It was once believed that skin reactions related to thyroid function were not common, but links have recently been made between disease of the thyroid and hives. Hives is a condition which causes large welts and irritation and it is commonly found in autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Those with chronic hives should be tested for thyroid antibodies.
Underactive thyroid and hives often occur together, although skin irritation is one of the less common symptoms. Other symptoms can include an intolerance to cold, weight gain, fatigue, appetite changes, and changes in menstruation. A goiter, or swollen area on the neck, is also a possible sign of hypothyroidism. The type of underactive thyroid which causes hives is generally of the autoimmune variety. This means the body begins attacking the thyroid gland.
There are treatments available for underactive thyroid and hives. Hypothyroidism is generally treated with a medication used to replace the hormones normally manufactured by the thyroid. Hives will generally subside once hormone levels are back to normal, but medications can often be used to treat them to alleviate discomfort in the meantime.
Hives are not always caused by a thyroid disorder. They are most commonly associated with an allergic reaction to something which comes in contact with the skin. Sometimes food allergies can also cause hives. If there are no symptoms of underactive thyroid, and hives have become a problem, patients should investigate their environment to determine if allergens are to blame. Common causes for allergies are scented soaps, laundry detergents, shampoo, lotions, foods, and medications.
When left untreated, hypothyroidism can be a serious health problem. Eventually menstruation can stop altogether and infertility may result. The metabolism also slows, leading to weight gain and sometimes obesity. The thyroid gland secretes hormones which help regulate nearly every system in the body. When these hormones are thrown off balance, it can slow down and damage various parts of the body.
Thyroid disorders are more common in women than in men, although both sexes can be affected. Those who notice recurrent hives which do not appear to be due to an allergic reaction should have their thyroid levels tested. Although tests can be beneficial, it is common for those who have a thyroid disorder to test negative for problems until hormonal imbalances become more pronounced.