Can I have hypothyroidism with normal TSH?

Can I have Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH Lab Results?

Absolutely. Many patients report having hypothyroidism with normal TSH. It’s important to understand, TSH is actually a test of the pituitary gland, not the thyroid. 1 Even though many doctors have used TSH to measure thyroid function over the last 40 years, this does not mean it is accurate. Consequently, patients can have hypothyroidism with normal TSH. This was the case for me, and many others. As a result, I do not use TSH as the measure of thyroid function.

How Common is Undiagnosed Hypothyroidism?

In case you’re wondering just how common it is to have an undiagnosed thyroid condition here are some interesting statistics:

  • According to as many as 13 million Americans — or 10% of the population — have an undiagnosed or under-treated thyroid disorder due to the inaccuracy of the TSH test.   2
  • Another study says over 20 million (1 in 20) Americans have a thyroid disorder 3
  • Hypothyroidism affects women more than men.
  • 1 in 8 women will develop a thyroid disorder 4

You’ve probably seen friends who are hypothyroid and didn’t realize it. They are the ones who are tired all the time. They can’t lose weight no matter what they do. Perhaps you’ve heard them complain about being cold, especially cold hands and feet. Their face and neck may look puffy. When yu talk with them, they may seem foggy, slow or disconnected. If you know someone who fits this description, they might have undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Give your friend lots of love and compassion. Tell them there is help. If that friend sounds like you, be kind to yourself and know there is hope for getting treatment. First they must understand that even if their doctor told them they were fine, they can still have hypothyroidism with normal TSH.

Why is the TSH test unreliable?

For myself and many others, the TSH test was not reliable. Consequently, I was not treated properly for hypothyroidism and lived a miserable existence. Read my story. Before relying on the TSH test, consider the following:

  • Dr. Utiger, the creator of the TSH test said that body temperature is a better test of thyroid function than TSH.  5
  • During the day TSH levels can vary as much as 200%
  • Normal ranges of TSH are disputed
  • During pregnancy a woman’s pituitary gland can be damaged, a condition known as Sheehan’s Syndrome. When this damage happens the result is that the TSH looks normal even though the patient has hypothyroidism.
  • TSH measures hormone levels in the blood, rather than tissue levels 6
  • Some patients cannot convert inactive T4 to active T3. TSH does not measure this conversion issue. 7
  • TSH does not measure cellular receptor hormone resistance. 8
  • Adrenal fatigue is not measure by TSH. 9
  • Paradoxically, a low TSH may occur with a low thyroid function. 10

I have sadly come across very few doctors who can accept the fact that a normal or low TSH may still occur with a low thyroid… as a result of the (TSH) test, thousands are denied treatment.
– Barry Durrant Peatfield


What is the Consequences of Inaccurate TSH?

People are misdiagnosed for hypothyroidism based on what doctor’s believe to be normal TSH result. Consequently these patients go untreated, continuing to experience a myriad of life hindering hypothyroid symptoms. Patients like myself feel emotionally hopeless because we know something is wrong, yet we cannot get proper treatment. Some patients are told by doctors “it’s all in your head” and “you just need therapy” when in fact hypothyroidism with a normal TSH is real and treatable. Your health matters, you don’t have to suffer with symptoms of hypothyroidism.

How Can I Get Treatment for Hypothyroidism with Normal TSH?

If you have symptoms of hypothyroidism but your doctor says your TSH is fine, have hope! You could still have hypothyroidism with a normal TSH.

First, I would ask my doctor to run a wider range of thyroid tests including:

Next I would ask my doctor to treat me based on hypothyroid symptoms and body temperature. It’s important to note, if a doctor will not run these tests or won’t acknowledge symptoms, I would find another doctor immediately. I would not waste any emotions trying to educate a doctor who has a different viewpoint.

Why is Body Temperature Important for Hypothyroidism?

In addition to the above lab tests, body temperature has long been a helpful measure of thyroid function. According to Dr. Broda Barnes (1), measuring basal body temperature was the most accurate testing method. Dr. Barnes explains that a temperature below 97.8 indicates Hypothyroidism, a temperature above 98.6 indicates hyperthyroidism. In addition, body temperature test can be used to monitor the treatment of hypothyroidism. As low temperatures rise up to 98.2, hypothyroid symptoms will disappear.

According to Dr. Barnes, more information can often be brought to the physician with an ordinary thermometer than with all other thyroid test combined. Read more about how to measure and track body temperature. In my experience, tracking body temperature is essential for understanding thyroid health and medicine. Learn more about body temperature and what it can mean.

With all this information, its easy to see how patients can have hypothyroidism with normal TSH, and how to find treatment.

Miss LizzyCan I have hypothyroidism with normal TSH?

3 comments

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  • Eliz Sly - August 18, 2015

    Hi!My name is Liz, too! 😛 So I’ve been following your blog for a bit now and I’ve been battling my thyroid issues for about two and a half years. Sadly, I lost my healthcare when I got laid off, but I’ve been trying to treat my overactive thyroid naturally for the past six months because I since therefore can’t afford the expensive meds. I recently went to my General Practitioner, and he told me I still needed to take medication, but that the things I was doing (like cooking for it!) were helping some My question is,I’m need to buy generic Synthroid online to cut the crazy costs of getting it at a regular pharmacy (yes, i know, it’s a bit risky) but I’m also concerned that if I buy generic Synthroid, that it won’t be as qualiy..I dont know the difference in generics when it comes to medications.. Can I have your insight on this? I don’t want to waste my money if it won’t work. 🙁 Thanks :)-Liz also:)
    Oh..here’s what I’m trying to buy: http://canadapharmacyrx.com/generic-synthroid.html

  • Evolve Boldly - August 20, 2015

    As you say, YES! My antibodies are over 800, but my primary doctor just sat and sat and sat, redoing the blood tests, etc. saying my thryoid was “normal.” Well dude, not exactly! I had lost a lot of weight (and I do mean the very hard way). It took me 3 years of super huge effort to lost that 100 lbs and it’s a miracle that I did given that the entire time (or surely most of it) I had chronic thyroiditis. I thought the freezing of my nose, feet and hands was about the weight loss… but after more than 2 years of that happening, I knew it must be more. Thankfully I recently found a great endo who diagnosed me (in about 1 second) and I started Synthroid 2 weeks ago (and just went up on the dose today). Thanks for all your info. My story is at http://evolveboldly.com/how-i-lost-100-lb/ (no ads, just my story) if you’d like to see it. During my journey I must have read 100’s, but I still love it after a year of being at “goal.”

  • Tabitha Lumbee Duarte - October 7, 2016

    hey lizz, i feel like im suffering from hypothyroidism. i had test done, but of course my doc said everything looks normal. for awhile ive been STRUGGLING to lose weight (even though i go to the gym) im freezing even though the degrees are at 76 to 78F i wake up feeling like i didnt sleep a wink. for most of my life ive dealt with depression and anxiety. here lately things have taken a turn for the worse though.. my hair seems to be falling out and is thin my nails are thin and brittle and peeling. ive become more and more forgetful. i could be talking about a subject then my mind fogs and i forget what i was talking about. i feel pretty helpless right now. the thing that scares me more than anything is losing all of my hair. my doc is sending me to a dermatologist, but i dont know if they will be able to help me…

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