Underactive Thyroid


Common Symptoms:


Weight gain


Sensitive to cold


Slow movements and thoughts

Muscle Cramps

Muscle Aches and Weakness

Brittle Hair and Nails

Dry and Scaly Skin

Loss of libido

Irregular or heavy periods

Pain, numbness,  tingling in hand and fingers

There may be memory problems and depression in elderly people.  There may be slower growth and development in children and teenagers may start puberty earlier than normal.

Symptoms are often confused for something else and they develop slowly so you may not notice them for years.  You should see your GP if you suffer from any of these symptoms and you should ask to be tested for an underactive thyroid.

Later symptoms may include:

Puffy looking face

Low pitched and hoarse voice

Slow heart rate

Thinned or partly missing eyebrows


Hearing loss

If your underactive thyroid is not treated it can lead to these later symptoms.


Who is Affected?

Both women and men are affected but it is more common in women.  In the UK it affects 15 in every 1000 women and 1 in 1000 men.  Around 1 in every 3500-4000 babies are born with an underactive thyroid and this is called congenital hypothyroidism.  All babies both in the UK are screen for this and this is taken by a heal prick blood test at about 5 days old.

Treating Underactive Thyroid

A daily hormone replacement tablet called levothyroxine is used to raise thyroxine levels.  Treatment is usually for the rest of life.  It is possible to lead a normal healthy life with proper treatment.

If untreated goitre (lump in throat) can occur.  There can also be heart disease, pregnancy problems.  It is also possible to develop life-threatening myxoedema but this is rare.

The Thyroid Gland

It is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the neck which is just in front of the trachea (windpipe).

One of its main functions is producing hormones that help regulate the body’s metabolism which is the process that turns food into energy.  These hormones are called triidothronline (T3) and thyroxine (T4).

Many of the body’s functions slow down when the thyroid does not produce enough thyroxine.


Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is the name which is given to a whole lot of unexplained symptoms from a disturbance of the large intestine. About a third of the population are affected at some time in their lives. About one in ten people have symptoms which is severe enough to seek help from their GP.

In my blog today I would like to give you some information on this condition as I know many of you people suffering with Chronic Fatigue Conditions also suffer from IBS.

Symptoms can be:

Pain and spasms in the abdomen which can be relieved by going to the toilet.

Diarrhoea, constipation or erratic bowel habit

Swelling or bloating of abdomen

Excessive passage of wind and rumbling noises

Urgency to visit toilet and incontinence if a toilet is not nearby

Sharp pain low down in the rectum

Feeling as if there has been incomplete bowel movement

There are many diagnostic tests which can be carried out such as X-rays, blood tests and endoscopies but the results may not reveal any obvious abnormality.

You can also experience symptoms in other parts of the body such as dizziness, headache, backache, passing urine frequently, muscle and joint pains, indigestion, tiredness, ringing in ears, nausea and belching. There may be an alteration in sensitivity .

Top Tips

Do get a diagnosis from a qualified medical professional and do not self diagnose. Once you have a confirmed diagnosis you may not need to have further investigations. This will help you save a lot of time waiting for tests that may not help.

Please understand your illness and self management is key. You can obtain information from IBS Network who provide a web delivered self management programme.

IBS is a disorder of bowel function and so there is no damage to the gut and it is not likely to increase your likelihood for developing cancer.

Please learn how your lifestyle and diet can affect you.   It is important that you do not try and do too much. Learn to regard your stomach as your alarm system. If it alerts you to a problem slow down and relax and take a break. You can try talking to others about your problem. Remember it is most important to listen to your body!

As far as food is concerned you should not eliminate food from your diet but you should remember your gut is more sensitive when you have a flare up. It is an excellent idea to keep a food diary so you can work out which foods cause you the most trouble. People often have problems with fatty foods, high fibre foods, coffee and spices. You may find a more bland diet may help you but you should aim to return to your normal balanced diet when you are feeling better. You may find soluble fibre from rolled oats, bananas and beans is better for your gut than insoluble fibre found in bran and whole oats.

Your mood also plays a big part in the problem. People often feel angry, anxious and depressed. Levels of these can change from moment to moment. Try and understand why this is happening.

Complementary therapies such as reflexology, massage, relaxation, hypnotherapy have been found to help as they follow a holistic route.

Probiotics can be helpful in regulating the bowel. Give one brand a month trial and if it does not work try another one. They are good for proliferating the growth of your natural bacteria in the gut.

You should be careful not to fall trap to any quack cures. Always see someone who belongs to an association and has been properly trained.

Do not let your condition alienate you from talking to friends and family. Even today the subject of toilet can be difficult. Remember you are not alone! It can also prevent you from getting the right help from your GP.




Brain fog

Brain Fog

This has other names such as Clouding of Consciousness and Fibromyalgia Fog.

Have you found you are having a conversation and then suddenly you are struggling to find the correct word. You might be cooking dinner and you cannot remember why the cooker timer is going off. This will make you feel frustrated or embarrassed.

First of all it is a common condition. For some the cloudy thinking is manageable and mild. It can affect your short-term memory, concentration and attention. You may have problems retaining new information. It usually does not affect your intelligence, long-term memory or reading comprehension. It may get worse over time but on the other hand it may not. It can have many causes such as depression, fatigue and side effects from some medication.

The first thing you should do is talk to your doctor because you could have an underlying and treatable condition such as depression which is causing your brain fog. Medications such as for bladder problems can help to cause this.

Get in to the habit of writing everything down and replacing your memory with organisation.

There have been a number of studies on this condition and much speculation. A popular theory is that it can be caused by sleep deprivation and depression. However some studies do not agree with this.

Brain scan studies have shown that there is not sufficient oxygen in different parts of the brain. A possible reason for this might be that part of the nervous system is out of alignment causing changes in the brain’s blood vessels.

It has been found that chronic pain can also affect the brain. Functional MRI found that in people with chronic pain a front region of the brain mostly associated with emotions is constantly active. The area concerned does not shut off when it should which wears out neurons and disturbs the balance of the whole brain.


The Chrysalis Effect

I am a practitioner for The Chrysalis Effect and they are obtaining extremely good results from their work with people with Chronic Fatigue, ME (Myalgic Encephalopathy) and Fibromyalgia. The Chrysalis Effect was formed by two ladies who had suffered with these conditions for many years and has been put together with the things they found were useful in their recoveries. You would be hard pushed to find two more lively and energetic ladies than they are today.

If you would like further information on how I can help you please have a look at my website – www.managingstressandme.com or call me on 01342 843241 or use the form on my Contact Page.


My experience of serious illness

First of all I want to tell you that I know all about serious illness. In 1993 I nearly died from acute pancreatitis. I was in hospital for 11 days on a drip and drain and only allowed to suck ice cubes. When I had recovered from this trauma I decided I needed to make the most the life I had been given and concentrated on my newly formed therapy business.

I would like to talk a bit about the symptoms that people with Chronic Fatigue conditions often experience. This could be digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), insomnia, migraine, muscle pain, stiffness, low thyroid levels, adrenal fatigue, brain fog, poor concentration, food intolerances, alcohol intolerances, dizziness, exhaustive fatigue, depression. Of course you may well suffer from something which is not on this list. Do this sound familiar to you?