Experiences withUnderactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
When to see a GP
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid are often similar to those of other conditions, and they usually develop slowly, so you may not notice them for years.
For example, if you are an age where you may be expecting the menopause, you may think you have started the menopause rather than having an underactive thyroid.
You should see a GP and ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid if you have symptoms including:
- weight gain
- being sensitive to the cold
- dry skin and hair
- muscle aches
The only accurate way of finding out whether you have a thyroid problem is to have a thyroid function test, where a sample of blood is tested to measure your hormone levels.
Treating an underactive thyroid
Treatment for an underactive thyroid involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets, called levothyroxine, to raise your thyroxine levels.
You'll initially have regular blood tests until the correct dose of levothyroxine is reached. This can take a little while to get right.
Once you're taking the correct dose, you'll usually have a blood test once a year to monitor your hormone levels.
You'll usually need treatment for the rest of your life. However, with proper treatment, you should be able to lead a normal, healthy life.
If an underactive thyroid is not treated, it can lead to complications, including heart disease, goitre, pregnancy problems and a life-threatening condition called myxoedema coma (although this is very rare).
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid include feeling tired all the time, gaining weight and being sensitive to cold.
An underactive thyroid is treated with medicine that raises the level of thyroid hormone in your body.
Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
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