An underactive thyroid, or hypothyroidism, occurs when the thyroid fails to produce the required hormones. Hypothyroidism is diagnosed with a simple blood test and is treated with synthetic hormones. An underactive thyroid eventually causes several symptoms in the body. As with any condition, the symptoms are general and may have a number of causes. It is important to discuss any of the symptoms with a doctor, particularly if the symptoms are new.
Fatigue is a major symptom of an underactive thyroid.
An underactive thyroid often results in unexplained weight gain. Individuals with an underactive thyroid may have difficulty losing weight.
Muscles & Joints
An underactive thyroid may cause aches, tenderness, stiffness or weakness in muscles. Joints may also experience pain, swelling or stiffness.
Depression can be a result of an underactive thyroid. The thought process may also slow down.
Goitre, or an enlarged thyroid, may be a symptom of an underactive thyroid if left untreated. This enlargement is caused by the body stimulating the thyroid to release more hormones.
An underactive thyroid may also cause constipation, pale or dry skin, puffiness in the face, heavier menstrual periods, brittle nails or hair, a hoarse voice, sensitivity to cold temperatures and increased cholesterol levels.
An underactive thyroid is typically treated with a synthetic thyroid hormone. This daily pill replaces the hormones that the thyroid is no longer producing. The synthetic hormone will cause the symptoms to gradually disappear.