Over-Active Thyroid

By: Joe Swails

What is over-active thyroid?
The thyroid is a gland in your neck. It is ‘curled around’ your windpipe. Its primary function is to keep your metabolism working properly and at the right pace, so that, overall, your body functions properly and well.

The thyroid gland produces a hormone called thyroxine. When thyroxine is produced by the thyroid gland in excessive quantities (it travels around your body through your bloodstream), then your body’s functions accelerate and a range of symptoms can develop. Your thyroid gland is then regarded as being ‘over-active’.

Symptoms of over-active thyroid include:

Restlessness and hyperactivity

Hand tremors

Weight-loss or weight-gain (note: it is possible to experience weight-loss even though you have actually developed an increased appetite due to having over-active thyroid)

Tiredness (and sometimes overwhelming fatigue)

Breathlessness (this can be mild or severe, depending upon the individual)

Heart palpitations

Excessive sweating (especially at night)

Itchy skin

Thinning hair

Disturbed sleep

Sensitivity to heat

Mood swings (e.g., anxiety, irritability…)

Muscle weakness

Increase in the frequency with which you need to use the toilet to pass stools or to urinate


Diminished libido

Reduced fertility problems and interference of the menstrual cycle

Overactive thyroid can occur at any age. The most common cause of your body producing excessive quantities or thyroxine is Graves’ disease – an autoimmune disease (that is, a disease where the body ‘attacks’ itself). With Graves’ disease, you body produces antibodies which stimulate thyroxine to excessive levels in your thyroid gland.

If you are suffering from the aforementioned symptoms, make an appointment with your GP. After taking your medical history and asking you some questions, your GP will then ask you to take a blood test where a confirmed diagnosis of an over-active thyroid gland will be established. If this is the case you will be referred to a specialist (an endocrinologist) for further tests. An appropriate treatment will then be recommended to you.

Effect on your life
Although, with the appropriate treatment, levels of thyroxine produced by your thyroid gland can be controlled to some extent, it is vital (if you are suffering from the aforementioned symptoms) that you seek medical help as soon as possible, as over-active thyroid can actually be a life-threatening condition.

Once treatment has been sought, most people find they can live a relatively normal life and can continue to work and enjoy many daily activities.

Over-active thyroid is treated with prescribed medicine in tablet form, this is usually Carbimazole. You may also be prescribed Radio-Iodine – a safe radioactive fluid taken as a drink or in tablet form. Both treatments are intended to reduce the levels of thyroxine in your body.

In rare cases, and where all other treatments prove unsuccessful in reducing thyroxine levels, surgery to remove part of the thyroid gland may be considered as an option.

How Chemist Online can help
Through this website we have a range of treatments available to buy which can help ease diarrhoea – an associated symptom of over-active thyroid.


Advice & Support
British Thyroid Foundation
Tel. 01423 709 707
Website: www.btf-thyroid.org

Thyroid UK
Tel. 01255 820407
Website: www.thyroiduk.org

Thyroid Eye Disease (TED) Charitable Trust
Tel. 0844 800 8133
Web: www.tedct.co.uk

This information and advice is not intended to replace the advice of your GP or chemist. Chemist Online is also not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based upon the content of the Chemist Online website. Chemist Online is also not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised on any of the sites.

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