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Thyroid Disorders

Thyroid gland function is important in regulating growth and metabolism (how fast or slow your body processes energy) throughout life. The thyroid gland can be overactive (such as in Graves Disease), underactive (such as in Hashimoto’s Disease), or missing altogether (such as in congenital hypothyroidism).

Our team at Queensland Paediatric Endocrinology are experts in managing thyroid dysfunction, and with a referral from your GP we would be happy to arrange a review and the appropriate investigations and treatment to keep thyroid hormone levels in the optimal range for growth and development.

What are the symptoms of an underactive thyroid?

An underactive thyroid can make the whole body slow down.

Common symptoms include:

  • Feeling cold all the time

  • Dry skin

  • Dry hair

  • Constipation

  • Poor growth

  • Poor concentration

  • Lethargy and increased need to sleep

  • Delayed puberty

  • Weight gain

  • A lump or swelling in the middle of the neck (goitre)

At certain stages through childhood having insufficient thyroid hormone can have a significant and permanent effect on cognitive development.

What are the symptoms of an overactive thyroid?

The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are:

  • Rapid heart rate

  • Feeling hot and sweaty

  • Increased appetite

  • Weight loss, despite eating more

  • Diarrhoea or frequent bowel movements

  • Feeling anxious

  • Shaking hands or tremor

  • Difficulty sleeping

  • Difficulty sitting still

  • A lump or swelling in the middle of the neck (goitre)

  • Eyes appearing wide open or bulging

If there is too much thyroid hormone circulating, metabolic rate continues to speed up, causing the person to feel unwell with these symptoms.

What is congenital hypothyroidism?

Congenital hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone, and is present from birth. This may be due to:

  • Complete absence of the thyroid gland

  • A small residual thyroid gland located in the neck or at the back of the tongue (lingual thyroid)

    • These two conditions are due to an interruption in thyroid development in utero, and are not usually linked to any other developmental abnormalities

  • A change in the way the thyroid gland manufactures thyroid hormones, which means they don’t work well or at all - this is called dyshormonogenesis

  • An immature thyroid gland that may improve with time, and eventually resolve (Transient neonatal hypothyroidism)

  • Associated with other genetic changes that may form part of a syndrome, such as Pendred Syndrome


As congenital hypothyroidism is one of the most common preventable causes of intellectual disability worldwide, all children born in Australia are checked for congenital hypothyroidism as part of the Newborn Screening Program, and paediatricians and paediatric endocrinologists are experienced in investigating these results and ensuring appropriate treatment commences as soon as possible.

Our Team

Dr Andrew Cotterill

Paediatric Endocrinologist

Our Locations
Brisbane

Taylor Medical Centre

First Floor, Suite 10A

40 Annerley Rd

Wooloongabba Qld 4102

Toowoomba

Medici Medical Centre

15 Scott St

(Cnr Scott & Curzon St)

Level 1, Suite 105

Toowoomba, Qld 4350

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Have questions?

Check our FAQ section, and if you still have questions or concerns we suggest you take your child to visit their GP, who can refer to us if needed.