Thyroid Hormone Deficiency
Your pituitary gland makes a hormone called thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). This hormone tells your thyroid gland (a small gland in your neck) to make thyroid hormone. Thyroid hormone is important for:
- Your metabolism (body's energy system)
- Processing oxygen and fat in the body
- Maintaining your body temperature
- Heart, lung, blood, bone and muscle function
- Nervous system, digestive system and endocrine (hormone) system function
If your pituitary gland does not make enough TSH, your thyroid gland will not make enough thyroid hormone. This causes a condition called hypothyroidism (low thyroid). Hypothyroidism can cause symptoms such as:
- Constipation (trouble having a bowel movement)
- Feeling cold all the time
- Muscle weakness
- Memory loss
- Fatigue (being tired all the time)
- Dry skin
- Hair loss
- Brittle nails
- Bloating (retaining water)
If you don't get treatment, hypothyroidism can cause serious symptoms, coma and death.
The treatment for hypothyroidism is a pill you take by mouth, usually synthetic (man-made) thyroid hormone. Your doctor will do blood tests every few weeks to check your thyroid hormone levels.
To see a specialist at the OHSU Northwest Pituitary Center, obtain a referral from your primary care doctor and then contact us to make an appointment. If you, your doctor or health insurance company have questions, please call us at 503 494-4314, or toll-free at 888 222-6478 (OHSU).