What are the symptoms of thyroid disease?

Thyroid Health

Could your thyroid be to blame for your niggling symptoms?


Helen Marsden

Share this article

Thyroid disorders are among the most common medical conditions, with an estimated 1 in 20 people affected by a thyroid disorder. Although thyroid disorders are very common, it can be very difficult to diagnose as many of the symptoms of a thyroid disorder can be overlooked (especially if they are mild) or confused with other conditions. Symptoms usually develop slowly and you may not realise you have a medical problem for several years.

An underactive thyroid, (hypothyroidism), occurs when the gland does not produce enough of the thyroid hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). Low thyroid hormone levels ultimately slow down the body’s metabolism.

Symptoms of an hypothyroidism include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Weight gain and difficulty losing weight
  • Feeling cold all the time
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Breathlessness
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Low basal temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of libido
  • Raised cholesterol
  • Hair loss (especially outer third of eyebrows)
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Brittle nails
  • Constipation
  • Irregular and heavy periods
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Brain "fog"
  • Fertility problems
  • Goitre

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), occurs when the thyroid makes too much of the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). An excess of thyroid hormones speeds up metabolism in the body.

Symptoms of an hyperthyroidism include:

  • Feeling hyperactive
  • Weight loss despite increased appetite
  • Feeling warm and sweating excessively
  • Warm, clammy skin
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Raised basal temperature
  • Insomnia
  • Raised libido
  • Osteoporosis
  • Thin, fly-away hair
  • Thin, itchy skin
  • Thickened nails
  • Frequent bowel movements and diarrhoea
  • Light, scanty periods
  • Tremor and shakiness
  • Gritty, protruding eyes
  • Irritability
  • Fertility problems
  • Goitre

Learn more about thyroid disease:

What is the thyroid?

What is thyroid disease?

What are the risk factors for thyroid disease?

What is hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid)?

What is hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid)?

How is thyroid disease diagnosed?

Reverse T3 - what is it and do I need to test for it?

Reverse T3 - results explained

Thyroid FAQs

Medicheck your thyroid

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. Read more