There are several types of thyroid disorders including hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, goiters, thyroid nodules, and thyroid cancer. Symptoms vary by condition. Diagnosis is made with blood tests, scans, ultrasound, or biopsy. Treatments depend on the disorder and can include medication or surgery. Read more: Thyroid Disorders Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Thyroid Problems Explained
Learn about thyroid problems such as hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, thyroid cancer, and more. Discover symptoms and treatments...
Hyperthyroidism Symptoms and Treatment
What is hyperthyroidism? Hyperthyroidism occurs when an overactive thyroid gland produces an excessive amount of thyroid...
Thyroid Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Your unexplained change in weight could indicate a thyroid condition. Take the Thyroid Quiz to learn about common symptoms and...
Picture of Graves Disease
Generalized diffuse overactivity ("toxicity") of the entire thyroid gland which becomes enlarged into a goiter. See a picture of...
Picture of Thyroid
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck just below the Adams apple. See a picture of the Thyroid...
What Causes You to Sweat? Hidrosis and Hyperhidrosis
What makes you sweat (hidrosis)? Excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis) has many potential causes, including spicy food, smoking,...
IMAGESSee a medical illustration of the thyroid plus our entire medical gallery of human anatomy and physiology See Images
Related Disease Conditions
Thyroid Disorders Symptoms and Signs
Thyroid diseases and disorders are caused because the body either makes too much or too little thyroid hormones, which are necessary for vital functions of the body. Thyroid disease and disorder symptoms and signs depend on the type of the thyroid problem. Examples include heat or cold intolerance, sweating, weight loss or gain, palpitations, fatigue, dry skin, constipation, brittle hair, joint aches and pains, heart palpitations, edema, feeling bloated, puffiness in the face, reduced menstrual flow, changes in the frequency of bowel movements and habits, high cholesterol, hoarseness, brittle hair, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, a visible lump or swelling in the neck, tremors, memory problems, depression, nervousness, agitation, irritability, or poor concentration. Thyroid problems are more common in women.
Hair Loss (Alopecia)
There are many causes of scalp hair loss. This featured article covers the common ones such as patchy hair loss (alopecia areata, trichotillomania, and tinea capitis), telogen effluvium, and androgenetic alopecia (male-pattern baldness, female-pattern baldness).
Fatigue can be described in various ways. Sometimes fatigue is described as feeling a lack of energy and motivation (both mental and physical). The causes of fatigue are generally related to a variety of conditions or diseases, for example, anemia, mono, medications, sleep problems, cancer, anxiety, heart disease, and drug abuse.Treatment of fatigue is generally directed toward the condition or disease that is causing the fatigue.
Hyperthyroidism is an excess of thyroid hormone due to an overactive thyroid gland. Symptoms can include increased heart rate, weight loss, heart palpitations, frequent bowel movements, depression, fatigue, fine or brittle hair, sleep problems, thinning skin, and irregular vaginal bleeding. Graves' disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Many other health problems or taking excess thyroid hormone medication can cause an overactive thyroid gland. Treatment for the condition is with medication, radioactive iodine, thyroid surgery (rarely), or reducing the dose of thyroid hormone. No diet has been shown to treat hyperthyroidism or its symptoms and signs.
Gynecomastia (Enlarged Male Breasts Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments)
Gynecomastia, an enlargement of the gland tissue in the male breast is caused by an imbalance of hormones. Certain medical conditions may also lead to gynecomastia such as cirrhosis, malnutrition, disorders of the male sex organs, kidney failure, thyroid disorders, and medications. Gynecomastia is generally treated with medication, and if necessary, surgery.
Graves' disease is an autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid. Some of the symptoms of Graves' disease include hand tremors, rapid heartbeat, trouble sleeping, enlarged thyroid, thinning of the skin or fine brittle hair. Causes of Graves' disease are thought to be multifactorial such as genes, gender, stress, and infection. Treatment for Graves' disease is generally medication.
Thyroid nodules are the most common endocrine problem in the United States. The term "thyroid nodule" refers to any abnormal growth that forms a lump in the thyroid gland. The vast majority of thyroid nodules are benign.
Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium)
Hyponatremia is a condition in which the levels of sodium in the blood is too low. Some of the symptoms of hyponatremia include headaches, muscle cramps or spasm, seizures, weakness, restlessness, and confusion. Hyponatremia can occur from excess fluid in the body, or a loss of sodium in body fluid. Causes of low levels of sodium in the blood include chronic diseases like kidney or congestive heart failure, adrenal gland problems, hypothyroidism, and liver cirrhosis, and some medications. Diet and other lifestyle changes in addition to treatment with electrolyte replacement with an IV. Other treatments for hyponatremia depend upon the cause.
Indigestion (Dyspepsia, Upset Stomach Pain)
Indigestion (dyspepsia) can be caused by diseases or conditions that involve the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and also by some diseases and conditions that do not involve the GI tract. Indigestion can be a chronic condition in which the symptoms fluctuate infrequency and intensity. Signs and symptoms that accompany indigestion include pain in the chest, upper abdominal pain, belching, nausea, bloating, abdominal distention, feeling full after eating only a small portion of food, and rarely, vomiting.
Dry skin (xeroderma) may be caused by external factors, like cold temperatures, low humidity, harsh soaps, and certain medications, or internal factors, such as thyroid disease, diabetes, psoriasis, or Sjogren's syndrome. Symptoms and signs of dry skin include itching and red, cracked or flaky skin. The main treatment for dry skin is frequent, daily lubrication of the skin.
Pernicious anemia is a blood disorder in which the body does not make enough red blood cells due to a lack of vitamin B12 in the blood. Pernicious anemia can develop from a lack of a protein that helps the body absorb vitamin B12, not getting enough B12 in the diet, and certain intestinal conditions that interfere with the absorption of vitamin B12 such as Crohn's disease, celiac sprue, or ulcerative colitis. There is no cure for pernicious anemia, thus treatment is life-long.
Hypothyroidism During Pregnancy
Hypothyroidism during pregnancy can be treated with synthetic thyroid hormones to maintain the proper thyroid hormone balance. Hypothyroidism symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, lethargy, and constipation. Treatment of hypothyroidism in pregnant women is important, because inadequate levels of thyroid hormones may affect the fetus, and child during growth and development.
Restless Leg Syndrome (Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Medications, Home Remedies)
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is a common cause for painful legs that typically eases with motion, and becomes worse and more noticeable at rest. This characteristic nighttime worsening can frequently lead to insomnia. Treatment of the symptoms of restless leg syndrome is generally with medication as well as treating any underlying condition causing restless leg syndrome.
Hypothyroidism is any state in which thyroid hormone production is below normal. Normally, the rate of thyroid hormone production is controlled by the brain by the pituitary gland. Hypothyroidism is a very common condition and the symptoms of hypothyroidism are often subtle, but may include, constipation, memory loss, hair loss, and depression. There are a variety of causes of hypothyroidism, and treatment depends on the cause.
Gastroparesis is a medical condition in which the muscle of the stomach is paralyzed by a disease of either the stomach muscle itself or the nerves controlling the muscle. As a consequence, food and secretions do not empty normally from the stomach. Gastroparesis symptoms are nausea and vomiting; abdominal bloating, and pain can result.
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (Symptoms, Diet, Treatments, Pregnancy)
Hashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disorder causing inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a type of hypothyroidism, and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the US. Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis may include dry skin, fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, excessive sleepiness, dry skin, dry coarse hair, difficulty swallowing, a lump in the front of the throat, muscle cramps, mood changes, vague aches and pains, problems concentrating, leg swelling, constipation, and depression. There is no cure for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Diet changes, natural supplements, vitamins, or other natural products will not treat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Treatment for the autoimmune disorder is with thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which will be necessary for the rest of the person’s life.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart's ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart's main pumping chamber is enlarged and weakened. Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include chest pain, heart failure, swelling of the lower extremities, fatigue, weight gain, fainting, palpitations, dizziness and blood clots.
High Blood Sugar (Hyperglycemia)
Hyperglycemia or high blood sugar is a serious health problem for diabetics. There are two types of hyperglycemia, 1) fasting, and 2)postprandial or after meal hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can also lead to ketoacidosis or hyperglycemic hyperosmolar nonketotic syndrome (HHNS). There are a variety of causes of hyperglycemia in people with diabetes. Symptoms of high blood sugar may include increased thirst, headaches, blurred vision, and frequent urination.Treatment can be achieved through lifestyle changes or medications changes. Carefully monitoring blood glucose levels is key to prevention.
Double vision (diplopia) is a symptom that my indicate Graves' disease, myasthenia gravis, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, diabetes, cataracts, aneurysm, brain tumor, or migraine. Symptoms and signs include eye pain, droopy eyelids, nausea, headache, and a cross-eyed appearance. Treatment of double vision depends upon the underlying cause.
There are four major types of thyroid cancer: papillary, follicular, medullary, and anaplastic thyroid cancer. Tumors on the thyroid are referred to as thyroid nodules. Symptoms of thyroid cancer include swollen lymph nodes, pain in the throat, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, and a lump near the Adam's apple. Treatment usually involves chemotherapy, surgery, radioactive iodine, hormone treatment or external radiation and depends upon the type of thyroid cancer, the patient's age, the tumor size, and whether the cancer has metastasized.
Celiac disease is a condition in which a person has inflammation of the small intestinal mucosa when exposed to gluten in the diet. Symptoms of celiac disease include bloating, nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal discomfort. Treatment is a gluten free diet. Some individuals may have refractory celiac disease in which they do not respond to a gluten free diet.
Myxedema (Crisis) Coma
Myxedema (crisis) coma is the loss of brain function due to severe longstanding low levels of thyroid hormone in the blood. Myxedema coma is a life-threatening complication of hypothyroidism. Examples of triggers of myxedema coma include medications, infections, strokes, and trauma.Some of the symptoms of myxedema coma include hypothermia, seizures, difficulty breathing, and coma. Treatment of myxedema coma depend on the severity of the condition.
Hyperparathyroidism is a disorder of the parathyroid glands. There are two types of hyperparathyroidism, primary and secondary. When the parathyroid glands produce too much hormone, hyperparathyroidism is the resulting condition. Most cases of hyperparathyroidism have no evident cause. Signs and symptoms of hyperparathyroidism include fatigue, weakness, depression, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or confusion. Increased calcium and phosphorous excretion may cause kidney stones. The main treatment of hyperparathyroidism is surgery (parathyroidectomy).
Miscarriage is the medical term for the spontaneous loss of pregnancy from conception to 20 weeks gestation. Risk factors for a woman having a miscarriage include cigarette smoking, older maternal age, radiation exposure, previous miscarriage, maternal weight, illicit drug use, use of NSAIDs, and trauma or anatomical abnormalities to the uterus. There are five classified types of miscarriage: 1) threatened abortion; 2) incomplete abortion; 3) complete abortion; 4) missed abortion; and (5 septic abortion. While there are no specific treatments to stop a miscarriage, a woman's doctor may advise avoiding certain activities, bed rest, etc. If a woman believes she has had a miscarriage, she needs to seek prompt medical attention.
Thyroiditis is the inflammation of the thyroid gland. The inflamed thyroid gland can release an excess of thyroid hormones into the blood stream, resulting in a temporary hyperthyroid state. Some forms of thyroiditis can be diagnosed based on tenderness and enlargement of the thyroid gland. A thyroid scan sometimes is used in making the diagnosis. Thyroiditis can also be diagnosed with a biopsy of the thyroid gland.
Stiff-Person syndrome is a neurological disorder associated with features of an autoimmune disease. Signs and symptoms of Stiff-Person syndrome include a heightened sensitivity to stimuli (noise, touch, emotional distress) and fluctuating muscle rigidity of the trunk and limbs. Conditions associated with Stiff-Person syndrome include thyroiditis, vitiligo, pernicious anemia, and diabetes. Treatment for Stiff-Person syndrome is generally medication to control symptoms.
Fast-food consumption and lack of exercise are just a couple of causes of childhood obesity. Health effects of childhood obesity include type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high cholesterol, asthma, sleep apnea, gallstones, fatty liver disease, GERD, depression, and eating disorders.
In hypoparathyroidism, the parathyroid gland does not produce enough parathyroid hormone. Causes of hypoparathyroidism include injury to the parathyroid glands, autoimmune disorder association, or may be present ab birth. Symptoms of hypoparathyroidism include: tingling fingers, toes, and lips, brittle nails, dry, coarse skin, dry hair; memory loss, headaches, severe muscle cramps, cataracts, malformed teeth, and convulsions. Treatment of hypoparathyroidism is to restore the calcium and phosphorus to normal levels in the body.
Local ResourcesFind a local Endocrinologist in your town
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Beta Blockers (Drug Class, List of Brand and Generic Names)
- metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL)
- Thyroid Replacement Hormones
- Propylthiouracil (PTU)
- levothyroxine sodium (Synthroid, Levoxyl)
- propranolol, Inderal, Inderal LA, Innopran XL
- atenolol, Tenormin
- prednisolone (Orapred, Pediapred)
- methimazole, Tapazole
- liothyronine sodium, Cytomel, Triostat
- sodium iodide I 131, Iodotope, Sodium Iodide I 131 Therapeutic
Prevention & Wellness
- Cancer Risk Rises After Iodine Rx for Overactive Thyroid: Study
- Thyroid Surgery Complications Can Land Some Back in the Hospital
- Look for Early Signs of Thyroid Cancer, Experts Urge
- Health Tip: Differing Thyroid Tests
- Thyroid Cancer Survivors at Risk for Heart Disease
- Drug Duo Approved for Aggressive Thyroid Cancer
- TV Host Wendy Williams Has Grave's Disease
- Mild Low Thyroid Levels May Affect a Woman's Fertility
- High Thyroid Hormone Levels Tied to Stiffer Arteries
- U.S. Thyroid Cancer Cases Continue to Rise
- Can You Blame Your Headaches on Your Thyroid?
- Thyroid Levels in High-Normal Range May Be Linked to Cardiac Arrest
- Restrictive Diets May Cause Thyroid Troubles in Young Kids
- Surgeons' Experience Matters With Thyroid Removal
- Thyroid Trouble May Harm Women's Fertility, Study Finds
- Standard Treatment for Underactive Thyroid Gland Still Best: Experts
- Thyroid Problem Can Lead to Sick Leaves From Work, Study Finds
- Thyroid Tumors May Be More Dangerous for Cancer Survivors: Study
- Childhood Abuse Linked to Later Thyroid Problems for Women
- Chemicals in Carpets, Cosmetics Tied to Thyroid Problems
- Thyroid Disorders Tied to Complications in Pregnancy
- Mild Hyperthyroidism Tied to Higher Death Risk
- Overactive Thyroid May Raise Risk for Common Irregular Heartbeat
- Health Tip: Using an Antihistamine
- BPA Exposure Impacts Pregnant Women's Thyroids, Study Suggests
- Thyroid Treatment Guidelines for Pregnant Women Revised
- IUD Use Tied to Modest Weight Loss
- Eye Color Linked to Skin Diseases
- Lower-Dose Radioiodine Effective Against Thyroid Cancer
- Thyroid Condition Linked to Heart Problems: Study
- Screening Moms-to-Be for Thyroid Trouble May Not Help Offspring
- Some Causes of Stillbirth May Be Avoidable: Studies
- Study: 'Thyroid Support' Supplements May Be Risky
- 6 Steps to Improved Nail -- and Overall -- Health
- Flu Is Widespread in 11 States
- Overactive Thyroid May Raise Early Stroke Risk
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter