Hypothyroidism | Symptoms


What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

The symptoms of hypothyroidism tend to develop slowly. They can be different from case to case. Initial symptoms include slight fatigue and sluggishness. As your metabolism slows, you may develop other symptoms:

  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Pale, dry skin
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarse voice
  • Elevated blood cholesterol
  • Unexpected weight gain
  • Muscle aches, cramps, tenderness or stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal menstrual periods in women
  • Depression
  • Visibly enlarged thyroid
  • Brittle hair and fingernails
  • Forgetfulness

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism in children?

Anyone can develop the condition, including infants and teenagers.

Babies born without a thyroid gland or with a thyroid that doesn’t work properly don’t have many symptoms at first. They may have yellowing of the skin and the whites of their eyes (jaundice), a puffy face, frequent choking and a large tongue that sticks out slightly. As the disease progresses, infants may have trouble feeding and may not grow and develop normally. They may also be constipated, have poor muscle tone or be very sleepy. If it is not treated, hypothyroidism in infants can lead to physical and mental retardation. In the United States, newborn infants are screened for hypothyroidism before leaving the hospital.

Children and teens who develop hypothyroidism have the same symptoms as adults, but they may also experience:

  • Very slow growth
  • Delayed development of permanent teeth
  • Delayed puberty
  • Slow mental development

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/07