Hypothyroidism may be caused by a number of factors including:
- Treatment for hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism is treated with radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medications which, in some cases, can result in permanent hypothyroidism.
- Thyroid surgery: Removing all or a large portion of your thyroid gland can diminish hormone production.
- Radiation therapy: Radiation used to treat cancers of the head and neck can affect your thyroid gland and may lead to hypothyroidism.
- Medications: A number of medications can contribute to hypothyroidism, including certain psychiatric drugs.
- Congenital disease: Some babies are born with a defective thyroid gland or no thyroid gland.
- Pituitary disorder: The pituitary gland fails to produce enough thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) — usually because of a benign tumor of the pituitary gland.
- Iodine deficiency: The trace mineral iodine is essential for healthy thyroid function.
However, possibly the most common cause is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. This is how my journey began.
Autoimmune disorders occur when your immune system produces antibodies that attack your own tissues, in this case, the thyroid. A virus or bacterium might trigger the response, whilst a genetic component can also be involved.
Quite possibly autoimmune diseases are multi-faceted and a number of factors contribute to the condition, including nutritional deficiencies. Whatever the cause may be, these antibodies affect the thyroid’s ability to produce critical hormones.