Thyroid Diseases

Thyroid Diseases

What is the thyroid gland?

The thyroid gland is located in the throat and is responsible for producing thyroid hormones. These hormones act on cells throughout the body to help control metabolism and ensure all the body systems are functioning properly.

Sometimes, the normal functioning of the thyroid gland can become disrupted, resulting in an over- or under-production of thyroid hormone, which can have widespread consequences throughout the body.

What is overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)?

An overactive thyroid (also called hyperthyroidism or thyrotoxicosis) is when the thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones than normal. The thyroid gland may become enlarged, or contain nodules (lumps) of overactive tissue.

This excess thyroid has the effect of speeding up metabolism throughout the body. Symptoms may include:

  • Person is jumpy and agitated
  • Pulse is fast and irregular
  • Weight loss – despite normal food intake
  • Excessive sweating and warm, clammy hands
  • Intolerance to heat
  • Tremors/shaking
  • Vomiting and diarrhoea.

Overactive thyroid occurs in women more often than men.

What causes overactive thyroid?

The most common cause of overactive thyroid is a condition called Grave’s disease. This is thought to be an autoimmune disease (meaning that the person’s immune system starts to attack their own body tissues) in which the thyroid gland loses its ability to respond to normal control, resulting in a general overactivity of the thyroid gland. Graves’ disease is genetic and tends to run in families – however, stress, smoking, and certain medications and viruses may set it off.

Other causes of overactive thyroid include the development of thyroid nodules, inflammation of the thyroid following a virus or during pregnancy, and excessive iodine intake. Key sources of iodine in the diet are seafood, milk, bread and salt.

How is overactive thyroid treated?

Your doctor will diagnose overactive thyroid by asking you about your symptoms and conducting a blood test to look at levels of thyroid hormones in your blood.

There are a number of treatment options for overactive thyroid. If your hyperthyroidism is mild and you are young, you may be given antithyroid medications, which act to reduce production of thyroid hormones. Your doctor may also give you other drugs, called beta-blockers, to control your symptoms until your thyroid levels are under control. Another treatment option is radioactive iodine – this is a liquid that is swallowed and taken up by the thyroid gland, destroying most or all of the thyroid tissue. This treatment is generally only used in older patients.

If your thyroid gland has become significantly enlarged, your doctor may also recommend surgery to remove all or part of the thyroid gland, in order to permanently cure the hyperthyroidism. However, there is a risk when taking radioactive iodine or undergoing surgery that the amount of thyroid production can be reduced too much – i.e., leading to under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism).

What is under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism)?

An under-active thyroid (also called hypothyroidism or, when it develops in adults, myxoedema), is when the thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones to keep the body functioning efficiently.

Under-active thyroid is more common in women than men, and its incidence increases with age. However, it can also be present from birth or develop during childhood. Symptoms are often quite subtle and may only become more obvious as the condition progresses. They may include:

  • Person may feel lethargic and easily fatigued (tired out)
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Intolerance to cold
  • Dry, flaky skin
  • Coarse, brittle hair and thinned eyebrows
  • Hoarse voice
  • Weight gain
  • Slow heart rate
  • Constipation.

What causes under-active thyroid?

The most common cause of hypothyroidism is a condition called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis – an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system starts to attack the thyroid tissue, causing inflammation and severe damage to the thyroid gland. This condition is partly hereditary.

Another common cause of under-active thyroid disease is over-treatment for hyperthyroidism, through medication, radioactive iodine or surgery (with medication, it is reversible). Severe lack of iodine in the diet can also cause hypothyroidism – although this is a rare cause in this country, due to addition of iodine in salt.

How is under-active thyroid treated?

Your doctor will diagnose under-active thyroid by asking you about your symptoms and conducting a blood test to look at your levels of thyroid hormones.

Under-active thyroid can be treated with the hormone, thyroxine.

Reviewed: November 9, 2006


Anonymous - 15/10/2007 08:47

My daughter has got Graves disease and has to have surgery. How long will it take to recover?

loulou8506 - 15/04/2008 16:51

What is creaves diease i have an under active thyroid and any advice on what herbals i can take !!

Mary Kate(MaryKate) - 22/04/2008 05:49

I have been diagnosed with underactive thyroid but I am told i can correct it through diet, by increasing iodine in the diet, through eating more seafood and seaweed (NOT iodine tablets) and seeds, of alll kinds but especially sesame seeds. Anybody else know about this? Is the only answer in Western medicine to take the drugs?

Trish - 19/05/2008 12:04

I have had it confirmed by my endocrinologist and two consultants on his team that there is no supplement or food that can correct or cure hashimotos hypothroidism - it is caused my an autoimmune problem and any attempt to treat it using iodone can aggrivate the condition and may inflame the gland, in addition to the condition worsening thru lack of adequate treatment. Consequently I would be extremely wary of any qualified competent medical professional advising otherwise. On a positive note, I am on 500mg of thyroxine daily and am like a new woman-i'm more like the old me before thyroid failure. The 'drugs' are simply synthetic thyroid' to replace what my body no longer makes. Rather like a diabetic takin insulin or a menopausal woman taking HRT.

Halo Dublin - 23/05/2008 00:03

I have been diagnosed with underactive thyroid about 10 years ago and on medication, my only problem is how do I lose weight when I dont eat very much?

Trish - 23/05/2008 09:16

Hello Halo, I'm diagnosed about 8 years now - altho I may well have had it for years before that. It's a very slow process and it's only in the last 2 years I have stArted to lose the weight that the condition caused. But the positive thing was that as the tiredness, brain fog went and low moods went (along with the dry skin & hair, hoarseness and swelling), I had more energy and could start to exercise. I'm at the gym four mornings a week and find it's absolutely vital for weight loss as it's the best way to boost my metabolism. And of course it's a snowball effect. The more you lose the easier it is. Of great importance too is making sure you're not undermedicated - that you're on the right dose AND keep well hydrated. I need to remind myself that that means water - not coffee or apple juice! Also, if you're female and the hypothyroidism resulted in heavy periods, consider too whether or not you might be aneamic, this could also affect your energy levels.

kate333 - 07/07/2008 12:40

My doctor and i were convinced i had hypo-thyroidism, but my blood test just came back as normal. I'cve put on 40lbs and have muscle cramps etc over 14 symptoms. What else can it be? My doctor has mis-diagnosed me 3 times before...

Trish - 07/07/2008 16:25

Kate, you say your blood test came back as normal but what was tested. The TSh WILL NOT ALWAYS DIAGNOSE HYPOTHYROIUSISM ON ITS OWN. tSH, t4 AND FREE T3 - i.e. the amount of t3 AVAIALBE IN THE BLOOD ARE ALL NEEDED. Also did he tell you exactly what your lab numbers are? if my doctors had misdiagnosed me like that he would no longer be my doctor but before it even got to that I would not take him on trust that it was normal withoiut knowing my readign and gettign a second opinion. If all your symptoms match all the hypo symtoms I would trust to that sooner than a doctor with a track record like that.

Anonymous - 22/08/2008 11:12

Hi, I hope that this might help some people who have contributed to the forum. I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid over five years ago. I took eltroxin and found that while it did allay the symptoms (tiredness especially) I was not happy with the possible side effects. So I gave it up - I did it over a period of months i.e. I cut down on my medication little by little all the while eating a really good diet rich in vegetables, fruit, sprouted grains and seeds and sea vegetables or sea weed as it is more commonly known. Sea weed is rich in iodine which is necessary for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland. I cut down on dairy products also as I have read so much research about hormones in milk and how that can affect our own delicate hormonal system. I swear I never ate as well or as much in such a long time (I was always trying to limit my food intake because of weight gain and slow metabolism due to thyroid). Not only did I lose weight but I also felt so much better - more energetic, hair lustrous and thick, metabolism restored to normal. Eating well requires preparation and time but it is worth it. The benefits are far reaching - your quality of life improves and thereby your relationships, confidence and sense of achievement.

Trish - 25/08/2008 09:05

Side effects Anonymous? There are no side effects to thyroxine - it simply replaces the vital hormone that your body no longer produces. Certainly if you overdose on it, it can cause problems but the same is true for every medicine and food in existence. While a good diet is very important and essential for everyone, it is potentially misleading to imply that it can treat auto-iummune or hashimotos hypothyroidism - this is an autoimmune condition whereby the persons auto-immune system attacks the thyroid gland. Iodine is important for thyroid function - where he thyroid is effectively under-nourished by lack of iodine but in cases of auto-immune hypothyroidism (which is the most common) is can actually inflame the gland and contribute to thyroid storm - this is somethign to be aware of. Be very careful about cutting down on dairy, it is the most easily available and very assimilable source of calcium - and this is absolutely vital for healthy bones - particularly in women.

Billybob - 25/08/2008 13:22

Went for blood tests a few years ago and was diagnosed as having an overactive thyroid gland. Doc didn't prescribe anything for me. Had a bit of an episode in the last few weeks, ie very anxious, shaking, sweating, panic attacks, not wanting to talk to friends or family and basically "going into myself" if that makes sense. Went back to dr and he reckons it's the thyroid again and have to go for more bloods. He even lectured me on not doing anything about (when it was actually him who didn't prescribe or advise what I should do). I've also put on an awful lot of weight in recent months.

Trish - 25/08/2008 15:23

Billybob I almost envy you - being underactive myself. That the Doc didn't prescribe anything is concerning to say the least - would seek a second opinion. anxious, shaking, sweating, panic attacks - all sounds like hyperthyriodism to me, Sounds like your Dr. needs a serious memory check tho'. The weight gain is odd in that that is usually a primary symptom of underactive thyroid. It could be that your thyroid could be in the last stages of failure and flares up every so often with symptoms of overactive (as it goes into a spurt) and then reverts to underactive - hence the weight gain. Make sure you get your T3 checked as well as T4 and TsH and if you are heading towards underactive make sure they check for TPA - thyroid antibodies - to determine whether it is likely to be autoimmune hypothyroidism.

Billybob - 25/08/2008 16:39

Thanks for the comments Trish will be sure to check out all that you have suggested. RE the weight gain, my eating habits haven't changed. Just turned 30 I'm told that a mans metabolism slows down at that age so perhaps it's just nature LOL. I'm also told that thyroid problems are unusual in a man and that it's usually women who suffer from it. Not sure how true that is. I'm actually hoping for a positive diagnosis as it would at least be a rational explanation for recent incidences of erratic behaviour. Thanks again.

Trish - 26/08/2008 10:03

You're welcome BillyBob. Oh yes, I was given that line too - thyroid problems are very unusual in young women - I was diagnosed at 27! My eating habits hadn't changed but I put on over three stone in six months! Yet women who have hypothyroidism in their 50's are told the same thing about their metabolsim slowing down - until they are diagnosed and given the right medication which makes the world of difference and women my age are often told they they're anemmic, stressed (show me someone who isn't) depresssed (depression is one of the symtoms of thyroid failure) or have PMS - which I have never had in my life as it happens, altho thyroid failure can cause fertility problems in women. Yes, it is more common in women - particularly women in their late 50's and early 60's but that doesn't mean it doesn't happen to younger women or men. Funny enough I was pleased when I was diagnosed as hypothyroid because it meant that a) I now knew what was wrong instead of speculating and feeling more like 87 than 27 and b) there was a treatment protocol which would work. Let us know how you get on.

mcduff - 07/09/2008 03:20

Hi all,have had similar symptoms as BillyBob,sweating,panic attacks,etc. My doctor says I have clinical depression and has put me on medication for same. How do I ask her to check for thyroid problems? Do not feel depressed but have some symptoms. Have lost the outer part of my eyebrows over the past year. Many thanks Mcduff

Trish - 16/09/2008 14:55

Sweating and panic attacks are not typical symptoms of an underactive gland but losing the outer third of the eyebrows is a classic one. You culd be in the last stages of thyroid fluctuation. as for your GP - go back and ask for a full thyroid panel to be done. If she refuses, state that you need written explanation as to why or a referal to a GP who will test.

brother bear - 16/09/2008 16:19

After i had my baby in 2003. i went to see my gp and said something was wrong with me . It took her nearly 2 years to diagnose that i had an under active thyroid gland. I gained almost s stone in weight i still don't have my period. I tried everything to lose the weight i gained but i cant . I really hate having an under-active thyroid gland.

Trish - 16/09/2008 18:27

Yep, unfortunately pregnacy is a prime trigger for hypothyroidism. 2 years to diagnose sounds like pure incompetence but I know its not unusual. I gained almost an inordinate amount of weight too but it never affected my period thankfully - tho of course it can take months to return after birth - but not 5 years! With regard to weight loss - the FIRST and ABSOLUTELY VITAL - and I cannot stress this enough, is to make sure you are properly medicated - not just enough to get you in the right range of thyroid levels but so that you feel rightr for you and likje your old self - the real you as it were. The difference this made to my weight loss was ENORMOUS and my energy levels soared back to what they had been. I really hate having an under-active thyroid gland but I know that without the right dosage, I would never ever have lost the weight no matter what I tried..

Jenny - 23/10/2008 16:09

I was diagnosed with underactive thyroid 4 months ago and have gone from 25mg to 100mg dose per day. Before diagnosis my weight crept up to 14stone and I am still at this weight. Even though I find I have improved so much with my mood swings and my energy level is much better but I am still waiting to loose the weight and improve on hair and skin problems. Is there a special diet for underactive thyroid? Should I be doing anything else different to improve my weight (apart from the obvious exercise which I am doing)?? Any advice would be very much appreciated as I suppose I was expecting miracles.

Trish - 24/10/2008 10:13

Hi Jenny, good to hear you're getting on the right dose. In my case 25mg would have made zero difference to my health but I know that ladies of 60+ do ok on it, partiucularly if their hypo is caught early. I was diagnosed over 8 years ago and like you before diagnosis my weight crept up considerably ;however it is only oin the last 2 or so years that I've stated to loose the weight. It as the last symptom to go so it is a slow slow slow process. An improvement in mood swings and energy levels great. Use the extra energy to be more active it all helps. There are diets out there - I'm probably not permitted to mention specific authors on here tho and I've heard the G.I diet help hypo patients. What helped with me was exercise - I use the gym 4 por 5 mornings a week for 50 minutes each time becuase I enjoy it but any exercise you enjoy will have the same function. Consistency is key. A vital aspect for me, in addition to being correctly medicated was to keep well hydratred - with WATER, not cups of coffee or juices, tho I do drink those as well, I drink a minimum of 2 litr es of water a day. Another key for me - and this may not suit eveyone and of course you should discuss it with your doctor, was to split my thyroid dosage and taKe half in the morning and half at night. my METABOLISM BEING SLOWER, IT IS ABSORBED MORE SLOWLY SO THIS MADE SENSE FOR ME. Miracles alas do not happen, it as a very slow process for me. There are diet drugs but I have found these only help to kick start weight loss or when you're at a plateau. Best of luck.

dancing queen - 06/11/2008 10:07

Sitting here in tears. was diagnosed with underactive thyroid 9 years ago and prescribed 50mg of eltroxin-this did improve things for quite some time although my energy never was as good as previously. The last 2 years have been awful. I have many of the symptoms, the worst is the tiredness and pains and depression. Have had many blood tests over the last 6 months and an increase to 100mg of eltroxin. Am told my levels are normal (whatever that is). Then why do IO feel so bad? Have given up dancing because I get so tired. My weight has increased over the last year as well. Will I ever feel normal again. Should I see an endocrinologist, or is that a waste of time?

Trish - 06/11/2008 14:08

Hey Dancing Queen, sorry to hear you feel so bad. I find the site for thyroid a great source of information but it sounds to me as tho you are actually undermedicated. 100mg is not that high compared to what I am on and to be told that your levels are "NORMAL" is simply not good enough I think. if it wre me I would fiund out exactly What my levels were. Bear in mind that some people feel fine when their TSH is normal at 2.5 (above 3.0 signifies hypothyroidism) but others don't feel anything like normal unless their TSH is between 1 and 2. I am one such and additional I have a problem with conversion. I need to be on a very high dosage in order for the correct amount to be assimilated and converted in the periphery by my body. In other words not all of my dosage would be bioavailable. Certain things can affect this also, like switching to a high fibre diet, taking certain mineral supplements at the same time as your meds or even going on the pill my warrant a higher dosage. In winter my dose needs to be adjusted as well. Also hypothyroidism may be worsened by adrenal problem so this may warrant checking too. Ensue also that your Doc is not just taking TSH levels as they do not ell the whole story, You should be having be having test for T4 and T3 in your system as well. I think these should be done (and you can ask for you levels as regard this too) before your referral to an endocrinologist as without them s/he won't have the full picture. There are a small amount of people who do well by adding T3 to their medication regimen - but not all doctors seem to be in favour or providing this because they do not seem to regard it as "mainstream". All in all tho' your levels may read as "normal" but the doctor is not a lab chemist and is not treating your levels - s/he is treating you (or should be ) as a person and you are clearly not normal. And I mean you no insult by this but you do not feel normal.

Anonymous - 11/11/2008 20:37

I have been on meds for Grave's disease for the last 6 months but every month my blood tests come back different. They are either too high or too low. The meds keep getting adjusted and so too my wardrobe has to be adjusted as my weight is all over the place. Will this settle down? Any sufferers of Grave's - Please comment

Jamie - 19/11/2008 15:49

Trish thank you for the info, much appreciated.  Can you recomend a good book all about under active thyroid?? Something which might include diet and 'other tips' etc., i tried Easons but they had nothing. Also does taking tranquillisers affect the Eltroxin??

Anonymous - 19/11/2008 16:49

You're most welcome. I'm afriad I an't recommedna book myself but i know that mary Shoman has wrtten a thyroiud diet guide which I have heard that other found very good. You coudl google that.

Your pharmacist will tell you for definite but no I wouldn't think that tranquilisers woudl affect eltroxin.

canadian girl - 28/01/2009 22:05

I know this is not exactly what you're used to seeing, but I was born without a functioning thyroid and am having trouble finding people in my situation.  I am 19 year old female and fit, and I participate in inter-University sports which seems to be my most recent problem.  The training is really intense, so at the beginning of september 2008 i ended up gaining 15-20 lbs in muscle.  Because I am miles away from home, I have not had my synthyroid dosage changed.  Currently I am on 150mg of synthyroid, but am experiencing all of the classic symptoms of being undermedicated.  I understand I have to have a blood test done, but I won't have a chance to return home for another month.  The other issue is that this regularily happens- for a month preparing for a tournament I will work out a ton, gain 5-10 lbs in muscle, and then there will be 3-4 weeks of lessened activity.  This has my weight fluctuating 10-15 lbs on a regular basis (apparently I gain muscle easily).  In addition, my family has a long history of heart disease (most family members have had heart attacks/failure before age 50).  I eat healthy, exercise often, don't smoke, but am worried that never actually have my thyroid levels at a healthy level is going to put me at risk for some serious health problems.  Can anyone help?

Anonymous - 29/01/2009 12:07

Hi Canadian girl, to be born without a functioning thyroid puts you in much the same situation as those who's thyroid has ceased to function for whatever reason. Any gain in weight will result in the need for an increase in thyroxine - becuase in our case the body doesn't automatically compensate by producing more. Siumilarly in my case, when I finally got the dosage right and started to lose weight, my normal prscription was over medicating me and I needed to have it reduced.  don't know much about the meidcal sysem in Canada but I don't see  any reason why your university doc couldn't contact your GP at home and then perscribe for you - or take the blood test id she deems it neccessary but on sheer numbers, if you weigh, say 150lbs and gain 15lbs on that, then your dosage would need to be 10% higher to compensate for that. If your family have a history of heart diseae, that makes it even more important tht you are adequately medicated. It maybe that you just need to learn hpow to tune it up and down depending on your muscleweight fluctuations. 

giller - 19/05/2009 14:31

Hi All,

My son has an underactive thyroid - anyone else with children with this? Would love to swap stories. He's being seen by endo team in Tallaght but right now his behaviour is very bad - wondering is there a connection. He's the most placid boy most of the time but occassionally - meltdown....need to find out is it just bad behaviour in which case continue what I'm doing, or is there another reason.



Anonymous - 19/05/2009 15:46

Hi Giller, it is unusual in children, especially boys. I can''t offer any insights I'm afraid but I wanted to let you know that I to am underactive (tho' no longer a child). I would say compare the list of symptoms with your sons behaviour. If they differ radically then something else could be at play,. If he is 11/12 and approaching puberty this will be a big facor in behaviours. When you say meltdown, do you mean he is expressing extreme frustration, angry, crying etc? Have you considered thyat there may be other condiitons at play influencing this, such as an allergy or sensitivity, emotional upset or trauma, other endo conditions such as adrenal imbalance, blood sugar, pituitary?

Jamie - 02/06/2009 11:02

I've read that Soya products should not be taken by underactive thyroid sufferers. As I'm hitting menopause at the same time is it ok to take 'Phyto Soya' herb tablets as I am having awful 'hot flushes' and these herbs are said to be good at stopping them? Or if you cant take them does anyone have any suggestions of other supplements you can take??

Anonymous - 04/06/2009 09:59

Hi Jamie, no soya is contraindicated as I understand so the soya tablets would fall under this category. Aas regards menopuasal symptoms - have you seen your GP or womens health clinic? They may have suggestions for excellent proven remedies.

mookie - 29/06/2009 18:06

Giller, I got sick with the thyroid at very young age as well, It was when I was around 13 years old. It was terrible at the start no one knew whats happenning to me. parent thought that maybe I'm taking drugs. remember crying to my sister that I feel like I'm stupid cause I cant study, cant concentrate. My thyroid was overactive and your sons is under as you says, but what is really importent at this age you dont realy know your self and your body. so is really hard to react. Remember even that many times when over years latter when I was about 15-16 manytimes I didnt want to live and I got Depression. One thing I know for sure. whidout my parents help and great love I wouldnt be who I m now. Remember You are his Mom and he needs you, even when he is getting super moody!!!!!

cyning - 20/10/2009 23:12


I am really desperate to see if there is ANYONE with any ideas or who's been through this:

I was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid at 16 and had radioactive iodine at 19. My T4s and TSH were stable for aprox two and a half years but now I am seriously underactice for aprox year and a half: my tsh is all over the place and T4's are 5/6 on 300 miligrams of eltroxin per day. I am cold all the time, I am exhausted and have no quality of life with it. I have EVERY symptom going from weight gain (over 2stone) dry skin, losing my hair (at 23) exhaustion just anything you could imagine. I have in the last year seen an endocrinologist (who's bright idea was I'm not taking my tablets) a neurologist and my own GP and a colleague of his: noone can come up with anything except increase my eltroxin. I'm at the end of my tether I just would really apreciate if ANYONE could give me some pointers. Thanks  

Anonymous - 21/10/2009 13:59

cyning! With the exception of having the radioactive iodine - I could have written your post! Been there and it doies take an endo who KNOWS about thyroid diseae - rahter than thinking you;re forgettign to take youtr tablets. Given when life is like without them i know I'd probably be more likley to forget to put on my clothes. You don't mention what your levels are - both TSH and Free T4 and T3 so it's hard to know if your case is like mine but it could be that either you are undermedicated (medication dosaggfe depends on weight and if this co ndition means you gained a lot of weight than can affect it). Aanother thing that has a terribly detrimental effect on hypothryroidism is gthe co sumption of soya - The is big red flag and interferes with your medication absorption. Or, like me, you could be one of those rare people :-) who is a poor converter, your body does not convert T4 into T3 as efficiently as other people.

cyning - 22/10/2009 21:04

You know it is just incredibly frustrating: and from reading postings all over the net it would seem that some people are like this.

When my levels were stable it was so great: I was normal had oodles of energy. Now I have no quality of life (I eat sleep and work!) don't have energy to go out anymore.

When I was overactive I also put on weight (over 3 stone in 8 months)so maybe I am just a weird case

handy - 09/08/2010 00:17


Anonymous - 09/08/2010 09:39

Handy, when yoiu say it has settled back to normal, were you on perscribd medication and if so are you still taking the medication?

handy - 09/08/2010 16:39

when my thyroid was underactive the Dr. would not put me on anything as my anibodies were fine so he said. I feel good now but i have days when I feel

really tired or is this to do with my age 58.  I exercise everyday and keep active.

Do i always need to keep checking the thyroid.

Anonymous - 10/08/2010 11:39

Hi handy, thyroid failue or low thyroid functon can occur for other reasons than having tested positive for thyroid antibodies (I am presuming your tested negative?) , particularly aroud  the age of menopause, which would be likely the case with yourself, so I am extremely surprised indeed that the Dr. would not consider a trial of throid medication based on your T4 and T3 readings being low. (I am presuming he tested both rahte rthen just T4).  I would say, yes, thyroid function (T4 and T3) need to be monitored as well as Thyroid antibodies and if it were me I would consider gettign a secind opinion - especially in view of the frequent tiredness. Drs can be very quick to dismiss a lot of things "your age", stress or PMS, which doesn't help.

Oats - 24/09/2010 22:23

I was diagnosed with Grave's disease 2 1/2 yrs ago and for the last 6 months my levels have been normal.  So I am officially in remission. 

A word of warning, because my metabolism is now the slowest it has ever been my weight spirralled out of control & I put on 3 stone in the last 1 1/2 years.  This resulted in severe leg pain.  So vicious cycle ensued, too much pain, unable to exercise, weight increases and so the pain worsens.  After several different test it was discovered I have a fatty liver because of the slowing of the metablolism and the weight gain.  I have to say at this point my Endo has been great and I am now on a low fat diet, he prescribed some fat busting pills and my weight has started to come down again.  I have lost 4 lbs in the last 2 weeks.  The leg pain has also reduced and so I am able to exercise again.  So it has come full circle.  It is such a pity that G.P's and endocrinologist don't warn about these possibilities.  A little warning and they could be avoided.  What does everyone else think?

Saidie - 29/12/2010 15:39


I'm a 13 year old girl. A lot of people in my family including my mother suffer from underactive thyroid. I, within the last year, have suffered from small weight gain without any change in diet or exercise and have been unusually tired especially in the earlier half of the day. I find myself losing concentration easily which is completely out of character. I also have dizzy panicky spells which last for a minute or two then go. I often get 12 hours sleep and would get up still feeling like I need more sleep. I understand this is part of being a teenager but there is very little explanation for constant drowsiness. I eat 3 meals a day, drink plenty of water, no fast food ect. so genuinely cannot understand why I have these symptoms, I'm 5ft 9 so am a good build but although have gained some weight am still quite a healthy weight. A friend suggested it was because I had grown so tall it had taken my energy but I haven't changed height in a year or more. My period has also become irregular and it did have a pattern but this is gone too.

I am wondering if I should get my bloods taken with my GP. My mother is on eltroxin as is most of my family. I want to do something about it now so if anyone has advice it would be greatly appreciated. This is a very annoying thing to have to put up with and it gets in the way of study, sports ect.

Kind Regards and a Happy New Year to all,


Anonymous - 04/01/2011 10:19

Hi Sarah, while some symptoms could be put down to hormones and being a teenager, there is definitely a pattern there of symtoms relating to underactive thyroid. I would say, see your GP get a thyroid panel (blood test) taken and get tested for underactive thyroiud and hashimotos antibodies.

Best of luck

Miss - 07/01/2011 14:31

My underactive thyroid wasn't discovered until recently, and by complete chance. I actually thought I might be pregnant and somehow they tested my TSH levels, antibodies and so on.  recommend anyone who has any of the following symptoms to get tested right away:

- tiredness, even after sleeping the recommended 8 hours

- weight gain

- moodiness

- hair loss

- skin problems (acne in my case)

These were some of my symptoms, which I simply attributed to other causes.How wrong I was!

I was even taking Spirolactone for my acne for about 6 months to help balance my hormones. Strangely, I was reading the side effects this medicine can have recently, one of which is that it can provoke thyroid problems. I'm wondering if this was my case. So please guys check the side effects of any medication you are taking, especially if there are thryroid issues in the family! Kiss

My nutritionist has asked for me get my bloods done every 3 months to establish the right dose of hormones to prescribe.

Good luck to everyone with this problem!

daisy doll - 08/01/2011 16:52

Hi I have a 7yr old with hypothyroidism, it has been diagnosed since she was a baby. I would love to hear from others who have kids with this, or adults who have also have congenital hypothyroidism.

Jay1995 - 12/03/2011 01:32

Hi , Im 16 and was diagnosed about 2 days ago with hypothoiroidism .. ive been reading up about it on various websites and well none of them say about the medication , Is is for life or what .. I'd just love to find out as much as possible.. Thanks 

Anonymous - 14/03/2011 11:53

Hi Jay, yep it's for life. The need increases if you go on the combined pill or become pregnant and decreases in menopause if you don't use HRT.

Laura12 - 11/04/2012 22:17

Hi to all.... Im looking to see has anyone encountered the same symptoms as myself and what they done. My TSH , T4 and T3 all read normal according to my doctor however Im still feeling unwell and seem to have all the classic symptoms of someone who is suffering from underactive thyroid. My doctor has told me Im more than likely suffering from depression or pre-menstrual and not thyroid. In the past I suffered from an overactive thyroid and have now got that under control. When I had and overactive I knew I was very unwell before the blood tests were done. There is also a history of thyroid disease in my family so I think you know when your body is unwell and letting you down and trying to tell this to a doctor who washes it off with the word "depression" very upsetting. I would like to know are there other test for thyroid?

silver_linings - 06/08/2013 14:16

Hi, I am a 23year old female and I have been having health issues over the past 8/9months. It started with headaches similar to Migrane but then I started having episodes not unlike cluster headaches which really worried me, caused me to nearly  crash twice, I have noticed that I generally become extreamly tired after one of theses headaches and will sleep anywhere. I often also feel nauseous. They were always on the left side, I could pinpoint it. I have double vision when I look to the left and my left arm is weak and has developed a tremmor, I also have a twitch in my left eye when I have a headache. I was addmitted to hospital for MRI&MRA to check for brain leasions and Blood was taken to check if I was ananemic etc. The bloods came back clear as far as I know. My consultant and the radiology team had a dispute about my case and I have now been put on a waiting list for not a MRI but a CT scan, this will not happen until the end of Sept. A very long process and I can't handle it, it is effecting every part of my life. I am at risk of losing my job becase I simply can't preform.

Lately it has developed into more frequent migrane headaches (everyday) with constant fatigue, weakness and an inability to preform the simplest things, my memory and mind have been affected (I found it difficult to read my own name on more then one occasion). It is overwhelming and totally frustrating.

This has resulted in feelings depression with anxiety attacks. I have decided to get the scans privatley, I don't have health insurance but I just can't wait any longer. In the meantime I have the headaches seem to have changed sides so this caused me to look up other possibilities and an underactive thyroid seem to be a possibiliy.

I have the following symtoms: Loss of appetite, weight gain, extream fatigue, depression, weak arms and legs, hoarse voice, very oily skin with breakouts, long term constapation, much heavier and more painful periods.

Like previous readers I feel that if this MRI comes back clear, it will be "passed off" as depression as I have a family history of it. I do feel like I am currently suffering depression but only as a result of the pain, exhaustion and lack of consentration.

Basically I am just looking for advise or genaral thoughts, I feel like I'm going out of my mind.

Do they check for thyroid disease or is it evident in general blood tests?

Anonymous - 07/08/2013 09:58

Hi Sillver, sounds like you're haivng a really tough time. The symptoms such  weight gain, extreme fatigue, depression, hoarse voice,, long term constapation and much heavier and more painful periods are symptoms of hypothyroidism but this is not just present in general blood tests. As with any blood test, they would need to secifically check for it - they need to do this regardless of what they are testing for. For hypothyroidism, they would need to test your Tsh (thyroid stimulating hormone) and for thyroid anti-bodies if they beleive it to be autoimmume (most hypothyroidism is) and also T4 - the thyroid hormone and T3 - the active form of the thyroid hormone. Thyroid disease can run in families so your familty history is important. Other symptoms include poor reflexes, feeling cold, dry skin and hair and flaky nails.

Enda D. Reynolds958 - 03/12/2016 18:49

despite being on 25 mgs of Eltroxin, my fingertips & toes get cold very quickly and take an age to get warm again.......reading the comments about the combined effects of Fluoridated water, amalgam fillings & long term Eltroxin usage, I'm going to se if cutting the tablets in half  has any effect on my symptoms......the delights of being a type 1 diabetic.....EVERYTHING is  the fault of being a's the health equivalent of Brexit....U feel cold/have lost weight/gained weight/can't sleep.losing hair/gaining hair/ fingernails grow too fast /too slow.....U car won't start/can't geta job/can't complete a crossword/can do them too's ALL because of being a diabetic!!!Anyone have any practical suggestions about stopping freezing fingers (BESIDES wearing gloves!!!) and  reducing dependence on so many who have posted, it seemed to have worked initially, but I may as well be  eating  candarel now..........TubbsCool

Anonymous - 06/12/2016 12:21

25mg is an Extremely low dosage and I imagine that lowering it any further would result in an increase in your symptoms.

Enda D. Reynolds958 - 14/12/2016 16:50

Thank U for Ur comment...I've cut the eltroxin in half  and it seems to have made a slight difference time I'm in hospital, I'll get specific bloods for  thyroid  and se whatthe  Endocrinologist says.....Being on so many meds, if U're on  X, for example, it may 'cure' whatever it was designed to do, but in the process, cause another one, so that's  'cured' by medicine Y....but that in turn causes  a AND b....No end to it, is there??LOLAt least I'm above the ground!!Tubbs

JoeT - 17/02/2017 01:00

Interesting new film about thyroid diseases:

Nickname: to be used for all future posts.
Notification: Tick this box if you wish to receive e-mail notifications of further posts on this topic