Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO on May 10, 2024
2 min read

When you have hypothyroidism, you may not realize it at first. The symptoms come on slowly. Some of them, like fatigue, happen when you have other conditions, too. You may mistake them for signs of aging or stress.

You're getting symptoms because your thyroid gland stopped working right. It isn’t making enough thyroid hormone, which helps run many of your body's systems.

Hypothyroidism can make you feel tired and sensitive to cold. You might gain a few pounds, too.

Low thyroid levels can also affect your mood and thinking. For example, you might have:

  • Depression
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble thinking clearly

You may have pain, stiffness, and swelling in your:

  • Muscles
  • Joints
  • Face
  • Eye area
  • Tongue

A hoarse voice, slow speech, and hearing problems are also symptoms. So is constipation. Women may also have changes in their menstrual cycle.

Changes in your skin can happen, too. It can become:

  • Cool and pale
  • Dry and itchy
  • Rough or scaly
  • Yellow-looking, especially on the soles of your feet, palms, and the "laugh lines" of your face

Your nails may turn brittle or grow slowly. Your hair might change, too. It could become brittle or coarse, or you could have hair loss. Sometimes you can get thinning or loss of eyebrow hair, especially on the outer third of your brows. Learn more about how thyroid problems can cause hair loss.

Because hypothyroidism can weaken your heart and lungs, you might also have:

  • A slow heart rate
  • Shortness of breath during exercise
  • Weakness
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol levels

Although the condition usually affects adults, it can happen to kids, too. They have the same symptoms as grown-ups, but because thyroid hormones control growth, they frequently stop growing like they should. They may also reach puberty later. Adolescent girls could have problems with menstrual cycles, too.

Kids with hypothyroidism can also have problems with schoolwork, thanks to memory problems and fatigue.

No matter how old you are, if you're having symptoms, see your doctor. They can prescribe medicine that will boost your levels and get you back to feeling like your old self.