Myxedema: Symptoms and Treatment

Myxedema is the most severe form of hypothyroidism, for which the development of edema of the skin and subcutaneous tissue is characteristic. Pathology begins to progress in the human body as a result of insufficient secretion of thyroid hormones. Most often, women are affected by this disease during the period of hormonal changes, that is, during menopause.


The main reason for the occurrence of myxedema is a decrease in the secretion of thyroxin, as well as triiodothyronine in the thyroid gland. Clinicians also classify all causes of pathology as primary and secondary.

Primary causes of the progression of myxedema:

  • decrease in the volume of functioning thyroid tissue
  • autoimmune thyroiditis
  • exposure to ionizing radiation
  • postoperative complications
  • infiltrative thyroid disease;
  • iodine deficiency in the body
  • increased iodine content

Secondary causes of myxedema are associated with the progression of hypothalamic-pituitary pathologies, such as:

  1. Pituitary hypothyroidism
  2. hypothalamic hypothyroidism


Myxedema is characterized by a prolonged course. The following symptoms are observed in patients: the face becomes puffy, masky with a pale or yellow hue of the skin, mimicry is completely absent.

Symptoms of myxedema begin to appear more intensively as the disease progresses. Symptoms may differ slightly depending on which organ or system was affected. As a rule, the following conditions or ailments develop:

  • constipation with chronic course
  • cholelithiasis
  • chronic hepatitis
  • polyarthritis
  • polysynovitis
  • progressive osteoarthritis;
  • Alopecia
  • hyperkeratosis
  • onycholysis
  • Depressed state
  • increased fatigue;
  • dementia;
  • dry skin;
  • puffiness of the tongue
  • dysfunctional uterine bleeding;
  • infertility;
  • hypertension;
  • dyslipidemia
  • Hydropericardium

If the myxedema does not begin to be treated on time, it can lead to severe consequences, the most dangerous of which is myxedemaic coma. Often, the disease affects the elderly. It can begin to progress due to infectious diseases, trauma or hypothermia.

With myxedematous coma, there is a sharp decrease in body temperature, pulse, as well as a decrease in blood pressure, respiratory rate. Develops intestinal obstruction, urinary retention, CNS disorders and heart failure. Unfortunately, myxedematous coma in 80% of clinical cases leads to a lethal outcome. Therefore, it is very important to contact a qualified specialist (endocrinologist) in time to diagnose and treat myxedema.


Diagnosis of myxedema should be carried out very carefully, taking into account the history of the patient’s life, as well as anamnesis of the disease. The examination is carried out by an endocrinologist.

Methods of diagnosis:

  1. blood test
  2. Thyroid ultrasound (examination of the size of the gland and nodal formations)
  3. examining the patient;
  4. puncture biopsy (cytological examination of the thyroid gland)
  5. Thyroid MRI.


The main and effective method of treating the disease is drug therapy:

  • hormone therapy (L-T4)
  • glucocorticoid
  • correction of hemodynamic disorders
  • treatment of complications.

Treatment of myxedema by folk methods

  1. honey, walnuts (chopped), garlic (peeled and baked), dill seeds. From these ingredients, a decoction is prepared and taken several times a day;
  2. decoction of herbs (chamomile, pine buds, bilberry leaves, lichen Irish, ambergrass, cedarwood, walnut leaves, as well as lentils). All this will need to be boiled in a water bath, filtered through a bandage, cooled and taken;
  3. Take lemon peel, linseed seeds, honey — add water. After cooking on the fire for a few minutes, strain and take;
  4. The tincture of ginseng acts beneficially on the thyroid gland. Therefore, doctors recommend that it be used to treat this ailment
  5. feijoa, wiping with sugar, is very useful with myxedem
  6. In dry sea kale add water boiled, insist, drain. Add the mixture of cottage cheese, walnuts (powdered), garlic, vegetable oil. The finished product should be taken with food;
  7. take herb spores, mint leaves, herb veronica. All pour boiled water, insist, strain and take during the day.

It is not recommended to engage in self-medication with myxedema. The use of folk remedies should be combined with medical therapy. Only in this case the maximum therapeutic effect will be achieved. Any medications to treat myxedema should be taken only after they are written by the doctor himself. Self-treatment is unacceptable!


Preventative methods are primarily:

  • timely treatment of the thyroid gland
  • iodine control in the body
  • annual passage of thyroid ultrasound;

  • examination and consultation of the endocrinologist.