OHSU

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).