Complications of Hypothyroidism: A Comprehensive Guide for You

Complications of Hypothyroidism: A Comprehensive Guide for You
Published : Feb 04, 2024
Last Updated : Feb 06, 2024

If not treated on time, hypothyroidism can grow and cause a number of complications.

Regular screenings and knowledge of hypothyroidism symptoms help to ensure early diagnosis and avoid problems.

What do you understand by hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition when there is insufficient thyroid hormone in your bloodstream and your metabolism becomes weak.

When your thyroid stops producing and releasing enough thyroid hormone in your body, hypothyroidism develops.

This makes your metabolism slow down and affects your entire body.

Hypothyroidism is common and also known by another name i.e., underactive thyroid disease.

Myxedema is a dangerous illness that results from severe low thyroid levels and cause serious symptoms like:

  • Coma
  • A low body temperature
  • Confusion
  • Anemia
  • Heart failure

This serious type of hypothyroidism is dangerous and must not be ignored.

Hypothyroidism is a disorder that can be addressed easily with common medicines and under a doctor’s care.

What signs indicate hypothyroidism?

Signs of hypothyroidism can be occasionally unclear and mimic those of other diseases as well.

Here are some typical signs of hypothyroidism including:

  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Changes in your menstrual cycle
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Greater sensitivity to cold

While babies suffering from hypothyroidism might have no symptoms. In case, symptoms occur, they include:

  • Constipation
  • Hoarse cry
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Low muscle tones
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Puffy face
  • Little or no growth
  • Stomach bloating
  • Persistent jaundice
  • Poor feeding habits
  • Swollen tongue

In case, your baby experiences any of these symptoms then make an appointment with your doctor.

Children and teens can also experience hypothyroidism. Some common symptoms include:

  • Slow mental development
  • Delay in puberty
  • Slower development of permanent teeth
  • Delay in growth and short height

Who is affected by illness of hypothyroidism?

People of all ages, sexes, and ethnicities might develop hypothyroidism condition.

Although widespread, Hypothyroidism usually affects women above the age of 45 years.

What complications can be caused by untreated hypothyroidism?

Here are some major complications of hypothyroidism which you must know:

Cardiovascular ailments

Your thyroid hormone level is responsible for impacting cardiovascular health.

While suffering from hypothyroidism, you might experience a weakened pulse, slow pulse, and abnormal heartbeats.

Sometimes, hypothyroidism can also reduce volume of blood pumped out by your heart in each beat by 30% to 50%. 

Also, low levels of triiodothyronine (T3) thyroid hormone are linked with heart failure problems.

Luckily, most cardiac complications linked to hypothyroidism disorder can be treated easily.

This involves using right medicine under supervision of a doctor to treat your thyroid function.

Peripheral neuropathy

Untreated hypothyroidism after some time can be harmful to your peripheral nerves.

Peripheral nerves are responsible for conveying signals from your brain and spinal cord to rest of body.

You need to know that peripheral neuropathy is responsible for causing numbness, pain, and tingling as its effects.

Erectile Dysfunction

According to the International Society of Sexual Medicine, thyroid issues may cause Ed. Hypothyroidism, an underactive thyroid, Hyperthyroidism, and an overactive thyroid may affect your sexual health.

These thyroid issues can cause erectile dysfunction, leading to symptoms like fatigue, low mood, and low sex drive. Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism may make it difficult for you to get aroused and cause difficulty getting an erection.

Hyperthyroidism in men is often seen to cause premature ejaculation. And Hypothyroidism may cause complications like delayed ejaculation.

Thyroid hormone problems also interfere with the hormones that regulate testosterone production. However, the imbalance in sexual hormones and weakened production of molecules that help regulate blood vessel function in the penis may lead to ED.

Birth defects

In case, you are pregnant and suffer from hypothyroidism then your child can have a high risk of experiencing birth defects.

major mental & physical development disorders can also affect children born to mothers with untreated thyroid conditions.

This happens because thyroid hormones are necessary for development of a baby’s brain.

However, if these problems are addressed quickly after birth, then children can have a healthy development.

Renal complications

Serious hypothyroidism can decrease or affect functioning of your kidney due to low blood flow to your kidneys.

Also, your ability to excrete water and absorb sodium is affected to a great extent.

As a result, blood levels of sodium in your body can be low.

You can treat this complication by replacing thyroid hormones but renal problems can take time if low hormone levels persist.


When thyroid hormone levels are too low in your body, ovulation is affected and a woman’s chance of conceiving is decreased.

Even after proper treatment for hypothyroidism like thyroid hormone replacement therapy, there is no assurance that a woman can be fertile. 

Nervous system complications

Hypothyroidism can lead to problems with nervous system like nerve injury or muscle weakness.

Complications of your nervous system can lead to:

  • Trouble talking
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Difficulty in walking
  • Hoarseness
  • Pain in hands and feet

People with untreated hypothyroidism have more risk of suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome.

Mental health problems

Symptoms of hypothyroidism can affect your mental health if it is not treated on time.

Mild hypothyroidism can lead to mild forms of depression. Without treatment, your symptoms of untreated thyroid can increase.

This directly affects your mental state and makes you suffer from depression disorder.

Furthermore, untreated hypothyroidism is linked with a slow decrease in your mental functioning. 


Myxedema is a medical word for severe hypothyroidism which progress with no treatment.

This form of hypothyroidism is dangerous and can slow down metabolism, increasing your chance of falling into a coma.

When you experience symptoms of Myxedema like cold intolerance or extreme fatigue then consult a doctor immediately.


A lump in throat or goiter is considered an abnormal swelling of your thyroid gland.

Individuals with hypothyroidism can develop Goiters due to body’s attempt to encourage thyroid hormone production.

Thus, by understanding symptoms of this disorder and seeking medical care, you can prevent difficulties of hypothyroidism.