Symptoms of an Underactive Thyroid



An underactive thyroid is when the thyroid gland in your neck stops producing enough of the hormone thyroxine. This stops your body’s ability to efficiently metabolise – the process of converting food to energy. Difficulty in metabolising will cause body functions to slow and affect your quality of life. Spotting the symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland can be difficult so here we have a comprehensive list of symptoms so that you can spot if you are suffering from an underactive thyroid gland.

The difficulty when dealing with the symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland is that many of the symptoms are the same as a multitude of other diseases and conditions. These symptoms also tend to develop very slowly, making it hard for the patient to realise they even are showing a certain symptom. It can often take many years before a patient realises they may be showing symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland. If you think you may be showing signs of an underactive thyroid gland, seek out a medical professional who will perform a thyroid function test that will show whether you have lower levels of thyroxine in your blood than normal.

Common Symptoms

  • Weight gain
  • Constipation
  • Muscle cramps and ache
  • Tingling sensation in the hand and fingers
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Tiredness and lethargy
  • Scaly, dry skin
  • Slower than normal thoughts and movements
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Heavy or irregular periods
  • Brittle nails and/or hair

An underactive thyroid can also cause some age-specific symptoms. Elderly people suffering from an underactive thyroid may find themselves with memory problems. Teenagers may experience puberty before their peers. Children can have slower development and growth due to an undiagnosed underactive thyroid gland.

Later Stage Symptoms

  • Hearing loss
  • Anaemia
  • Puffy face
  • Slower heart rate
  • Hoarse, low-pitched voice
  • Thinned eyebrows

These symptoms are associated with many years of living with an undiagnosed underactive thyroid. They are unlikely to occur as most cases are spotted before these symptoms show.


Treatment for an underactive thyroid gland is relatively straightforward with the clear majority of people responding well to daily hormone tablets (levothyroxine) that contain the missing hormone thyroxine that the thyroid gland should be producing. However, as the tablets do not cure the condition, the patient will have to take the tablets for the rest of their life. Typically, the drug does not have any side effects; most unpleasant side effects that are seen from taking levothyroxine are due to taking too much. When you first start taking the tablets the doctor may require you to visit them frequently to fine tune the dosage to your needs. If you require hormone tablets from the U.S but live overseas, consider using

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