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Having an under-active thyroid is called hypothyroidism. It means the thyroid gland isn’t producing enough of the thyroxine hormone for the body’s needs.

When it happens, your mind and your body slow down. You might feel fatigue and tiredness; sensitivity to the cold; physical and mental slowness; dry skin and brittle hair; low mood or depression; or have fertility problems.

To diagnose an under-active thyroid the doctor will examine you and take blood tests.

Treatment is usually tablets which give you a replacement for the hormone which you are missing. The tablets are called levothyroxine and you have to take them each day for the rest of your life.

It’s important to tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines, or special foods, as some of them can interfere with your body taking in the levothyroxine properly. You also need to tell your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a baby, as you will probably need to increase your levothyroxine dose in the first three months of pregnancy.

After you’ve been diagnosed and started treatment, blood tests will be carried out around every eight weeks until the doctor finds the correct dose of levothyroxine for you. Blood tests are then normally taken once a year. These BSL health clips were made by SignHealth with help and information from The British Thyroid Foundation. If you need more information or advice, visit www.btf-thyroid.org