Hashimoto's: what happens when the thyroid fails completely?

Bit of a stupid question, possibly, but one I've always wondered about. With autoimmune thyroid conditions, such as Hashimoto's, what happens to the gland when it fails completely? Does it just sit in the neck as a redundant piece of tissue, or is it destroyed to the extent that it's physically not there any longer? Probably the former, but I just wondered whether anybody knew.

3 Replies

  • Hose, it atrophies (shrinks) until it can't produce thyroid hormone and you are totally reliant on thyroid hormone replacement.

  • The body will remove it completely after it has become redundant, otherwise there would be a risk of infection.

  • The gland shrinks to a little solidish "nut" composed mainly of inactive fibrous tissue - no active hormone production at al because the relevant cells have been destroyed.

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