Medical CareMedical Conditions

Feeling Tired? Could it be your Thyroid?

By April 25, 2019 September 10th, 2019 No Comments

What is the Thyroid?

Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of your neck. It is an ‘endocrine’ gland, which means it secretes hormones which influence how the body regulates itself. The main hormone the thyroid gland produces is the thyroid hormone, which influences a lot of the body’s function, including metabolism, bone growth and protein production. Thyroid hormone is made using iodine, which we get from our diet from salt, seafood, eggs and dairy products.

What are the symptoms of thyroid problems?

The thyroid can either be ‘underactive’ (not producing enough thyroid hormone) or ‘overactive’ (producing too much thyroid hormone). This is most commonly because of autoimmune problems.

The symptoms of an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) are:

  • Weight loss

  • Increased appetite

  • Rapid heartbeats (‘palpitations’)

  • Anxiety, irritability and difficulty sleeping

  • Fatigue

  • Increased sweating and poor tolerance to heat

  • Muscle weakness

  • Diarrhoea

  • Fewer and lighter menstrual periods

The symptoms of a underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

  • Weight gain

  • Decreased appetite

  • Feeling depressed

  • Fatigue

  • Dry skin and thinning hair

  • Poor tolerance to cold

  • Muscle/joint pain

  • Constipation

  • Heavier and more regular menstrual periods

  • Puffy face and hoarse voice

Other symptoms of thyroid disease include:

  • Neck pain. This could indicate thyroiditis, which is inflammation of the thyroid. This commonly occurs after pregnancy. This can cause symptoms of both underactive and overactive thyroid.

  • Neck swelling. This is called a goitre, and can occur with underactive and overactive thyroids.

  • Rarely, you can get thyroid cancer, which may cause a lump in the neck, difficulty swallowing and a hoarse voice

How will I know if I have an over or underactive thyroid and what can I do about it?

Visit your GP and discuss your symptoms with them. Your thyroid hormone levels can be determined with a simple blood test.

If the blood tests show an underactive thyroid, this can be managed with a medication which replaces the thyroid hormone that your thyroid gland isn’t producing enough of.

If the blood tests show and overactive thyroid, this can be managed with medication to slow down the thyroid gland. It can also be managed with radiation therapy or surgery.

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, feel free to book an appointment with one of our friendly doctors by booking online or contacting us by phone on 8269 6000.


The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. 2018. RACGP – Hypothyroidism – Investigation and management. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 14 April 2018]. 2018. Thyroid disease  [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 14 April 2018]

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