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Complications Of Hypothyroidism: Weight Gain, Infertility And More; Tips To Manage It

Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid affects women more than men. In this condition body does not produce enough thyroid hormones. Here are some complications linked with condition if left uncontrolled.

Complications Of Hypothyroidism: Weight Gain, Infertility And More; Tips To Manage It

Hypothyroidism can lead to unexplained weight gain


  1. Underactive thyroid leads to weight gain
  2. Hypothyroidism causes the metabolism to slow down
  3. Stress can affect your overall health and thyroid functioning

Hypothyroidism or underactive thyroid is a condition when your body does not produce enough thyroid hormones. The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland in the middle of the neck. The thyroid gland produces two principal hormones, triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which regulates the body's metabolism. One in eight women develops thyroid problems in her lifetime. These affect women more than men. Hypothyroidism does not show noticeable symptoms at first. But if left untreated, this condition can lead to a wide range of health issues. Here are some possible side effects of underactive thyroid. Also know some diet and lifestyle changes to manage this condition.

Complications of hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)

Dr. Saptarshi Bhattacharya, Senior Consultant and Head of Endocrinology and Diabetes explains, "Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. It is the most common thyroid disorder. Symptoms of hypothyroidism vary widely and are related to slow metabolism, some people have no symptoms while others have severe manifestations."

"Hypothyroidism is linked with several common issues including- weight gain, hair fall, dry skin, swelling in legs, fatigue, cold intolerance, constipation, menstrual irregularity, infertility and miscarriage," he adds.

Also read: 8 Yoga Poses For Reversing Hypothyroidism

Studies suggest that hypothyroidism is linked with a higher risk of heart diseases and mental health issues. Dr. Bhattacharya further elaborates on complications linked with this condition and how it may affect an individual. Here are some key points he elaborated-

1. Women with hypothyroidism often suffer from menstrual cycle irregularities, ranging from absent or infrequent periods to very frequent and heavy periods. These menstrual irregularities can make it difficult to get pregnant.


Hypothyroidism may lead to irregular periods
Photo Credit: iStock

2. Pregnant women with hypothyroidism also have an increased risk for miscarriage during early pregnancy. Most hypothyroid manifestations respond to thyroxine replacement in an appropriate dosage.

3. Another type of disorder that affects the thyroid gland is called goitre. Goitre results in swelling in the thyroid gland that may or may not be accompanied by hormone deficiency or excess. A thyroid nodule is a localized swelling of the gland and is four times more common in women.

The thyroid gland, less commonly, becomes overactive and produces excess thyroid hormones a condition called hyperthyroidism. Excess thyroid hormones speed up body's metabolism and result in feverishness, weight loss, rapid or irregular heartbeat, loss of sleep, anxiety, trembling of hands and fingers, excessive sweating, heat intolerance, muscle weakness, frequent bowel movements and bulging eyes in some cases.

Thyroid diseases should not be ignored as untreated hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can affect the heart and overall well-being. Timely treatment can prevent such complications.

Also read: Can Working For Long Hours Lead To Hypothyroidism?

Lifestyle tips to manage underactive thyroid-

1. Control your sugar intake. Sugar is unhealthy for your thyroid hormone as well as body weight.

2. Consume a healthy diet loaded with vitamin B, probiotics and foods containing selenium. Studies also suggest consumption of a gluten-free diet to manage hypothyroidism effectively.

3. Stress also affects hormones. You can manage stress with the help of exercise and meditation.

4. Also, try to maintain a healthy weight. Do not try crash diets. Eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly.

5. You should also follow all the necessary precautions suggested by your doctor and do not skip treatment.

Also read: 8 Natural Treatments For Hypothyroidism

(Dr. Saptarshi Bhattacharya, Senior Consultant & Head, Endocrinology & Diabetes, Max Super speciality Hospital, Patparganj)

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Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.


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