Can Thyroid Dysfunction Cause A Double Chin?

Thyroid problems are considerably common, with a prevalence of around 18 cases per 1,000 people. As the thyroid is responsible for many processes in your body, it can have wide-ranging effects when it’s not working properly.¹

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What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a gland found in your neck. As an endocrine gland, it’s responsible for producing and releasing hormones into the blood. Thyroid hormones are mainly responsible for controlling your body’s metabolism, which turns food into energy. Your body uses this energy to keep your systems working effectively. 

What are the common thyroid issues?

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune condition in which your body’s immune system attacks its cells, targeting the thyroid. This leads to cell damage and death, causing your thyroid to produce insufficient hormones. It’s more common in women, and doctors usually diagnose it around 30–50 years old. 

Graves’ disease

Like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Graves’ disease is also an autoimmune condition. The body attacks the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor, resulting in excessive thyroid activity. Again, it’s more common in women, generally presenting around 20–50 years old.  

Thyroid nodules

Thyroid nodules are solid or fluid-filled lumps that form in your thyroid and are relatively common. They occur more in women, and around 90% of cases aren’t harmful and don’t require further treatment.²

What is thyroid goiter?

Enlargement of the thyroid is generally referred to as a goiter. It has different causes and outcomes, resulting in either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. An iodine deficiency is the most common cause. 

What are the main signs and symptoms of thyroid issues?

Symptoms of thyroid goiters

Since thyroid goiters can occur in hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, it’s possible to experience a wide range of symptoms. Some to look out for include: 

  • Choking

  • Coughing

  • Shortness of breath

Hypothyroidism symptoms:

  • Fatigue

  • Lethargy 

  • Cold intolerance

  • Weight gain

Hyperthyroidism symptoms: 

  • Weight loss

  • Tremors 

  • Anxiety

  • Fatigue

  • Heat intolerance

What are the potential causes of thyroid goiter?

Common causes of goiter include autoimmune disease, iodine deficiency, and various thyroid inflammatory disorders.

What are the possible causes of a double chin?

A double chin is relatively common, appearing as a layer of fat below the chin. It can affect men and women of all ages. Generally, it’s nothing to worry about; however, some people worry about how their double chin impacts their appearance. In this case, it may be helpful to identify what’s causing your double chin and if you can take any preventative measures. 

Weight gain

Generally, a double chin is a consequence of being overweight. A high-calorie diet may cause a double chin if you have gained weight. As your body distributes excess fat, some may accumulate around the face and chin. 


Age can be a contributing factor. Skin loses elasticity with age, and you produce less collagen, a protein that prevents your skin from sagging. This means you may appear to develop a double chin from skin gathering or losing its tightness. 

Face shape

Your face shape may also contribute to whether you develop a double chin. For example, if you have a recessive chin, it may seem like you have a double chin. Having a rounder face can also make you more prone to a double chin. 


Genetic factors may also play a role. While researchers haven’t found a specific gene that directly results in a double chin, some genes may influence your risk. For example, being genetically more prone to weight gain or having less elastic skin could increase your risk of a double chin. 


Poor posture can contribute to developing a double chin. Constantly slouching or looking down can weaken jaw muscles, resulting in the development of a double chin. 

Can a thyroid issue cause a double chin?

Hypothyroidism can play a role in double chin development. When you don’t have enough thyroid hormone, you can feel tired and gain weight because your body’s metabolism dramatically slows down.

Some of this weight gain collects around your chin. An underactive thyroid can also result in puffiness, swelling, and fluid retention.

Hyperthyroidism generally results in weight loss making it less likely to cause a double chin. However, hyperthyroidism can be associated with thyroid swelling (goiter), which could create the appearance of a double chin. 

How to get rid of a double chin

Some lifestyle changes can help you lose your double chin. Sticking to a healthy diet and regular exercise program can reduce your double chin by promoting fat loss. Over time, the excess fat gathered around your chin will reduce. 

Prioritizing your skincare routine to preserve the collagen and elastin in your face will keep your skin looking plump and tight, reducing the appearance of your double chin. 

Lipolysis is a cosmetic surgery option that removes fat deposits, essentially “melting away” your double chin with lasers.

Exercises that target a double chin

While exercising your whole body is more effective in promoting weight loss, some exercises can activate your chin and strengthen the muscles involved. Aim to repeat these exercises around ten times daily.

Straight jaw jut

Put your head up in the air, looking at the ceiling. Once in this position, stretch your lower jaw forward. Hold this position for around ten seconds, then relax. 

Whistle at the ceiling

Tilt your head back towards the ceiling. In this position, pucker your lips and hold this for around 20 seconds. 

Ball exercise

Place a ball under your chin, squeeze it tightly for a few seconds, and release it. This tones the muscles under your chin. 

Tongue stretch

Look straight ahead and stick your tongue out as far out as you can. Hold for around five seconds, then relax. 

Chewing gum

This exercise is self-explanatory: Find your favorite gum flavor and chew it after meals to work out your jaw muscles. 

Management and treatment of hypothyroidism

Treatment for hypothyroidism may vary depending on its severity. The main focus is hormone replacement and monitoring the response. Doctors administer hormone replacement to return the basal metabolic rate to normal. 

Levothyroxine therapy is the standard of care for treating hypothyroidism. Levothyroxine is a synthetic form of thyroxine, the body’s natural hormone secreted from the thyroid gland. In older patients, the doctor will start with a low dose and gradually increase it. Generally, treatment is a daily dose of around 1.7 µg per kg.³

Monitoring over time is essential to assess the efficacy of thyroid hormone replacement treatments. Your doctor will regularly check your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4) levels. TSH monitoring should commence at around eight weeks after levothyroxine therapy starts. Follow-ups should be every four months, gradually extending to eight months, then once a year. 

You may experience hyperthyroidism symptoms when you’re receiving medication for hypothyroidism. If you notice any symptoms, notify your doctor. They may advise you to decrease the levothyroxine dose. Your healthcare professional should use a thyroid-related quality-of-life or other questionnaires to help you understand the effects of treatment. 

Diagnosis and tests of hypothyroidism

Occasionally, hypothyroidism diagnosis can be challenging given the lack of specificity of some symptoms, such as fatigue. While verifying these clinical symptoms can be helpful, the only way to diagnose hypothyroidism is with a blood test that records your TSH and free thyroxine (FT4) levels.  


In subclinical hypothyroidism, the prognosis is quite good and doesn’t tend to impact your overall quality of life. Many cases resolve on their own or remain unchanged.

More severe cases of hypothyroidism require lifelong treatment with hormone replacement therapy. However, so long as you adhere to the treatment, you can live a healthy life. 

The treatment aim is to return your TSH levels to a normal range and alleviate mental and physical symptoms. Without treatment, significant health complications can occur. 

The lowdown

A double chin is common and can be caused by changes in your thyroid or other factors. It’s generally nothing to be worried about. 

If you’re experiencing other symptoms that could indicate problems with your thyroid, talk to your doctor to see if you need further assessment and treatment. Otherwise, it’s always good to adopt healthy habits to stay fit and well. 

People also ask:

Why have I suddenly developed a double chin?

Sudden weight gain or looser skin from aging may be causing your double chin. Other causes might mean a different health issue, such as having an underactive thyroid. If you’re concerned about your sudden change in physical appearance, talk to your doctor to determine the cause. 

Do swollen glands cause a double chin?

Your lymph glands can become swollen during viral infections. This can result in the appearance of a double chin that should go away once your symptoms ease.

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