Hashimoto's Thyroiditis - Symptoms

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The symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

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What are the symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

Symptoms and signs of Hashimoto's thyroiditis resemble those of hypothyroidism generally and are often subtle. They are not specific (which means they can mimic the symptoms of many other conditions) and are often attributed to aging. Patients with mild hypothyroidism may have no signs or symptoms. The symptoms generally become more obvious as the condition worsens, and the majority of these complaints are related to a metabolic slowing of the body. Common symptoms and signs are listed below:

  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Modest weight gain
  • Cold intolerance
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Dry, coarse hair
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Muscle cramps
  • Increased cholesterol levels
  • Decreased concentration
  • Vague aches and pains
  • Swelling of the legs

As hypothyroidism becomes more severe, there may be puffiness around the eyes, a slowing of the heart rate, a drop in body temperature, and heart failure. In its most profound form, severe hypothyroidism may lead to a life-threatening coma (myxedema coma). In a severely hypothyroid individual, myxedema coma tends to be triggered by severe illness, surgery, stress, or traumatic injury. This condition requires hospitalization and immediate treatment with thyroid hormone.

Properly diagnosed, hypothyroidism can be easily and completely treated with thyroid hormone replacement. Untreated hypothyroidism can lead to an enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy), worsening heart failure, and an accumulation of fluid around the lungs (pleural effusion) or heart (pericardial effusion).

People with Hashimoto's thyroiditis often initially experience a hyperthyroid phase (too much thyroid hormone), called hashitoxicosis, as thyroid hormone leaks out of the damaged gland as it is destroyed. Eventually, they become hypothyroid.

Other symptoms and signs include:

  • Swelling of the thyroid gland (due to the inflammation), can cause a feeling of tightness or fullness in the throat
  • A lump in the front of the neck from the enlarged thyroid gland called a goiter
  • Difficulty swallowing solids and/or liquids due to the enlargement of the thyroid gland with compression of the esophagus
Return to Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

See what others are saying

Comment from: viola, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

At first I felt good, but went to the eye doctor with torn retina. I had headaches. I experienced coldness, numbness, tingling, blurry vision, pain, carpal tunnel, couldn"t go on walks without tiring out quickly and hair falling out. I was going hypo and hyper thyroid back and forth so it took several months for doctors to figure it out. I had Hashimoto"s thyrotoxicosis and now it"s just Hashimoto"s. Eight months later I have about half of my hair still and it is not falling out! Yay! I am on 100 MCG Synthroid and doing better but it is hard to be patient. I want to be like I was before all this. The doctor said it could take a few more months!

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Comment from: bamagirl, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: April 11

I was 13 years old when diagnosed with Hashimoto"s thyroiditis. My eyes grew fat behind them and they bulged out badly. My mother took me to the doctor and after examining my gland, it felt enlarged. After a thyroid scan I had iodine treatment. I was then diagnosed. My skin is very dry, I have brittle hair, slow heartbeat and bad menstrual cycles and it was hard to conceive. But I did and have two wonderful boys.

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