Hashimoto’s disease, or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disease that damages the thyroid gland. Hashimoto’s disease affects more women than men. It is the most common cause of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Hypothyroidism is treatable with medicine. If left untreated, hypothyroidism can cause problems getting pregnant and problems during pregnancy. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, weight gain, depression, and joint pain.
Hashimoto’s disease affects more women than men. It can happen in teens and young women, but it most often appears between ages 30 and 50. Hashimoto’s disease often runs in families.
Your risk of getting Hashimoto’s disease is higher if you:
Hashimoto’s disease is treated with a daily dose of levothyroxine. This is the same hormone that your thyroid gland makes. You will probably need to take thyroid hormone pills for the rest of your life.
You may have to see your doctor or nurse a few times to test the level of TSH in your body. Thyroid hormone acts very slowly in the body, so it can take several months after the start of treatment for symptoms to go away. Once your TSH level is normal, your doctor or nurse will need to see you less often.
The same treatment dose usually works for many years. But your TSH levels may change sometimes,
especially during pregnancy, if you have heart disease, or if you take menopausal hormone therapy. Your doctor or nurse may need to adjust your dose.