Informational Posts

16 Health Conditions Hypothyroidism Can Cause

Originally published on 19th April 2016
Last updated on 8th January 2024

An untreated thyroid problem, such as undiagnosed hypothyroidism, or non-optimally treated hypothyroidism can lead to a number of other health problems.

This is due to thyroid hormone being required for many bodily functions, so when we do not have enough of it, other issues can arise.

Understanding your symptoms of hypothyroidism and having regular tests to monitor it, will help to prevent any complications. I’m going to explore some known complications below.

Rachel holding a butterfly

1. Goitres or Nodules

Have you ever noticed your neck seems enlarged or been told it ‘sticks out’? Do you struggle to swallow or feel a lump in your throat? Experience a croaky voice or tenderness?

You could have an enlarged thyroid gland, also called a goitre, or a nodule. It can be slight or very noticeable and is usually caused when your thyroid over exerts itself. Read more here.

2. Mental Health Conditions 

The symptoms of hypothyroidism can cause, be linked to, or have an effect on our mental health, such as depression and anxiety. I had both of these. The thyroid hormone T3 is incredibly important for mental health but many of us are low in it. Read more about hypothyroidism and mental health here.

3. Infertility

If thyroid hormone levels are not right, it can affect ovulation and decrease chances of conceiving. Miscarriages can also be caused by. low thyroid hormone levels in pregnancy. You can read more here.

4. Low Sex Drive and Impacts To Sexual Performance

Having a low libido or sex drive is seldom talked about, however, hypothyroidism can cause both men and women to feel a lack of interest in sex. Read more about this here.

Men specifically may also experience erectile dysfunction, infertility, low testosterone levels (which can cause lower sperm count while testicles might appear larger), lowered sperm mobility, slow facial hair growth, premature balding or thinning of hair and reduced muscle mass, from hypothyroidism.

5. Menstrual Problems

Along with many of the other symptoms of hypothyroidism, menstrual issues is a common one. Thyroid hormone is needed for pretty much every function and cell in the body so when your thyroid levels are off, many processes — including your menstrual cycle — can be affected. Read more on this here.

6. Low Vitamin Levels

Low levels in iron, ferritin, Vitamin D, B12 etc. are all common with hypothyroidism. It’s worth getting your levels checked and then ensuring they’re optimal, as they can be pretty simple to fix yet cause many symptoms.

7. Heart Problems

Inadequately treated hypothyroidism can affect the health of your heart [1], such as an increase in developing heart disease, and “bad” cholesterol, with high and low blood pressure also linked to thyroid problems.

Due to high levels of “bad” cholesterol, hypothyroidism can therefore also lead to a hardening of the arteries, which increases your risk of heart attacks and strokes. Read more here.

I had high blood pressure before my thyroid was properly treated.

8. Adrenal Dysfunction

If left a long time without correct treatment, your adrenal glands may work harder to keep you going during this time of stress. Read more here.

Many doctors don’t recognise adrenal dysfunction as a problem. Know that you can order your own testing from here and here.

9. Hypoglycaemia

Also known as low blood sugar, hypoglycaemia is linked to adrenal dysfunction, so having adrenal issues increases your chances of having this.

Research has shown that having Hashimoto’s also puts us at an increased risk of blood sugar imbalances or glycemic impairments and this then places extra stress on our adrenals, and around 90% of us with hypothyroidism have Hashimoto’s too.

10. Myxoedema Coma

Myxoedema Coma is a loss of brain function as a result of longstanding, severely low level of thyroid hormone. It is considered a life-threatening complication of hypothyroidism but is extremely rare these days. Don’t skip taking your medication!

11. Fibromyalgia

Although many thyroid patients are told they also have fibromyalgia, a separate condition to their hypothyroidism, and although it can be a separate health issue, it may actually be a symptom of a poorly treated thyroid condition.

Dr Barry Durrant-Peatfield covers this in his book. I’ve heard many patients say that once they were able to get out of their hypothyroid state, going by a full thyroid panel and raising Free T3 especially to optimal, their fibromyalgia improved or went away altogether.

A full thyroid panel consists of: TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Tpoab and Tgab.

You can order a thyroid panel test in the UK here and worldwide here.

12. Muscle Pain/Myopathy

Muscle and joint pain, stiffness, cramping and spasming are well reported among thyroid patients. You can read more here, on one of my most popular articles of all time.

13. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome / ME

Another condition I have been diagnosed with in the past is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

This can be another sign of hypothyroidism not being optimally treated, and once your blood results (a full thyroid panel) read optimally, and you have optimal iron, ferritin, B12 and Vitamin D, etc. it may well just go away or improve a lot.

14. Obesity

Since low thyroid can lead to weight gain, this can result in being overweight and also obesity.

15. Stomach and Gut Problems

Another issue I’ve had whilst also being hypothyroid, is regular acid reflux.

Gut problems linked to hypothyroidism can also include GERD/GORD and low levels of stomach acid. The right amount of acid can help stop reflux.

If you get symptoms such as heartburn, acid on your chest or at the back of your mouth, you likely have stomach acid or gut health issues.

You need to be wary though that most medicine given for acid reflux issues can badly interact with Levothyroxine (and other T4-only meds).

16. Alzheimer’s Disease

Particularly interesting and quite scary, is Alzheimer’s Disease being connected to your thyroid levels.

A study found that:

Women with TSH below 1.0 and those with a TSH above 2.1 had a greater than two-fold higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.” [2]

In contrast, they observed no such relationship between TSH levels and Alzheimer’s Disease risk in men.


It’s very important to say that I am of course not implying you’ll get or have any or all of the above, but they’re definitely worth keeping in mind.

Ensuring your thyroid levels are optimised can go a long way in preventing other issues, as well as making sure you’re having a full thyroid panel tested.

If your doctor won’t test the full thyroid panel, you can order your own here and here.

Have you been diagnosed with any other conditions?

You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given.




About Author

Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts and at events about the many aspects thyroid disease affects and how to overcome these. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her bestselling books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".


  • Raine
    June 10, 2023 at 9:21 am

    Took a few years to get diagnosed, as bloods were always in range.
    Just before diagnosis I was diagnosed with bradycardia, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, diverticulitis, pityriosis lichenodes chronica and granuloma annulare. And of course obesity. Then Hypothyroidism, then chronic fatigue. If you are overweight everything is blamed on your weight. Before my bradycardia results came through the consultant told me my problem was my weight.. and discharged me if I hadn’t chased up my results I wouldn’t now have a pacemaker. I think weight problems need to be looked at more as not everyone who is overweight, overeats.

  • Jayshree Ram
    November 18, 2021 at 12:45 am

    I was diagnosed with Lichen Planus about a year after my hypothyroid diagnosis. It is a lesser known auto immune disease that has no cure yet. It is an itchy condition that is treated with topical steroids and leaves permanent scars and darkened skin.

  • Kim B.
    August 20, 2019 at 11:09 pm

    Frozen shoulder. Soon after thyroidectomy for Graves while on Synthroid only and undertreated, developed RA in several fingers.

  • Ronda R
    October 27, 2018 at 3:09 pm

    Hello There. I discovered your blog through msn. It was a very well written article you had over there.
    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely return.

    • Rachel Hill
      October 29, 2018 at 9:57 am

      Thank yo. Happy to have you here 🙂

  • Bulgari B
    December 4, 2017 at 8:28 pm

    Your writing style is unique in comparison to other folks I’ve read stuff from. Keep up the good work!


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