Overactive thyroid - Symptoms 

Symptoms of overactive thyroid 

An overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) has many signs and symptoms, although it is unlikely you would develop all of them.

Symptoms of hyperthyroidism

If you have hyperthyroidism, you may have some of the following symptoms:

If you have diabetes, your diabetic symptoms, such as extreme thirst and tiredness, may be made worse by hyperthyroidism.

Signs of hyperthyroidism

If you have hyperthyroidism, you may notice some of the following physical signs:

  • a swelling in your neck caused by an enlarged thyroid gland (goitre)
  • irregular and/or unusually fast heart rate
  • tremor (trembling or shaking)
  • warm, moist skin
  • redness on the palms of your hands
  • loosening of your nails in their nail beds
  • itchy skin with raised itchy swellings (urticaria)
  • patchy hair loss (alopecia)
  • twitching in your face and limbs

When to seek medical advice

See your GP if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms. They may not be the result of an overactive thyroid gland but they will need further investigation.

It might be useful to make a list of your symptoms as this can often be helpful in determining the correct diagnosis.

Page last reviewed: 22/05/2012

Next review due: 22/05/2014

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Comments

The 33 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

boopsylou12 said on 12 June 2014

Hello I was wondwring if anyone could offer aome advice.
I have been experiencing all of the symptoms of an over active thyroid. I have just recently changed my doctors. My old gp did a blood test a good few months ago and my thyroid function was said to be normal.
I had a retest at my new gp last week and have been informed that my thyroid levels are slightly elevated. New gp said that this would suggest I have an under active thyroid....This has left me feeling quite confused as I have all of the symptoms for an over active.
Also GP has said that he doesn't want to start me on any meds as yet as the levels could have risen due to feeling a bit under the wether in general...Is it worth me going back and asking for them to look right into my thyroid alone??

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jessicad789 said on 26 March 2014

At the age of 19 i was diagnised with an overactive thyroid, my symptops were: an increased appeite where i gained 2 stone in the space of 6 months, no periods, shaking, insomnia, unexplained mood swings and crying for no reason, intollerance to heat and sweatting. I have now been on tablets (carbimazole) for 2 years and recently come off them to see if i remain at a normal level after a few weeks i already feel like my symptoms are coming back. Please be aware that the treatment for overactive thyroid (as told by the proffessor of endocronology) only has a 40% chance of not returning within the first 3 years, and only 20% will never see it return (my figures may not be 100% accurate but this is what i remember my doctor telling me).

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Leonna9 said on 27 February 2014

A few years ago I was first diagnosed with a very slight Hyperactive Thryoid my tests at the time were not quite enough to put me on tablets but I was regularly tested until they eventually came to an end.
I am now 23 and in the last few months I have been having very similar symptoms again but FAR worse.
I am eating 24/7 and was recently weighed at 7st 11lbs I am 5ft.2 and normally sit at about 8st.4 or more.
When hunger strikes my palms go sweaty I shake and this immidiatly subsided by eating anything.
My main symptom that I have had this time around that I didn't before was feeling very low and anxious/ nervous to the point where I keep myself up at night. I have had a lot going on and I had originally put this down to that.
I need to wee more often and my periods are normally REALLY heavy but my last 2 have been noticeably lighter.
My poor partner has had to put up with moods and I just don't feel myself anymore. I am freezing cold all the time and so tired, My bones creak and ache like an old lady and I am at the end of my tether.
My concern is if these blood tests come back ok again and I am just on the cusp how can I go on like this? can I demand to be put on something?.

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penelope17 said on 30 November 2013

Hello grace898,
I also have been taking levothyroxine for 2 years without feeling an improvement in energy levels, after experiencing significant joint pain and depression I had further investigations and have been diagnosed with coeliac disease, maybe this is an avenue worth exploring in your case. Within two weeks of a gluten free diet, the only 'treatment for coeliac disease, the joint pain was gone. This is something harmless you could try even without a diagnosis. To get a proper diagnosis requires first a blood test and then a biopsy taken by a gastroenterologist whilst you continue to eat gluten.

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grace898 said on 25 November 2013

I have been on levothyroxine for about 10 years and for the last two taking T3 and armour as well. I space the dosage over 24 hours which helps a little. I buy the T3 VERY cheaply in pharmacies in Turkey and my consultant is happy with my blood test results. But despite all that i am still desperately tired, depressed and have constant joint pain for which i am taking 4-6 paracetamol per day and if acute then occasionally co-dydramol instead although only a couple of times per week as i know it is addictive. The joint pain drives me nuts; it is ruining my life. I am 53 going on 70. Any suggestions anyone?

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curly sue said on 03 November 2013

hi, a friend of mine has just been diagnosed with over active thyroid, shes on tablets but she has turned into a different person, is anybody else having any side effects of the pils?? she has all the mentioned in the symptoms, she is just a different person now, she wont have it that its prob the medication?? told her to go back to doctors.

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Mishel S said on 14 September 2013

Oh no, I have some of these symptoms. The symptoms I have are anxiety, nervousness, feeling tired all the time, muscle weakness, hand tremors, hair thinning (no patches, just thinning).

I'm not sure if these are symptoms as well but I have dry mouth and a sore neck/throat.

I'm 17 and female. I'm not sure if I should see my doctor about it.

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poppyp01 said on 14 September 2013

Dear mummywebb09. I have only just come across your comment but what I read really concerned me. I had my parathyroid glands removed along with my thyroid gland in 1996. The parathyroid glands are responsible for producing a hormone which is important for the absorption of calcium. However many calcium tablets you take it won't help if you cannot make use of the calcium. After my operation I felt just as you described and I had a horrible tingling sensation in my hands and if I tapped my cheek the corner of my mouth jumped. If you have this sign it indicates that your calcium levels in your blood stream are low. Treatment is to take a supplement called alphacalcidol. As soon as I was on this I felt completely normal again. Your GP should prescribe this or refer you to an endocrinologist. I hope you get sorted out

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Mummywebb09 said on 05 June 2013

Hi I had an over active thyroid since age of 14 now 23 I had all my thyroid removed.. Just want to answer a question. One I got pregnant on carbimazole 40mg aday had no problem getting pregnant with my son he's nearly 4 now my thyroid was all over the place when on them tablets never been normal always over and I still manage to get pregnant so don't give up trying..
As I said I've had my thyroid completely removed I must say worst thing I've ever agreed to do. My thyroid consultant advised me to have it completely removed as I've never had stable levels and it affect me when I get older with my bones &things like that I did have everything symptom you can have with an over active thyroid I think the only one really affect me to what I didn't like was hair thinning & weight loss never could put on weight size 6 ent a good look way to skinny but I was used to it after being that size for 9years. So I had my thyroid removed 3months ago surgery went great except I had a goitre & that caused one big problem for me it was so big that my parathyroid(calcium) glands was tangled up in it they had to remove 3calcium glands out of 4.. Don't sound that bad till you have to live with one calcium gland that don't want to work as well I was in hospital for 10days on calcium drips my body was shutting down when my calcium levels was so low I didn't get warned about this when I had my surgery I'm now on 3months later 18 calcium tablets aday my life is not what it used to be I feel light headed since I came around my op, I'm now under active but controlled I thought feeling tired without a thyroid bad try having a calcium deficiency you do not get out of bed on bad days I can't even drive my car as I feel light headed I can't walk anywhere far.. I'm 23 & feel like my life is over its depressing.Before anyone goes for thyroid op research it i wish I did because I wouldn't had it done else. I may have to take 18calcium tablets aday for rest of my life!

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annmarieg said on 16 April 2013

i was diagnosed with an over active thyroid after the birth of my second child. two years later i developed a goiter and had to have a thyroidectomy, 95% of my thyroid was removed but the 5% left behind doesn't work at all. in the three months after my op i gained 3 stone in weight which i am still carrying 15 years later! i recently had a bout of thyroid exhaustion which is really unpleasant. my levels had dropped to nothing, i was exhausted all the time but would wake from sleep several times a night with pins and needles in my hands and feet. i also started to get cramp in weird places (ribs, scalp, back as well as the usual legs and feet!). prior to the exhaustion i was on150mg levothyroxin daily but after my doctor dropped it to 100mg! so i'm back at the doctors on thursday cos, although i'm no longer exhausted, i'm still excessively tired, constantly cold, my skin is dry and itchy, have joint pain, still wake with pins and needles but not as frequently. i have no real appetite but once again am slowly gaining weight. having read other comments on this page i'm not feeling hopeful. it seems that every medical professional that i come across thinks its perfectly acceptable to feel this bad!

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SophDou said on 11 April 2013

I have had all of the symptoms of an over active thyroid for a month or so now. I eventually went to see my GP who told me that he thought I had an over active thyroid.

He sent me off for blood tests which have today come back as normal according to the receptionist.

Does anyone know what I should do from here? Is it worth going back to the GP to discuss the test results. Also does anyone know of any further tests which can be performed.

Thank you.

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koko13 said on 31 March 2013

Im 33 and was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid 4 yrs ago after the birth of my first child. I was told the pregnancy had triggered it. I lost 3 stone, sweated loads, suffered panic attacks and anxiety, had a really fast heart rate, wanted to eat all the time but also felt sick, was really tired all the time and generally felt rubbish. Id been seeing the doctor for a yr before a blood test confirmed an OAT and by this time I was so ill I had to be admitted to hospital. Ive been monitored by a consultant ever since and have been taking medication. Ive since had a second child. For the past 4 yrs ive felt rubbish, I dont know whats normal anymore. I suffer from really bad headaches and dry eye's every day and not sure if thats thyroid related. Im sick of feeling like this all the time!!!!

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getalife said on 31 March 2013

A note on consultants from someone who recovered (after consultants said it was impossible because I was too old). My experience is that all they know is what they learned in med school and what the drugs companies tell them. They don't ask questions about your lifestyle (they don't have the foggiest about the cause of hyperthyroidism but science suggests that its lifestyle related) or anything else that might give a clue as to how you got to where you are now, so they gain no insights. The shocking thing is how completely disinterested they are (I saw 4 different ones in an attempt to find one that showed an iota of interest). When I talked, if anyone showed any interest it was the nurses, not the consultants. So if you want to recover from a hyperactive thyroid and you don't want to leave it to chance you're going to have to figure out what you were doing that caused it and stop doing it. I read a lot but it didn't help much though I gained a lot of knowledge. Eventually I realised that I'd been messing with my bodyclock/circadian rhythms. Stopped doing so and I've been fine ever since though I occasionally get a few minor symptoms.

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picklesdee said on 21 February 2013

I was recently diagnosed with an overactive thyroid, I lost 2 stone in a month and the couldn't gain weight no matter how much I ate. Sounds great but added to this I developed rapid heart beat. I visited the doctor who after asking a few questions thought I might have a thyroid problem. I was prescribed Amlipodine to regulate my heartbeat and had a blood test which showed an overactive thyroid. He prescribed carbimazole for my overactive thyroid. Before I'd lost the weight, I had gained about 3 stone even though I was performing high energy activities, kung fu, jogging etc. I eventually received my appointment with an endocrinologist who diagnosed an overactive thyroid, possibly Graves disease but he also said that I could have possibly had an underactive thyroid and thats why my weight went up rapidly!! I had another blood test and my thyroid has evened it self out but I have now been prescribed with carbimazole and thyroxine. I have another appointment next month where I should be given a more accurate diagnosis. I feel really unwell most days, my joints ache and some are quite swollen, I get palpitations but not as constant as before, I get terrible sweats and hot flushes, I feel really weak and fatigued and I just want to sleep all the time and I'm losing my hair. I am so frustrated and annoyed because I have always looked after myself. Exercised frequently and watched what I eat. I don't smoke and have a drink now and again. Feeling a bit sorry for myself.

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debco1 said on 22 January 2013

AlexE said on 27 August 2012
hi i have just joined the forum and hope you have now been diagnosed of your problem if not i cant stress enough keep on to your doc go every week until they they listen and refer you to the hospital
my daughter had a lump in her throat at 26 and went to her doctors on occasions and was frequently told no i wont refer you it is nothing 2 yrs down the line after changing docs on my advice she had half her thyroid out when biopsey came back it was cancer then she found out she was pregnant so had to wait until the baby was born to have it removed dealt with much easier than it had
i hope any one who finds a lump in their throat constantly nags the doc but do your own reaserch as well

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wendyjp said on 01 September 2012

In response to Alex E, I had a lump at the front of my neck which turned out to be a lump and a cyst growing on my thyroid. I'd gone to the gp for something else and fortunately he spotted the lump and asked me if i'd ever had a test for thyroid problems. I had previously but they always came back normal. He said blood tests were useless and I should have a scan, which I did. The scan showed several small cysts on the left lobe of my thyroid and one large lump and cyst on my right lobe. I had to have half my thyroid removed which was a fairly straightforward op but it was noted that any of the other cysts could start to grow at some point in the future and I would need another op.

The specialists asked me several questions trying to work out when the cyst/lump had started growing and we worked out it was about 9 or 10 years before it was spotted, based on symptoms I had that I didnt know were symptoms!

The op was about 7 years ago and I've been well since, however about 18mths ago my symptoms have started up again. Ive had blood tests which came back normal (surprise!) and had another scan to see if one of the cysts had started growing but there was nothing noticeable. Im pretty sure one is growing but I may have to wait another 8 years or so before its visibly noticeable and the doc's will do something about it. In the meantime I have to put up with the symptoms, such as permanently tired, weak hair that breaks easily but grows very fast, weight loss (altho now stabilised), dry skin, rashes, and needing to use the loo a lot!

The tiredness is the biggest problem (for me anyway) but to get through the day I drink a couple of glasses of pepsi max - the caffeine hit I get from that is much better than from a coffee. But I never drink it after 7pm otherwise I turn into an insomniac! :D

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AlexE said on 27 August 2012

These comments are all old but I hope someone can reply. I am 18 years old and recently discovered I had a lump (about 6cm) in my neck at the front and it was swollen.
I went to my doctor's who said that it is probably a swollen thyroid gland, so did another doctor.
I had a blood test (normal one) and a nurse said my results were "okay" - not helpful. Should I request a "Thyroid blood test" as one or two of you mentioned that a normal blood test can't pick it up.
I'm also waiting for a scan on my neck, if my blood test was "okay" will I still get the scan?
I have one or two symptoms such as a lot of weight gain recently and infrequent periods.
I have no idea what is happening though, my doctor was very unhelpful. She said that I shouldn't worry about it but from reading your comments I clearly should be concerned about it.
Did any of you have any problems similar to me such as the lump or useless blood test, I'm very confused. A response would be great.

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loopylass1982 said on 21 June 2012

hi in response to tina25 i know its an old post but i fell pregnant with my youngest son who is now 3 and a half and i was tired all the way through my pregnancy and was really nervous about things just put it down to pregnancy but when i had my son he was really poorly at birth just slept all the time and had to be waken up for a feed. with his heel prick test it was confirmed he had an underactive thyroid! i was told to get tested just inacse and i was diagnosed with an overactive thyroid! the docs said if i was diagnosed through the pregnancy and got treated in time it cud have prevented my son from getting it through the womb :( after 3 months treatment i was no longer needing tablets but my son is now 3 and a half and still has an underactive thyroid :( treatment since 10 days old and i feel so guilty, im going back to the docs soon as my symptoms have come back even tho ive been re tested since and was normal but im just tired all the time. i just wanna say to anyone that doesent feel right speak to the docs cuz apparently it doesent get picked up on a normal blood test it has to be just a thyroid one x

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DinaDina said on 09 June 2012

Hello,i am 24 years of age. I am awaiting the blood test to verify that I have a overactive thyroid.I have all the symptoms especially the hair loss. 12 months ago, I used to have a very full thick head of hair,can anyone advise me from their own experience will my hair ever be the same again when I begin medication? Hope someone can share their story with me.Many Thanks, Dina.

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vintagekel said on 18 April 2012

hi i have just found out i have a overactive thyriod, after having two miscarriages, i was referred to a ssecialist, on which he has put me on carbimazole! i told him i would still like to try for another baby, but he said i cannot get pregnant on these tablets, and got too be on them for two years! he said the quickest way was to have my thyriods removed? on which i am worried about has my mum had two healthly thyroids removed and has had cancer twice and got lupas! has anyone got pregnant on carbimazole...

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tashe said on 09 April 2012

I am 22 and recently found out i have overactive thyroid. the symptoms were down to a T i lost a stone in a month although i was trying not to that extreme, i developed a bad case of the shakes after my 2nd child and it got so out of hand, then i was uncontrollably sweating & no amount if deodrant would help i even tried the expensive creams but they done nothing, i was and still am getn the most painful headaches and im on anti imflamitrys, anyway after a year my asthma came back so everything else on top of tht i decided it was abouttime i go to doctors and i had blood taken & within 2 days the surgery phoned me i had 2 go in straight away, i was put ont medication straight away & within a month saw a specialist, im now pn 40mg a day but i have developed severe itching everywhere but especially on the head & iv lost dozens of my hair, i just dont know what to do :(

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boopadoop said on 09 April 2012

when i sleep i sleep for like 10 to 12 hrs!! my partner worries alot.and my hair is really thin and i loose alot after showers and wen i comb my hair.sometimes i dnt want to comb my hair cus i dnt want to loose anymore.on top of my front area of my head is thin n u can see small areas of baldness.i was diagnosed alon time ago with a overactive thyroid and was takin meds like back in the late 90s but i didnt keep up.now i think i have to make an appt. i just hate havin high dr bills and hav to pay that b4 i see one .sad...so does anyone like me sleep n always tired and feel lazy but dnt want to put urself in that catagory?i see lornabewley 1987 has same feelings

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0710 said on 19 October 2011

I developed Hyperthyroidism throughout my 2nd pregnancy, lost 3 stone throughout the pregnancy (did have hypermeisis too!).
Didnt go on medication was just carefully monitored throughout still managed to produce a 8lb 13oz baby! :-)

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marmac said on 25 September 2011

Have many of the symptoms of overactive thyroid but blood tests come back normal. GP says no use seeing endrochrinologist as blood tests within normal range. Have heavy sweating, fatigue, aversion to warm temperatues, itching, 4 goitres and one protruding eyeball plus anxiety (any wonder!) Help!

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lornabewley1987 said on 16 August 2011

I want advise I've had a thyriod problem since I was a teenager but have never had the constant tiredness that I have now. It was never really explained to me that I would get days were I struggle to get out of bed as I'd wake up tired most of the time now.
I want to know how others deal with the tiredness and becoming emotional over nothing, as times that is the case for me. If that is the case for others why doesn't doctors tell you straight up.
How do you explain to others that live with you that your to tired to get the cleaning done or spend time doing normal things. I don't want to be thought as lazy when half or most of the time I'm tired.
Then on top of that wieght gain I've put 5 stone on without even trying.

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HayleyLouOxo said on 14 August 2011

I have had Overactive thyroids now for just over a year i'm the only one in the family with it and find it hard to talk to others especially my docters with my concern, so it does get to me that i feel wrapped up in my problems and it does get me down sometimes, Its hard as im always eating always loosing weight and take it out on friends but, they dont take it too heart and i try to tell as few people i.e. friends as possible to stop all questions ..really i just wanted a rant seeing as though its hard to talk about what i feel..

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patsypar2 said on 28 June 2011

hi,
Really need some advice, overactive thyriod runs in my family, and I think I have alot of the symptoms that comes with it but havent been diagnoised. i have have blood tests that have come back as boredline but got no way with my gp with follow ups. I am always tired, have itchy and dry skin, I have terrible hand tremors and shakes, twitching eyes, increased appetite and weigh gain, not sure what to do as I don't think i will get anyway with the gp, any advise wouold be appreciated.

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flump28 said on 17 May 2011

I know these posts are all quite old, but I have had thyroid problems (hyperthyroidism) and graves disease for around 10 years. It is nonsense about weight loss as I have steadily gained 4 stone over the last few years while suffering with this and never lost weight.
I have even had friends challenge me and almost accuse me of 'making up' the thyroid disease! Just because they believe it makes you lose weight!
Another symptom I have is extreme tiredness... yet another one that has been questioned.

I have found in the past general GPs don't know too much about it, but speak to any specialist consulatant and they will assure you that weight gain is normal too.

I am expecting my first baby in Oct and have continued to take medication all throughout my pregnancy. Baby is developing normally and all seems to be well, however I guess time will tell as there is a risk of some Birth defects when taking long term Carbimazole. Fingers crossed baby is ok and good luck to all you other thyroid sufferers! Xx

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Tina25really said on 17 September 2010

Thank you so much to Mrsraj who replied to me. I was so worried about seeing the specialist, and what he would say about me trying to pregnant. I feel a lot better now.

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mrsraj said on 12 September 2010

I was diagnosed with overactive thyroid and the following week found out I was pregnant. My GP was fantastic and I was referred to a Consultant Endocrinologist at a local teaching hospital and put on medication throughout the pregnancy. I was monitored monthly by both an Obstetrician and Endocrinologist at joint hospital visit. I was worried about a premature baby and low birth weight, especially as mine was breach. I needn't have worried - my baby was delivered by C-section nearly 3 weeks early but at a healthy 7lb 13oz - 7 oz more than my first child when I didn't have the overactive thyroid. My baby did have to stay in hospital for 4 days so they could be checked for their thyroid level and that was the only downside, but all was ok.

I was then on medication for the next 12/18 months until it became under control. I've been clear for 12 months but unfortunately it has now returned and I'm awaiting hospital referral again. This time I've had no weight loss which I had last time, drastically. I've not put on weight either but have all the other usual syptoms.

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Tina25really said on 10 September 2010

I have to agree with savcab. When I went to my doctor with all overactive symptoms except for putting on weight, he told me its a myth that all people lose weight when overactive. He then referred me to the hospital who agreed with him. Drugs for overactive thyroid can also put weight on. Your Doctor sounds way out of date with his research. Has anyone fell pregnant with an overactive thyroid and had a healthy baby? I have just got scared reading that it can affect a babys growth, or even potential miscarriage.

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savcab said on 22 August 2010

In response to Janlou65, weight gain is a symptom as I can speak from personal experience, unfortunately your Doctor is the one who is under informed, most people do associate an over active thyroid with weight loss but this is most definitely not the case which does make it very difficult to know which symptoms to associate with this condition. i found even being diagnosed with an overactive thyroid I suffered a mix of symptoms of both under and over. From my research this is not unusual, you can only go on how you feel.

I hope your symptoms ease.

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Janlou65 said on 20 August 2010

Information regarding weight confusing, I mentioned weight gain as a possible symptom to my doctor and he said I was wrong. Please ensure that your information is correct, because it made me feel really stupid, especially when I'd tried to research my current symptoms.

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