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First-aid Answers: Underactive thyroid

Q: I’ve been feeling sluggish lately, I put on a few pounds and my voice gets hoarse. My doctor wants me to have a thyroid function test. What could be the problem?

A: Your doctor may suspect you have an underactive thyroid, a condition called hypothyroidism. Your thyroid releases hormones that regulate metabolism. When it doesn’t release enough, you may experience fatigue, weight gain, pale and dry skin, heavy menstrual periods, depression, muscle aches, constipation and more. If your test shows low thyroid function, your doctor may prescribe synthetic thyroid hormone and check your hormone levels periodically. You may begin to feel better soon after starting treatment.