Nearly three quarters (71%) of those surveyed believe the health condition has negatively affected their sexual function.
Commissioned by at-home healthcare testing provider Medichecks, 70% of participants – both male and female – said they had experienced low libido, with 44% of male respondents highlighting erectile dysfunction as an issue.
Reduced sexual satisfaction (26%) and difficulty reaching orgasm (21%) were some of the other symptoms cited.
And it’s not just about sex – 88% experienced mental health problems as a result of their condition, including low mood, (76%), an inability to think clearly or concentrate (71%), lack of motivation (70%), feeling misunderstood (55%) and insomnia (52%).
It’s estimated that as many as one in 20 people may have a thyroid condition and whilst targeted treatment can help alleviate many of the symptoms, delays in diagnosis – 32% of those surveyed said they had waited over a year between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis – can leave many people struggling for months, even years, with debilitating health problems.
Dr Natasha Fernando, a GP and head of clinical excellence at Medichecks, explains: “Thyroid disorders are notoriously difficult to recognise because so many of the symptoms, like extreme fatigue, weight gain, muscle aches, depression, and slow movement and thoughts, can also be linked to so many other conditions.
“The road to securing a diagnosis isn’t straightforward – and some people can be very reticent about talking about some of their symptoms, especially if they involve their sex lives and mental health. They might simply link a low libido, for example, to feeling tired or stressed at work and just try to struggle on.
“But if someone’s sex drive has dropped significantly, or they are experiencing erectile dysfunction, they should not suffer in silence. Always mention it to your GP.”
Alongside a loss of libido and other sex-related issues, according to the NHS here’s what you should be looking out for when it comes to the symptoms of a thyroid condition.
Symptoms of an underactive thyroid:
- being sensitive to cold
- weight gain
- slow movements and thoughts
- muscle aches and weakness
- muscle cramps
- dry and scaly skin
- brittle hair and nails
- loss of libido (sex drive)
- pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the hand and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- irregular periods or heavy periods
Symptoms of an overactive thyroid:
- nervousness, anxiety and irritability
- hyperactivity – you may find it hard to stay still and have a lot of nervous energy
- mood swings
- difficulty sleeping
- feeling tired all the time
- sensitivity to heat
- muscle weakness
- needing to pee more often than usual
- persistent thirst
- loss of interest in sex