What is Hypothyroidism?

Within the human body, there is an endocrine gland located just below the throat. This gland is known as the thyroid. The thyroid produces hormones, notably triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which work to regulate growth within the body. The primary effect of T3 and T4 is metabolism and the body produces thyroid-stimulating hormones that prompt the thyroid to produce the right amount. The thyroid has other influences too, such as body temperature and body development. The hormones produced are fundamental for a healthy body at any age; however, they are crucial during childhood.

T4 and T3 are produced using iodine taken mostly from food consumed through a person’s diet. They are the only compounds within the body that rely on iodine in this way. T4 is produced in far greater amounts than T3 within the gland. However, once T4 has been transported to the organs and cells of the body, it is converted to T3. If the body produces too much of the hormone or too little, the imbalance causes a disorder.

In the presence of too much T4 and T3, the body suffers from hyperthyroidism. The over activity of the thyroid leads to symptoms related to increased metabolism, notably weight loss. Alternatively, with an underactive thyroid, the body struggles with too little, leading to decreased metabolism among other issues. This is known as hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism are depression, fatigue, weight gain, increased sensitivity to cold, and, in women, irregular menstrual cycles and heavier periods. Recognising these symptoms often proves challenging since they can be vague. If you are concerned that you may be struggling with hypothyroidism then you must arrange a consultation with a doctor. Only through a professionally administered blood examination can the disorder be accurately identified.

The treatment for hypothyroidism involves supplementing or replacing the hormones. Popular medicines, such as Cytomel Tabs (liothyronine or T3), are most often prescribed. They are synthetic alternatives to the hormones naturally created within the body.  When discussing your prescription with your doctors, you should be aware of the distinction between T4 and T3. Since T4 gets converted to T3 at a later stage, a T4 replacement is usually prescribed over T3. However, hypothyroidism can sometimes be the result of a failing conversion process. In this instance, despite the right amount of T4 being produced, it fails to become T3, resulting in the same symptoms of hypothyroidism.

Recently, certain countries have struggled with sharp price increases for T3. The NHS, in particular, has faced price hikes that lead many doctors unable to prescribe it. In these cases, T4 will likely be prescribed instead. However, for those who struggle to convert T4 within their body, this is useless. It is now common for online pharmacies to receive more orders for Cytomel and T3 replacements to help the people who cannot source the medicine through their local pharmacy. This rising popularity of online medicine vendors is set to continue as other medicines fall into the same situation.