If you’re struggling with low energy, feel cold all the time, and struggle to lose weight despite eating a healthy diet and exercising, you may have an underactive thyroid. What are the symptoms of an underactive thyroid and how is it treated?
An underactive thyroid is a condition known as hypothyroidism, where your thyroid doesn’t produce hormones properly.
About one in 50 Britons is affected by hypothyroidism, according to Thyroid UK, and women are five to 10 times more likely to be diagnosed than men.
Hypothyroidism is usually caused by an autoimmune problem, which means that the symptoms of an underactive thyroid can be wide-ranging, affecting many different parts of the body.
However, the most well-known symptom is unexplained weight gain and a struggle to change weight.
Understandably, this can be a really frustrating experience, as those with an underactive thyroid can try many different diets, but see no results.
People with hypothyroidism may diet and exercise religiously and yet see no weight loss, or even continue to gain weight despite their efforts.
This can leave people feeling insecure about their weight and demotivated by the lack of results they see after hitting the gym and avoiding comfort foods.
If you’ve been struggling to lose weight, or even gained a lot of weight for no obvious reason, you may want to speak to your GP about the possibility of an underactive thyroid.
These are the most common possible symptoms of hypothyroidism, according to Thyroid UK:
- Weight gain, even if you eat less
- feeling cold all the time
- weakened muscles
- Changes in your menstrual cycle
- Impaired concentration and memory.
- Hair loss on your body, scalp, and eyebrows
- hoarse or deepened voice
- Difficulty to swallow
- delayed reflexes
- Loss of libido (sexual desire).
- fertility problems
- High cholesterol
- Dry/gritty eyes
Thyroid UK have a free download form with all the possible symptoms of hypothyroidism that you can complete and present to a doctor at the time of consultation.
How is hypothyroidism treated?
If your GP agrees that you may have an underactive thyroid, you will need to do a blood test to measure your hormone levels.
If tests confirm that you have hypothyroidism, your doctor may prescribe hormone replacement tablets to raise your thyroxine levels.
It is important to speak to a doctor as soon as possible if you are concerned that you may be at risk of hypothyroidism, as left untreated it can lead to further complications, such as heart disease and pregnancy complications.