Hypothyroidism | Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism in children?

The symptoms of hypothyroidism in children are different than in adults. Each child may experience symptoms differently, and often the symptoms are not seen at all. This is why all infants should be screened for low thyroid.

Symptoms in newborns (neonatal hypothyroidism) may include:

  • jaundice (yellowing of the skin, eyes, and mucous membranes)
  • hoarse cry
  • poor appetite
  • umbilical hernia (navel protrudes out)
  • constipation
  • slow bone growth

Childhood (juvenile hypothyroidism):

  • slow growth, sometimes resulting in abnormally short limbs
  • delayed tooth development

Adolescents (adolescent hypothyroidism):

  • slow growth
  • delayed puberty
  • hoarse voice
  • slow speech
  • droopy eyelids
  • puffy and swollen face
  • hair loss
  • dry skin
  • slow pulse
  • weight gain

What causes hypothyroidism in children?

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is the body's autoimmune reaction producing antibodies against the thyroid gland. A mother's thyroid disorder treatment (such as iodine) or maternal antithyroid antibodies can affect her unborn child's thyroid function.