Women are five to eight times more likely to develop thyroid than men, with 60% of them being unaware that they’ve developed the condition at all.

Having an underactive thyroid inhibits thyroxine and triiodothyronine hormones from maintaining  healthy function of cells. Symptoms usually develop slowly and are similar to those of the common cold, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), so can be difficult to spot.

If you’re experiencing prolonged issues with any of the following, consider giving your GP a call.

Erratic emotions

An underactive thyroid affects your mental health as well as your physical health. Try to be cautious of difficulties with concentration, lack of interest, mental alertness and short-term memory lapses. See our list of foods you can eat to help with memory loss.


This can be a secondary effect of disrupted sleep, which is a major symptom of underactive thyroid. So if you find yourself napping every afternoon to make it to dinnertime, or waking up brain-fogged despite a full night’s sleep, it is worth calling your doctor. Better safe than sorry.

Bowel issues

Bloating is not an unfamiliar concept to most women. After spending decades PMS-ing and dealing with the side effects of menopause, a bit of abdominal pain can seem normal. But as we age, bloating and abdominal discomfort can be manifestations of other health issues. Make sure you stay hydrated and eat plenty of vegetables to naturally combat bowel irritation. Try adding some Mediterranean foods into your meals to cleanse stomach and skin.

Muscle pain

As a rule, muscle problems related to thyroid abnormalities are generally mild and eased with prompt treatment. Stay active and stretch throughout the day. Joining gentle fitness classes like yoga and swimming will not only keep your muscles healthy, but also boost mental calmness. We have some recommendations for classes to help you stay active without harsh impacts on joints and muscle tissue.

Dry skin and hair

Many signs of dysfunctional thyroid develop on the skin, hair, and nails. A lot of the dermatological symptoms are synonymous with normal signs of ageing — slight hair loss, discolouration and slow hair growth or yellowing nails. Look for health supplements containing Sea Kelp, to get natural source of the mineral iodine. Try Natures Garden daily tablets for organic management of thyroid symptoms.

Treatment for underactive thyroid is straightforward once medication is adjusted to the right level for you and, though taking tablets may be uncomfortable to start with, there is absolutely nothing stopping you from continuing to live a healthy and happy life once settled on medication. It’s all about getting to know your own body and figuring out what treatments are best for you.

For more medical information, see the NHS website.