Underactive thyroid

Having an underactive thyroid is like going through life wearing a sumo-suit.

Having an underactive thyroid is like going through life wearing a sumo-suit. It slows you down. You want to do things but can’t summon the energy.

You feel like late-stage Elvis. Hypothyroidism messes with skin and hair. It can even shrink your eyebrows.

It lowers mood - often leading to depression - and slows digestion - leading to chronic constipation.

It dulls thinking, taste and smell. It also impairs fertility. It can even prevent ovulation.

Nowadays, most underactive thyroid is in the form of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Despite the name, Germany is where it was first described - in 1912, by the Japanese researcher who lent his name to it. In Hashimoto’s your own immune system attacks your thyroid gland.

Sometimes, rigorous dietary change and exercise can reduce the inclination of the immune system to attack self-tissue. Although this is easier said than done, it is worth the effort.

The most common measure of thyroid function is TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone). Paradoxically, as thyroid function decreases, TSH levels are raised - it is the chemical used to signal the need for more thyroid hormones. In other words, with underactive thyroid, your TSH levels will be higher than normal.

The test we use – ThyroScreen® – gives a positive (i.e. your thyroid is underactive) result at or above 5 microIU/ml TSH, which is outside the normal range. If you score positive with ThyroidScreen, you ARE hypothyroid. Even a score below this (which won’t show in this test) could still be associated with symptoms of hypothyroidism. You will then need a fuller battery of tests via your GP to learn if Hashimoto's is the cause.

• 1 test costs €25 plus €2 P&P
• Results need 2 drops of blood and 10 minutes
• We can e-mail you our blood sampling guide to make the blood collection part a bit easier.

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