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TSH levels a bit high..any advice on natural ways to reduce them?

(16 Posts)
hattyyellow Mon 14-Apr-08 10:30:24

Would welcome any help. Have just picked up results of ttcing blood tests and they are all okay except my TSH levels are 4.1 which apparently is "a bit high but not a big problem".

Dying to find out more information but can't find a scale of what normal is (apart from some info in the archives that anything more than 2 is bad).

Is 4.1 meaning I have overactive or underactive thyroid - have confused myself googling and I'm at work so I can't get away with any more!

And is there anything I can do naturally to help reduce the TSH levels? Will the raised TSH levels be preventing me conceiving?

(Apologies for crossposting -wasn't sure where best to put the message)

High TSH means underactive thyroid - TSH is thyroid stimulating hormone, it's produced by the pituitary I think, and it's job is to get your thyroid going. Thyroid is underactive = pituitary produces MORE TSH to try to get it working.

A genuinely underactive thyroid (and yours may or may not be, it's impossible to tell from that sort of TSH figure alone) can prevent conception, it can also cause problems if you do get pregnant.

Can't help with the natural remedies - my TSH was 128 when I was diagnosed so a bit beyond the scope of anything natural! Although having said that, treatment isn't exactly 'unnatural', it's just replacing what the body should be producing anyway.

hattyyellow Mon 14-Apr-08 10:49:46

THank you so much, that's really useful. Were you prescribed thyroxine? And does it have any side effects? Was thinking of making appt with doc and seeing if they would prescribe it to me..

HonoriaGlossop Mon 14-Apr-08 11:04:27

The NHS classes a TSH of 5 or under as normal I believe. However I think the latest research is showing that TSH should be around 1 or 2. TBH it's not an exact science, thyroid doesn't have that much money thrown at it for research I don't think, and different people need different levels, so one person may feel fine on a level of 5 and another may feel awful.

If you have underactive thyroid I don't think herbal/natural stuff comes into it really; you just need thyroxine back in your body. As far as I know there are no side effects; it's not like many drugs, it is simply replacing in your body what your own body doesn't make enough of

Perhaps you could go to the dr and get them to talk it through with you in light of your TTC. They would most likely prescribe thyroxine if you have some symptoms of being uneractive; how are you in general?

hattyyellow Mon 14-Apr-08 11:30:40

Thanks HG, it's so confusing isn't it the way you get the "official" advice and then you start illicit googling and get a whole raft of views as to what levels are normal.

Looking at the typical symptoms I suppose it could make sense to have an underactive thyroid. I've had scaly dry skin on my hands for the first time this winter, really red and sore.

Around the time I stopped breastfeeding my twins about 2 years ago and obviously had a massive drop in hormones 6 months after the birth, my skin broke out. It's been a nightmare ever since - finding the right moisturiser is hard as I tend to have a crop of spots, some redness and lots of dryness!

I'm tired every morning even after lots of sleep and tired every evening - but I had put that down to having two very active little girls and working part time - you expect to be tired!

I do feel the cold, I hate it - but my husband is cold a a lot as well as our house is old and draughty..And I do get quite flat and down, I have to push myself to go out and do stuff a lot - but I guess lots of people do during winter, I don't think I'm particulary depressed.

I don't like the thought of taking a drug on a regular basis but I do wonder whether my energy levels would be higher taking it. I wondered whether the skin etc was due to PCOS so have been following a low GI diet and exercising more recently and that's helped my skin hugely..

I'm not overweight (bmi 21) but do need to watch what I eat otherwise I do gain weight quickly.

Sorry bit of an essay there! It's a good plan to go to the doctors, I have to go in for a day 3 blood test with her later this week so I'll raise it then..

HonoriaGlossop Mon 14-Apr-08 11:54:41

I think don't think of it as 'taking a drug' - I believe thyroxine is identical to what your body makes. It's a hormone rather than a drug iykwim.

What you're describing sound like classic thyroid symptoms; and I really sympathise, my skin is exactly the same; a bizarre mix of really dry but with teenage style breakouts! Of course as you say your tiredness etc could just be from the kids etc; I put mine down to that for 2 years after ds was born but mine was infact underactive; definitely talk to the dr! Good luck.

Thyroxine is the synethetic stuff, but yes, it replaces what your body should be producing. The natural stuff (Armour in the US) is dessicated pig thyroid - ew, but meant to be better. But then, those Americans, they're terribly fussy.

The only side effects with thyroxine are if your dose is too high for you, which will make you hypERthyroid instead of hyPO - lots of energy on the plus side, but heart palpitations and other bad stuff on the negative side.

I find hypothyroidism a real grab-bag of symptoms, some you get, some you don't - I really had the lack of energy and tendency to depression, constipation (TMI), but not others like lack of sweating (unfortunately), and I don't think my weight gain has ever been unusual (for someone who likes cake a LOT, and drinks cider by the pint).

My energy levels are difficult to assess on thyroxine - I don't think I have dramatically more energy, but then I think if I wasn't on it, I wouldn't be able to cope with my life (part-time job and study, small child) - ie, I DO have more energy, but my life saps it more than it used to!

Oh, and if you do get diagnosed, you have free prescriptions for ever, for everything, not just your thyroxine, yay! (this was my GP - 'the bad news, there is something wrong, the good news, it's easily treated and you get free prescriptions!')

HonoriaGlossop Mon 14-Apr-08 12:19:58

eww pig thyroid

<thud>

Pass me the synthetic stuff grin

I agree with energy levels being difficult to 'call' - I find that it's not so much that I was unable-to-get-out-of-bed exhausted (not that you have that luxury as a parent anyway) but it was more a muzzy head; I didn't feel 'on top of my game' and I actually left a job as I felt I was crap at it, whereas really I just wasn't functioning mentally as I should. Also I functioned physically in the day, though everything felt like a mountain to climb, but come the evening I just could not move.

Thyroxine has really helped with all this though I NEVER feel that I have 'spare' capacity where energy is concerned sad

hattyyellow Mon 14-Apr-08 12:30:30

This is so helpful - thank you all so much. Will talk to my doctor about thyroxine and see if I can get a prescription..I've googled a bit and can't find many side effects listed which must be a bonus as well...

TheBlonde Tue 15-Apr-08 19:00:42

US guidelines are now TSH should be under 3

Raised TSH ie not enough thyroxine can cause miscarriage and (I assume) stop conception for some people

I aim for a TSH around 1 personally to feel better

hattyyellow Wed 16-Apr-08 08:15:03

Thanks Blonde that's really helpful - I will definitely have a chat with my doctor and hope that she doesn't stick rigidly to the "below 5 it's fine" school of thought...

sathyadev986 Fri 29-Aug-14 16:12:35

Hi all, Am sathya. Need help my wife took a blood and found that she has high TSH(11.44) and T3 and T4 are normal. we are in TTC for past few months. Just wanted to know whether its curable, if so how long it takes? does it affect fertility? My wife is really worried about this, pls help us. Thanks in advance

Corabell Fri 29-Aug-14 16:22:30

Thyroid uk are a good source of information.

Perhaps ask your gp to repeat your tsh blood tests and ask for you t4 results too and check if you have any evidence of antibodies which may indicate auto immune thyroid disease.

My tsh was similar to yours in 2009. I was just left to get on with it and ever so slowly got sicker and sicker. At the end of last year I was fat, bloated, balding mess and felt like I was slipping away from life. I had severe depression, agonising pain and a tsh of over 100.

Elevated tsh can cause infertility, miscarriage or if the pregnancy progresses hypothyroidism can cause problems for the baby in later life, according to some studies.

Thyroid uk is excellent and you can find out much more about how to push doctors for a diagnosis.

Corabell Fri 29-Aug-14 16:23:51

Also don't be fobbed off with being told your tsh/t3/t4 is "normal". Normal doesn't always mean optimal and you need to be optimal!

sathyadev986 Fri 29-Aug-14 17:06:59

Thanks corabell, will c to it

RockinD Fri 29-Aug-14 18:15:59

The whole thyroid thing is a complete nightmare, with the UK out of step with every other developed country - there's loads of stuff on the internet and yes, another vote for the Thyroid UK website and forum - completely non woo and v knowledgeable and supportive.

There is no such thing as a 'normal' TSH. What matters is what is optimal for you. Research has shown that across the piece the average TSH in unmedicated people is something like 0.8, but you can't use that as a gold standard, partly because TSH is a pituitary hormone and what actually matters is your thyroid hormones. I don't suppose they have tested your FT4 and FT3, or your thyroid antibodies, have they?

I would venture that 4.1 is more of a problem than your doctors seem to be saying. If you look at the NICE Guidelines, they seem to say a TSH of under 2 is required to conceive or maintain a pregnancy.

cks.nice.org.uk/hypothyroidism#!topicsummary

In your position, if you are TTC, I would be doing a lot of reading over the next few days, and then asking for a full thyroid panel to find out exactly what is going on and asking some questions about why people who have a diagnosis of hypothyroidism should have a TSH of under 2 and people who do not have a diagnosis just get fobbed off.

There are OTC products on the market that will reduce your TSH and increase your thyroid hormones, but you would have to decide whether you want to try and fix this yourself or whether you want to be properly diagnosed and supported by the NHS.

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