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Underactive thyroid - What are the symptoms of an underactive thyroid?

BMJ Group Medical Reference

It's easy to miss the symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland. They are often mild and quite vague.

You may not realise you have an underactive thyroid for many months. You might put your symptoms down to things like working too hard or eating badly. You're more likely to think there's something wrong if you get several symptoms together.[5]

An underactive thyroid gland can give you several different symptoms. This is because it affects lots of different parts of your body.

The most common symptoms of an underactive thyroid gland are:[6]

  • Feeling tired or low

  • Dry skin

  • Putting on weight

  • Being extra sensitive to cold

  • Constipation

  • If you're a woman, irregular periods.

If an underactive thyroid isn't treated, your symptoms may gradually get worse. After a few months or years, you may notice you:

  • Have very dry, flaky skin

  • Have coarse hair

  • Put on weight, even though you're not eating any more

  • Feel depressed

  • Feel sluggish and find it difficult to think clearly

  • Have a hoarse voice

  • Lose some of your hair.

If you go even longer without treatment, you may get:

  • A puffy face

  • A large tongue

  • Weak muscles

  • Painful joints

  • Poor hearing

  • Painful tingling in your hands (carpal tunnel syndrome).

Doctors call these later symptoms myxoedema.

Glossary

constipated

When you're constipated, you have difficulty passing stools (faeces). Your bowel movements may be dry and hard. You may have fewer bowel movements than usual, and it may be a strain when you try to go.

For more terms related to Underactive thyroid

Citations

For references related to Underactive thyroid click here.
Last Updated: June 21, 2012
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.
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