There are several different causes of hypothyroidism:
An inflammation of the thyroid gland called thyroiditis can lower the amount of hormones produced. The number one cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, a painless disease of the immune system that runs in families. Another form of thyroiditis, postpartum thyroiditis, occurs in 5%-9% of women soon after giving birth and is usually a temporary condition.
One out of every 4,000 infants is born without a working thyroid gland. If the problem is not corrected, the child will become mentally and physically retarded.
About 100 million people around the world don’t get enough iodine in their diets. Iodine is a chemical which the thyroid uses to produce its hormones. The problem has been solved in the United States and most developed countries by adding iodine to salt.
Some other possible causes of hypothyroidism are radiation therapy to the head and neck, birth defects, certain drugs, problems with the pituitary gland, and a gradual wearing out of the thyroid gland.