of energy.

Feeling sluggish

Tiredness and exhaustion can be caused due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. A person feels extremely sluggish and their metabolism slows down in those who have an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism).

Cold intolerance

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis causes cold intolerance due to insufficient production of thyroid hormone to convert and utilise stored energy. As a result, compared to people with normal thyroid hormone levels, there is less energy available to regulate body temperature.

Thinning hair

Thyroid illnesses including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Graves’ disease are autoimmune disorders that can cause hair loss. When your thyroid hormone levels are stabilised, hair loss stops. However, this could take some time.

Irregular or heavy periods

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can result in menstrual cycle issues. Your menstrual cycle may be affected by your thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone deficiency can cause irregular menstrual cycles or heavier than normal periods. Thyroid hormones are important for women’s reproductive systems. According to a study, more than 20% of women with hypothyroidism have irregular periods, particularly heavy or infrequent cycles.

Problems with fertility

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can have a deleterious influence on fertility, both in terms of getting pregnant and during the pregnancy.

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis diagnosis

TSH test

A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test is one of the most common ways to diagnose Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The most prevalent cause of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is hypothyroidism. Thyroid-stimulating hormone is created by the pituitary gland in your brain.

T-4 tests

Thyroid problems are diagnosed via a thyroxine test. The thyroid gland is a tiny, butterfly-shaped gland found near the throat. Hormones produced by your thyroid affect your weight, body temperature, physical strength and mood.

The thyroid hormone thyroxine, often known as T4, is a test taken to determine thyroid ailments. The T4 test measures the level of T4 substances present in your blood. Thyroid illness is essentislly caused by too much or too little T4. 

Other thyroid hormones

Hashimoto’s disease is an auto-immune ailment that can lead to hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism or an overactive thyroid, is a rare side effect of the condition. Thyroid hormones regulate how your body uses energy including the rate of your heartbeat.

Antibodies test

Hypothyroidism is caused due to multiple conditions. Your doctor will perform an antibody test to see if Hashimoto’s disease is the cause of your hypothyroidism. In Hashimoto’s disease, the immune system typically generates an antibody against thyroid peroxidase (TPO), a protein involved in thyroid hormone synthesis.

When to see a doctor?

The signs and symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease are diverse and not unique. The symptoms are usually caused by a variety of conditions. Nonetheless, it’s critical to see your doctor as soon as possible for an appropriate diagnosis.

Treatment of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Most of the people who are affected by Hashimoto’s disease take medication. If you have moderate Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you may not need therapy, but you should undergo a regular test called TSH test to keep track of your thyroid hormone levels.

The synthetic hormone levothyroxine is mostly preferred for the treatment of hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s disease. Levothyroxine is a synthetic hormone that replaces the thyroid hormone thyroxine, which is lacking in some people.

The goal of treatment is to improve hypothyroidism symptoms by restoring and maintaining appropriate T-4 hormone levels. Thyroid hormone levels can be restored with regular use of levothyroxine. This treatment will be necessary for the rest of your life.

Risk Factors & Complications

Risk factors of Hashimoto's disease


Hashimoto’s thyroiditis affects the person based on sex. However, women are affected by this condition more than men. Researchers are still in the process to identify what exactly causes Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in women.


Thyroiditis caused by Hashimoto’s disease might start during pregnancy, especially in the middle ages. The majority of instances occur between the ages of 40 and 60.

Other autoimmune diseases

Hashimoto’s disease is one of the types of autoimmune illness. Antibodies are produced by the immune system to attack thyroid cells as if they were bacteria, viruses or other foreign entities. The immune system incorrectly recruits disease fighting molecules, causing cell damage and death.

Genetics and family history

A mix of hereditary and environmental factors is considered to cause Hashimoto thyroiditis. While some of these factors have been recognised and many others are still unknown.


Hashimoto’s illness can make it difficult to conceive and therefore result in major pregnancy issues such as preeclampsia, anemia, miscarriage and placental abruption. Thyroid hormone levels that are normal before pregnancy can reduce your risk of some complications. You may get a postpartum haemorrhage after giving birth.

Excessive iodine intake

Eating foods high in iodine such as kelp, dulse or other types of certain iodine-rich drugs can cause or worsen hypothyroidism.

Radiation exposure

People who have exposure to radiation have an increased risk of getting prone to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis condition.


Your thyroid may not produce enough thyroid hormone due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It occurs when your body produces antibodies that fight against thyroid cells. An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), fatigue, weight gain and muscle weakness are all possible symptoms of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

Heart problems

Symptoms such as poor heart function, an enlarged heart and irregular heartbeats is an indication of hypothyroidism. It can also cause high levels of LDL cholesterol which is otherwise called “bad” cholesterol that is linked to cardiovascular disease and heart failure.

Mental health issues

Depression or other mental health problems can appear early in Hashimoto’s disease and may aggravate if left untreated.

Sexual and reproductive dysfunction

A person may face sexual and reproductive dysfunction due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hypothyroidism in women can cause problems like a decrease in sexual desire (libido), failure to ovulate, and irregular menstrual flow.

Poor pregnancy outcomes

A person may face unintended complications of pregnancy such as Ectopic pregnancy, Gestational diabetes, Placental abruption and Low-lying placenta due to the infection of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.


Myxedema is another name for hypothyroidism. It’s a condition that happens due to insufficient production of thyroid hormone in the thyroid gland. It secretes hormones that aid in the regulation of energy and the control multitude of bodily activities.

Frequently Asked Questions

1.How serious is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a long-term severe condition that causes serious problems such as cold exposure, sedatives or other physical stress that may cause myxedema coma.

2.What is the cause of Hashimoto thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is a type of autoimmune illness that is caused due to problems like imbalance in hormones and genes, excessive iodine and over alcohol consumption that causes cell damage and even death.

3.What is the common treatment prescribed for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

Some of the most common treatments for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is the synthetic hormone levothyroxine.

4.Can Hashimoto’s go away?

There is no cure for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. However, medicines can help to control hormone levels and restore normal metabolism.

5. What foods should you avoid with Hashimoto’s?

You should avoid foods like grains, legumes, nightshades, dairy, eggs, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, oil and other food additives.

6.Does Hashimoto’s go away if thyroid is removed?

Hashimoto’s disease is a thyroid illness in which antibodies target the thyroid gland and produce inflammation. Thyroidectomy reduces thyroid antibodies and therefore Hashimoto’s symptoms disappear after the thyroid gland is removed.

7.Can Hashimoto’s be caused by stress?

Researchers aren’t sure what causes Hashimoto’s illness. However, they suggest stress can also be the reason for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

8.What autoimmune diseases are associated with Hashimoto’s?

Some of the autoimmune diseases that are associated with Hashimoto’s include Rheumatoid arthritis, Addison’s disease, Graves’ disease, type 1 diabetes, lupus, pernicious anaemia and Vitiligo.

9.What are early warning signs of thyroid problems?

Warnings for thyroid problems include fatigue, weight gain, weight loss, decreased heart rate, elevated heart rate, heat sensitivity and cold sensitivity.

10.What blood test shows Hashimoto?

Anti-thyroid antibodies (ATA) tests which are also known as thyroid peroxidase antibody tests are the blood test used to test Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

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