What is Hashimoto's thyroiditis?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease (a disease involving the immune system) in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the thyroid gland (a small butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck). When this happens, the thyroid gland cannot make thyroid hormone as well as it should. The body needs thyroid hormone for normal metabolism.

What are the symptoms and signs of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis?

  • Poor growth in children
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Sensitivity to cold temperatures
  • Dry, rough skin and hair
  • Unusual hair loss
  • Hoarse voice
  • Irregular or heavy periods (in girls)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Large thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Dull reflexes

Rev. 9/2017. MassGeneral Hospital for Children and Massachusetts General Hospital do not endorse any of the brands listed on this handout. This handout is intended to provide health information so that you can be better informed. It is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to treatment of any medical conditions.