Medically reviewed by Neka Miller, PhD on February 11, 2021. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
Thyroid disease is a common condition affecting more than 20 million people, but what causes thyroid problems?
If you’re curious about the causes of thyroid problems, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, we break down the key points to know below.
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Although the thyroid is a small gland located at the base of your neck, it plays a major role in your overall health and wellness. When your body over- or under-produces thyroid hormones, it can affect you in different ways. Overproduction of thyroid hormone is referred to as hyperthyroidism, and underproduction is known as hypothyroidism.
Want to learn more about common thyroid disease symptoms? Check out this blog!
What causes these thyroid problems? Let’s break down some of the potential conditions that can contribute to hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, starting with hypothyroidism:
Conditions that can cause hyperthyroidism include:
According to the American Thyroid Association, women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems. And of the women who develop a thyroid dysfunction during their life, 1 in 5 has it as a result of genetic mutation of the TSHB gene.
The following thyroid-related diseases affect more women than men:
Because women are more likely than men to have a thyroid condition, there are several symptoms that exclusively affect women and child-bearing individuals with thyroid disease. For example, pregnant women with undiagnosed or inadequately treated hypothyroidism have an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and severe developmental problems in their children.
Additionally, women with thyroid disorders may experience problems with their menstrual cycles, fertility issues, and problems during pregnancy.
While stress alone does not cause thyroid disorders, it can certainly make the condition worse. Your thyroid is responsible for controlling many of the body’s key activities by releasing specific hormones into the bloodstream. So when your thyroid isn’t functioning properly, it can have an effect on:
In short, your body requires the right balance of thyroid hormone levels in order to effectively carry out many of its functions—and stress can have an even greater, negative impact on someone with a thyroid disorder.
Want to check in on your sleep and stress hormones? Try the Everlywell Sleep & Stress Test, which allows you to measure critical hormones to better understand your sleep habits and stress management. You collect your sample at home, send it to a certified lab for testing, and get your physician-reviewed results in days.
Like most other health conditions, everyone’s experience with thyroid disease is different and somewhat unique to the individual. Therefore, treatment can vary from person to person and you should work with your healthcare provider to determine the best treatment plan for you.
Standard treatment for hypothyroidism may involve taking a daily use of the synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine.
Treatments for hyperthyroidism may include:
Skip the waiting rooms and surprise lab testing bills, and check on your thyroid hormone levels from the comfort of your home. Take the Everlywell Thyroid Test to measure your 3 main thyroid hormones plus thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOab).
1. Thyroid Disease. Cleveland Clinic. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.
2. General Information/Press Room. American Thyroid Association. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.
3. Thyroid disease. Office on Women's Health. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.
4. Thyroid Disease & Pregnancy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.
5. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.
6. Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). Mayo Clinic. URL. Accessed February 11, 2021.