Hashimoto's Disease (Hashimoto Thyroiditis)


This is a disorder of the immune system. It affects the thyroid. That's a hormone-producing gland in your neck. The thyroid makes hormones that help control many activities in your body. Hashimoto's disease damages your thyroid and keeps it from making enough thyroid hormone for your body's needs. We call that "hypothyroidism."


Hashimoto's disease is a malfunction in your body's immune system. That's the system that fights infection. With Hashimoto's disease, your immune system begins to attack healthy cells in your thyroid. We don't know why this happens.


Hashimoto's disease causes a wide range of symptoms, although you may not notice them for years. It can begin with an enlarging of the thyroid. We call that a "goiter." As it progresses, you may have other symptoms. You may feel tired and cold. You may have constipation, and you may gain weight. Women may have heavier-than-normal menstrual periods, and trouble getting pregnant. Ask your doctor for a full list of symptoms.


Hashimoto's disease is treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone pill. You take it every day. It normalizes your hormone levels. Your healthcare provider will create a plan that's right for you.