; thyroid-disease
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									                                                                    Frequently Asked questions

                                                                               Q: What is hyperthyroidism?
                                                                               A:	 Some	disorders	cause	the	thyroid	to	
                                                                                   make	more	thyroid	hormones	than	the	
                                                                                   body	needs.	This	is	called	hyperthy-

                              Disease                                              roidism	(hy-pur-THY-roi-diz-uhm),	or	
                                                                                   overactive	thyroid.	The	most	common	
                                                                                   cause	of	hyperthyroidism	is	Graves'	dis-
                                                                                   ease.	Graves’	disease	is	an	autoimmune	
                              Q: What is the thyroid?                              disorder,	in	which	the	body's	own	
                              A:	 Your	thyroid	(THY-roid)	is	a	small	              defense	system,	called	the	immune	sys-
                                  gland	found	at	the	base	of	your	neck,	           tem,	stimulates	the	thyroid.	This	causes	
                                  just	below	your	Adam's	apple.	The	               it	to	make	too	much	of	the	thyroid	
                                  thyroid	produces	two	main	hormones	              hormones.	Hyperthyroidism	can	also	be	
  TDD: 1-888-220-5446             called	T3	and	T4.	These	hormones	                caused	by	thyroid	nodules	that	prompt	
                                  travel	in	your	blood	to	all	parts	of	your	       excess	thyroid	hormones	to	be	made	
                                  body.	The	thyroid	hormones	control	              (see	What	are	thyroid	nodules?).
                                  the	rate	of	many	activities	in	your	body.	
                                  These	include	how	fast	you	burn	calo-
                                  ries	and	how	fast	your	heart	beats.	All	     Q: What are the symptoms of
                                  of	these	activities	together	are	known	as	       hyperthyroidism?
                                  your	body's	metabolism.	A	thyroid	that	      A:	 At	first,	you	might	not	notice	symp-
                                  is	working	right	will	produce	the	right	         toms	of	hyperthyroidism.	They	usually	
                                  amounts	of	hormones	needed	to	keep	              begin	slowly.	But	over	time,	a	speeded	
                                  your	body’s	metabolism	working	at	a	             up	metabolism	can	cause	symptoms	
                                  rate	that	is	not	too	fast	or	too	slow.	          such	as:	
                                                                               	   •	 Weight	loss,	even	if	you	eat	the	same	
                              Q: What kinds of thyroid problems                       or	more	food
                                  can affect women?                            	   •	 Eating	more	than	usual
                              A:	 Women	are	more	likely	than	men	to	           	   •	 Rapid	or	irregular	heartbeat	or	
                                  develop	thyroid	disorders.	Thyroid	dis-             pounding	of	your	heart
                                  orders	that	can	affect	women	include:
                                                                               	   •	 Anxiety
                              	   •	 Disorders	that	cause	hyperthyroidism
                                                                               	   •	 Irritability
                              	   •	 Disorders	that	cause	hypothyroidism
                                                                               	   •	 Trouble	sleeping
                              	   •	 Thyroid	nodules
                                                                               	   •	 Trembling	in	your	hands	and	fingers
                              	   •	 Thyroiditis
                                                                               	   •	 Increased	sweating	
                              	   •	 Thyroid	cancer
                                                                               	   •	 Increased	sensitivity	to	heat
                              	   •	 Goiter
                                                                               	   •	 Muscle	weakness
                                                                               	   •	 More	frequent	bowel	movements	
                                                                               	   •	 Less	frequent	menstrual	periods	with	
                                                                                      lighter	than	normal	menstrual	f low

                                       U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
                                                                     Frequently Asked questions

                                  In	addition	to	these	symptoms,	people	       	   •	 Constipation
                                  with	hyperthyroidism	may	have	osteo-         	   •	 Muscle	weakness
                                  porosis,	or	weak,	brittle	bones.	In	fact,	
                                  hyperthyroidism	might	affect	your	bones	     	   •	 Joint	or	muscle	pain	
                                  before	you	have	any	of	the	other	symp-       	   •	 Depression
                                  toms	of	the	disorder.	This	is	especially	
                                                                               	   •	 Fatigue	(feeling	very	tired)
                                  true	of	postmenopausal	women,	who	are	
                                  already	at	high	risk	of	osteoporosis.        	   •	 Pale	dry	skin
                                                                               	   •	 A	puffy	face
                              Q: What is hypothyroidism?                       	   •	 A	hoarse	voice
                              A:	 Hypothyroidism	(hy-poh-THY-roi-
                                                                               	   •	 Excessive	menstrual	bleeding
         1-800-994-9662           diz-uhm)	is	when	your	thyroid	does	
  TDD: 1-888-220-5446             not	make	enough	thyroid	hormones.	It	            In	addition	to	these	symptoms,	people	
                                  is	also	called	underactive	thyroid.	The	         with	hypothyroidism	may	have	high	
                                  most	common	cause	of	hypothyroid-                blood	levels	of	LDL	cholesterol.	This	
                                  ism	in	the	United	States	is	Hashimoto's	         is	the	so-called	"bad"	cholesterol,	which	
                                  thyroiditis.	Hashimoto’s	thyroiditis	is	         can	increase	your	risk	for	heart	disease.	
                                  an	autoimmune	disease,	in	which	the	
                                  immune	system	mistakenly	attacks	the	        Q: What are thyroid nodules?
                                  thyroid.	This	attack	damages	the	thy-
                                                                               A:	 A	thyroid	nodule	(NAHD-yool)	is	a	
                                  roid	so	that	it	does	not	make	enough	
                                                                                   swelling	in	one	section	of	the	thyroid	
                                  hormones.	Hypothyroidism	also	can	be	
                                                                                   gland.	The	nodule	can	be	solid	or	filled	
                                  caused	by:
                                                                                   with	f luid	or	blood.	You	can	have	just	
                              	   •	 Treatment	of	hyperthyroidism	                 one	thyroid	nodule	or	many.
                              	   •	 Radiation	treatment	of	certain	can-           Most	thyroid	nodules	do	not	cause	
                                     cers	                                         symptoms.	But	some	thyroid	nod-
                              	   •	 Thyroid	removal	                              ules	make	too	much	of	the	thyroid	
                                                                                   hormones,	causing	hyperthyroid-
                                  In	rare	cases,	problems	with	the	pitu-           ism.	Sometimes,	nodules	get	to	be	big	
                                  itary	gland	can	cause	the	thyroid	to	be	         enough	to	cause	problems	with	swal-
                                  less	active.                                     lowing	or	breathing.	In	fewer	than	10	
                                                                                   percent	of	cases,	thyroid	nodules	are	
                              Q: What are the symptoms of                          cancerous.
                                 hypothyroidism?                                   Thyroid	nodules	are	quite	common.	By	
                                  Symptoms	of	hypothyroidism	tend	to	              the	time	you	reach	the	age	of	50,	you	
                                  develop	slowly,	often	over	several	years.	       have	a	50	percent	chance	of	having	a	
                                  At	first,	you	may	just	feel	tired	and	           thyroid	nodule	larger	than	a	half	inch	
                                  sluggish.	Later,	you	may	develop	other	          wide.	We	do	not	know	why	nodules	
                                  symptoms	of	a	slowed	down	metabo-                form	in	otherwise	normal	thyroids.
                                  lism,	including:	                                You	can	sometimes	see	or	feel	a	thyroid	
                              	   •	 Weight	gain,	even	though	you	are	             nodule	yourself.	Try	standing	in	front	
                                     not	eating	more	food                          of	a	mirror	and	raise	your	chin	slightly.	
                              	   •	 Increased	sensitivity	to	cold                 Look	for	a	bump	on	either	side	of	your	

                                       U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
                                                                    Frequently Asked questions

                                  windpipe	below	your	Adam's	apple.	If	            Silent or painless thyroiditis
                                  the	bump	moves	up	and	down	when	                 Symptoms	are	the	same	as	in	postpar-
                                  you	swallow,	it	may	be	a	thyroid	nod-            tum	thyroiditis,	but	they	are	not	related	
                                  ule.	Ask	your	doctor	to	look	at	it.              to	having	given	birth.
                                                                                   Subacute thyroiditis
                              Q: What is thyroiditis?                              Symptoms	are	the	same	as	in	post-
                              A:	 Thyroiditis	(thy-roi-DY-tiss)	is	inf lam-        partum	and	silent	thyroiditis,	but	the	
                                  mation,	or	swelling,	of	the	thyroid.	            inf lammation	in	the	thyroid	leads	to	
                                  There	are	several	types	of	thyroiditis,	         pain	in	the	neck,	jaw,	or	ear.	Unlike	the	
                                  one	of	which	is	Hashimoto's	thyroiditis.	        other	types	of	thyroiditis,	subacute	thy-
                                  Other	types	of	thyroiditis	include:              roiditis	may	be	caused	by	an	infection.
         1-800-994-9662           Postpartum thyroidits
  TDD: 1-888-220-5446             Like	Hashimoto's	thyroiditis,	postpar-       Q: What are the symptoms of thy-
                                  tum	thyroiditis	seems	to	be	caused	by	          roid cancer?
                                  a	problem	with	the	immune	system.	               Most	people	with	thyroid	cancer	have	
                                  In	the	United	States,	postpartum	thy-            a	thyroid	nodule	that	is	not	causing	
                                  roiditis	occurs	in	about	5	to	10	percent	        any	symptoms.	If	you	have	a	thyroid	
                                  of	women.	The	first	phase	starts	1	to	4	         nodule,	there	is	a	small	chance	it	may	
                                  months	after	giving	birth.	In	this	phase,	       be	thyroid	cancer.	To	tell	if	the	nodule	
                                  you	may	get	symptoms	of	hyperthy-                is	cancerous,	your	doctor	will	have	to	
                                  roidism	because	the	damaged	thyroid	is	          do	certain	tests	(see	How	are	thyroid	
                                  leaking	thyroid	hormones	out	into	the	           diseases	diagnosed?).	A	few	people	with	
                                  bloodstream.	The	second	phase	starts	            thyroid	cancer	may	have	symptoms.	If	
                                  about	4	to	8	months	after	delivery.	In	          the	cancer	is	big	enough,	it	may	cause	
                                  this	phase,	you	may	get	symptoms	of	             swelling	you	can	see	in	the	neck.	It	may	
                                  hypothyroidism	because,	by	this	time,	           also	cause	pain	or	problems	swallowing.	
                                  the	thyroid	has	lost	most	of	its	hor-            Some	people	get	a	hoarse	voice.
                                  mones.	Not	everyone	with	postpartum	
                                                                                   Thyroid	cancer	is	rare	compared	with	
                                  thyroiditis	goes	through	both	phases.	
                                                                                   other	types	of	cancer.	It	is	more	com-
                                  In	most	women	who	have	postpartum	
                                                                                   mon	in	people	who:
                                  thyroiditis,	thyroid	function	returns	to	
                                  normal	within	12	to	18	months	after	         	   •	 Have	a	history	of	exposure	of	the	
                                  symptoms	start.                                     thyroid	to	radiation	(but	not	routine	
                                                                                      X-ray	exposure,	as	in	dental	X-rays	
                                  Risk	factors	for	postpartum	thyroiditis	
                                                                                      or	mammograms)
                                  include	having:
                              	   •	 An	autoimmune	disease,	like	type	1	       	   •	 Have	a	family	history	of	thyroid	can-
                                     diabetes                                         cer

                              	   •	 A	personal	history	or	family	history	     	   •	 Are	older	than	40	years	of	age
                                     of	thyroid	disorders
                              	   •	 Having	had	postpartum	thyroiditis	
                                     after	a	previous	pregnancy


                                        U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
                                                                    Frequently Asked questions

                              Q: What is a goiter?                                 Blood tests
                              A:	 A	goiter	is	an	abnormally	enlarged	thy-          Testing	the	level	of	thyroid	stimulating	
                                  roid	gland.	Causes	of	goiter	include:            hormone	(TSH)	in	your	blood	can	help	
                              	   •	 Iodine	deficiency.	Iodine	is	a	min-           your	doctor	figure	out	if	your	thyroid	
                                     eral	that	your	thyroid	uses	for	mak-          is	overactive	or	underactive.	TSH	tells	
                                     ing	thyroid	hormones.	Not	getting	            your	thyroid	to	make	thyroid	hor-
                                     enough	iodine	in	your	food	and	               mones.	Depending	on	the	results,	your	
                                     water	can	cause	your	thyroid	to	              doctor	might	order	another	blood	test	
                                     get	bigger.	This	cause	of	goiter	is	          to	check	levels	of	one	or	both	thyroid	
                                     uncommon	in	the	United	States	                hormones	in	your	blood.	If	your	doctor	
http://www.womenshealth.gov          because	iodine	is	added	to	table	salt.        suspects	an	immune	system	problem,	
         1-800-994-9662                                                            your	blood	may	also	be	tested	for	signs	
                              	   •	 Hashimoto's	thyroiditis
                                                                                   of	this.
  TDD: 1-888-220-5446         	   •	 Graves'	disease                               Radioactive iodine uptake test
                              	   •	 Thyroid	nodules                               For	this	test,	you	swallow	a	liquid	or	
                              	   •	 Thyroiditis                                   capsule	containing	a	small	dose	of	radio-
                                                                                   active	iodine	(radioiodine).	The	radio-
                              	   •	 Thyroid	cancer
                                                                                   iodine	collects	in	your	thyroid	because	
                                  Usually,	the	only	symptom	of	a	goiter	is	        your	thyroid	uses	iodine	to	make	thyroid	
                                  a	swelling	in	your	neck.	But	a	very	large	       hormones.	Then,	a	probe	placed	over	
                                  or	advanced	goiter	can	cause	a	tight	            your	thyroid	measures	the	amount	of	
                                  feeling	in	your	throat,	coughing,	or	            radioiodine	in	your	thyroid.	A	high	
                                  problems	swallowing	or	breathing.                uptake	of	radioiodine	means	that	your	
                                  Having	a	goiter	does	not	always	mean	            thyroid	is	making	too	much	of	the	thy-
                                  that	your	thyroid	is	not	making	the	right	       roid	hormones.	A	low	uptake	of	radioio-
                                  amount	of	hormones.	Depending	on	the	            dine	means	that	your	thyroid	is	not	mak-
                                  cause	of	your	goiter,	your	thyroid	could	        ing	enough	of	the	thyroid	hormones.
                                  be	making	too	much,	not	enough,	or	the	          Thyroid scan
                                  right	amount	of	hormones.
                                                                                   A	thyroid	scan	usually	uses	the	same	
                                                                                   radioiodine	dose	that	was	given	by	
                              Q: How are thyroid disorders diag-                   mouth	for	your	uptake	test.	You	lie	on	
                                  nosed?                                           a	table	while	a	special	camera	creates	
                              A:	 Thyroid	disorders	can	be	hard	to	diag-           an	image	of	your	thyroid	on	a	com-
                                  nose	because	their	symptoms	can	be	              puter	screen.	This	test	may	be	helpful	
                                  linked	to	many	other	health	problems.	           in	showing	whether	a	thyroid	nodule	is	
                                  Your	doctor	will	start	by	taking	a	medi-         cancerous.	Three	types	of	nodules	show	
                                  cal	history	and	asking	if	any	of	your	           up	in	this	test:
                                  family	members	has	a	history	of	thyroid	     	   •	 Thyroid	nodules	that	take	up	excess	
                                  disorders.	Your	doctor	will	also	give	              radioiodine	are	making	too	much	
                                  you	a	physical	exam	and	check	your	                 of	the	thyroid	hormones,	causing	
                                  neck	for	thyroid	nodules.	Depending	                hyperthyroidism.	These	nodules	
                                  on	your	symptoms,	your	doctor	may	                  show	up	brightly	on	the	scan	and	are	
                                  also	do	other	tests,	such	as:	                      called	"hot"	nodules.	

                                       U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
                                                                    Frequently Asked questions

                              	   •	 Thyroid	nodules	that	take	up	the	          	   •	 Antithyroid medicines block	the	
                                     same	amount	of	radioiodine	as	nor-                thyroid's	ability	to	make	new	thyroid	
                                     mal	thyroid	cells	are	making	a	nor-               hormones.	These	drugs	do	not	cause	
                                     mal	amount	of	thyroid	hormones.	                  permanent	damage	to	the	thyroid.
                                     These	are	called	"warm"	nodules.	          	   •	 Radioiodine	damages	or	destroys	
                              	   •	 Thyroid	nodules	that	do	not	take	up	              the	thyroid	cells	that	make	thyroid	
                                     radioiodine	are	not	making	thyroid	               hormones.	For	this	treatment,	your	
                                     hormones.	They	appear	as	defects	or	              doctor	will	give	you	a	higher	dose	of	
                                     holes	in	the	scan	and	are	called	"cold"	          a	different	type	of	radioiodine	than	is	
                                     nodules.	                                         used	for	the	radioiodine	uptake	test	
                                  Hot	nodules	are	almost	never	cancer-                 or	the	thyroid	scan.
         1-800-994-9662           ous.	A	small	percentage	of	warm	and	          	   •	 Surgery	to	remove	most	of	the	thy-
  TDD: 1-888-220-5446             cold	nodules	are	cancerous.                          roid.
                                  Thyroid fine needle biopsy                    	   •	 Beta	(BAY-tuh)-blockers	are	medi-
                                  This	test	is	used	to	see	if	thyroid	nod-             cines	that	block	the	effects	of	thyroid	
                                  ules	have	normal	cells	in	them.	Local	               hormones	on	the	body.	These	medi-
                                  anesthetic	may	be	used	to	numb	an	area	              cines	can	be	helpful	in	slowing	your	
                                  on	your	neck.	Then,	a	very	thin	needle	              heart	rate	and	reducing	other	symp-
                                  is	inserted	into	the	thyroid	to	withdraw	            toms	until	one	of	the	other	forms	
                                  some	cells	and	f luid.	The	withdrawal	               of	treatment	can	take	effect.	Beta-
                                  of	cells	and	f luid	is	called	a	biopsy	(BY-          blockers	do	not	reduce	the	amount	
                                  op-see).	A	special	type	of	doctor	called	            of	thyroid	hormones	that	are	made.
                                  a	pathologist	(path-ol-uh-jist)	examines	         If	your	thyroid	is	destroyed	by	radioio-
                                  the	cells	under	a	microscope	to	see	              dine	or	removed	through	surgery,	you	
                                  if	they	are	abnormal.	Abnormal	cells	             must	take	thyroid	hormone	pills	for	the	
                                  could	mean	thyroid	cancer.                        rest	of	your	life.	These	pills	give	your	
                                  Thyroid ultrasound                                body	the	thyroid	hormones	that	your	
                                  The	thyroid	ultrasound	uses	sound	                thyroid	would	normally	make.
                                  waves	to	create	a	computer	image	of	the	
                                  thyroid.	This	test	can	help	your	doctor	      Q: How is hypothyroidism treated?
                                  tell	what	type	of	nodule	you	have	and	        A:	 Hypothyroidism	is	treated	with	medi-
                                  how	large	it	is.	Ultrasound	may	also	             cine	to	supply	the	body	with	the	thyroid	
                                  be	helpful	in	detecting	thyroid	cancer,	          hormones	it	needs	to	function	right.	
                                  although	by	itself	it	cannot	be	used	to	          The	most	commonly	used	medicine	is	
                                  diagnose	thyroid	cancer.	You	may	have	            levothyroxine	(le-voh-thy-ROK-suhn).	
                                  repeat	thyroid	ultrasounds	to	see	if	your	        This	is	a	man-made	form	of	T4.	It	is	
                                  nodule	is	growing	or	shrinking.                   exactly	the	same	as	the	T4	that	your	
                                                                                    thyroid	makes.	When	you	take	T4,	your	
                              Q: How is hyperthyroidism treated?                    body	makes	the	T3	it	needs	from	the	T4	
                              A:	 Your	doctor's	choice	of	treatment	will	           in	the	pills.	A	man-made	form	of	T3,	
                                  depend	on	the	cause	of	your	hyperthy-             called	liothyronine	(ly-oh-THY-roh-
                                  roidism	and	how	severe	your	symptoms	             neen),	is	also	available.	Some	doctors	and	
                   page          are.	Treatments	include:                          patients	prefer	a	combination	of	T4	and	

                                       U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
                                                                   Frequently Asked questions

                                  T3	or	T3	by	itself.	Most	patients	with	    Q: How is thyroid cancer treated?
                                  hypothyroidism	will	need	to	be	on	thy-     	   •	 Surgery.	The	main	treatment	for	
                                  roid	hormone	treatment	for	the	rest	of	           thyroid	cancer	is	to	remove	the	
                                  their	lives.                                      entire	thyroid	gland,	or	as	much	of	it	
                                                                                    as	can	be	safely	removed.	Often,	sur-
                                                                                    gery	alone	will	cure	the	thyroid	can-
                              Q: How are thyroid nodules treat-
                                                                                    cer,	especially	if	the	cancer	is	small.
                              A:	 Treatment	depends	on	the	type	of	          	   •	 Radioiodine.	A	large	dose	of	radio-
                                  nodule	or	nodules	that	you	have.	                 iodine	will	destroy	thyroid	cancer	
                                  Treatments	include:                               cells	with	little	or	no	damage	to	
http://www.womenshealth.gov                                                         other	parts	of	the	body.
                              	   •	 Watchful waiting.	If	your	nodule	
                                     is	not	cancerous,	your	doctor	may	
  TDD: 1-888-220-5446                decide	to	simply	watch	your	condi-      Q: How is goiter treated?
                                     tion.	This	involves	giving	you	regu-    A:	 The	treatment	for	goiter	depends	on	
                                     lar	physical	exams,	blood	tests,	and	       the	cause	of	the	goiter.	If	your	goiter	is	
                                     perhaps	thyroid	ultrasound	tests.	If	       caused	by	not	getting	enough	iodine,	
                                     your	nodule	does	not	change,	you	           you	may	be	given	an	iodine	supplement	
                                     may	not	need	further	treatment.             to	swallow	and	T4	hormone,	if	need	
                              	   •	 Radioiodine. If	you	have	nodules	           be.	Other	treatments	include:
                                     that	are	making	too	much	of	the	        	   •	 Radioiodine	to	shrink	the	goiter,	
                                     thyroid	hormones,	radioiodine	treat-           especially	if	parts	of	the	goiter	are	
                                     ment	may	be	used.	The	radioiodine	             overactive
                                     is	absorbed	by	the	thyroid	nodules,	    	   •	 Surgery	to	remove	part	or	almost	all	
                                     and	it	causes	them	to	shrink	and	              of	the	thyroid
                                     make	smaller	amounts	of	thyroid	
                              	   •	 Alcohol ablation	(uh-BLAY-              Q: Are there any complementary
                                     shuhn).	In	this	procedure,	your	doc-        or alternative treatments for
                                     tor	injects	alcohol	into	thyroid	nod-       thyroid problems?
                                     ules	that	make	too	much	of	the	thy-     A:	 To	date,	we	don’t	know	enough	about	
                                     roid	hormones.	The	alcohol	shrinks	         alternative	treatments	for	thyroid	prob-
                                     the	nodules	and	they	make	smaller	          lems.	Your	doctor	can	explain	which	
                                     amounts	of	thyroid	hormones.                treatment	options	are	best	for	you.		
                              	   •	 Surgery.	All	nodules	that	are	
                                     cancerous	are	surgically	removed.	      Q: Can thyroid disorders cause
                                     Sometimes,	nodules	that	are	not	            problems with pregnancy?
                                     cancerous	but	are	big	enough	to	        A:	 Both	hyperthyroidism	and	hypothy-
                                     cause	problems	breathing	or	swal-           roidism	can	make	it	more	difficult	for	
                                     lowing	are	also	surgically	removed.         you	to	become	pregnant.
                                                                                 Hyperthyroidism	that	is	not	properly	
                                                                                 treated	during	pregnancy	can	cause:
                                                                             	   •	 Early	labor	and	premature	babies

                                       U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
                                                                    Frequently Asked questions

                              	   •	 Preeclampsia	(pre-ee-CLAMP-see-            Q: Can I exercise if I have a thyroid
                                     uh),	a	serious	condition	starting	after	       problem?
                                     20	weeks	of	pregnancy	that	causes	         A:	 Some	people	with	thyroid	problems	may	
                                     high	blood	pressure	and	problems	              find	exercise	difficult.	It	is	important	
                                     with	the	kidneys	and	other	organs	             to	talk	to	your	doctor	about	the	right	
                              	   •	 Fast	heart	rate	of	the	developing	             amount	of	physical	activity	for	you.
                              	   •	 Smaller	babies                             Q: Should I get tested for thyroid
                              	   •	 Stillbirths                                    diseases?
                                                                                A:	 Ask	your	doctor	or	nurse	if	you	need	
                                  Women	who	have	hypothyroidism	that	               to	have	a	thyroid	test.	This	is	especially	
         1-800-994-9662           is	not	diagnosed	or	properly	treated	             important	if	you	are	of	childbearing	age,	
  TDD: 1-888-220-5446             during	pregnancy	may	be	at	increased	             have	already	had	a	thyroid	problem,	or	
                                  risk	for:                                         have	had	surgery	or	radiotherapy	affect-
                              	   •	 Anemia	(lower	than	normal	number	              ing	the	thyroid	gland.	You	may	also	be	
                                     of	healthy	red	blood	cells)                    at	higher	risk	if	you	have:	
                              	   •	 Preeclampsia                               	   •	 Goiter	
                              	   •	 Low-birth-weight	babies                    	   •	 Pernicious	anemia	
                              	   •	 Problems	with	brain	development	in	        	   •	 Type	1	diabetes	
                                     the	baby                                   	   •	 Vitiligo	
                              	   •	 Abnormal	bleeding	after	giving	birth       	   •	 Prematurely	gray	hair	
                                  If	you	are	pregnant	or	are	thinking	              At	any	age,	be	sure	to	ask	your	doctor	
                                  about	becoming	pregnant,	ask	your	                about	any	thyroid	disorder	symptoms	
                                  doctor	if	you	need	a	thyroid	test.	This	is	       you	might	have.		n
                                  especially	true	if	you	or	a	family	mem-
                                  ber	has	a	history	of	thyroid	problems	or	
                                  conditions	related	to	thyroid	disorders,	
                              	   •	 Prematurely	gray	hair
                              	   •	 White	patches	on	the	skin
                              	   •	 Type	1	diabetes


                                       U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health
                                                                 Frequently Asked questions

                              For more information
                              For	more	information	about	thyroid	diseases,	contact	womenshealth.gov	at	1-800-994-
                              9662	or	the	following	organizations:

                              The American Thyroid Association              National Cancer Institute
                              Phone	number:	(703)	998-8890                  Phone	number:	(800)	422-6237
                              Internet	address:	http://www.thyroid.org      Internet	address:	http://www.cancer.gov/
http://www.womenshealth.gov   The Hormone Foundation
         1-800-994-9662       Phone	number:	(800)	467-6663                  Thyroid Cancer Survivors, Inc.
                              Internet	address:	http://www.hormone.         Phone	number:	(877)	588-7904
  TDD: 1-888-220-5446
                              org/thyroid/                                  Internet	address:	http://www.thyca.org/

                              National Endocrine and Metabolic
                              Diseases Information Service
                              National Institute of Diabetes and
                              Digestive and Kidney Diseases
                              Phone	number:	(888)	828–0904
                              Internet	address:	http://endocrine.niddk.

                                This FAQ was reviewed by:
                                Jacqueline	Jonklass,	MD,	PhD,	MPH
                                Assistant	Professor
                                Division	of	Endocrinology	and	Metabolism
                                Department	of	Medicine
                                Georgetown	Univeristy

                                Mark	Helfand,	MD,	MS,	MPH
                                Director,	Oregon	Evidence-Based	Practice	Center
                                Assistant	Professor,	School	of	Medicine
                                Oregon	Health	and	Science	University

                                All	material	contained	in	this	FAQ	is	free	of	copyright	restrictions,	and	may	be	copied,	
                                reproduced,	or	duplicated	without	permission	of	the	Office	on	Women's	Health	in	the	
                                Department	of	Health	and	Human	Services.	Citation	of	the	source	is	appreciated.

                                Content	last	updated	April	9,	2009.

                                Screening	recommendation	updated	January	14,	2010.

                                     U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women’s Health

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