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help with thyroid test results

(22 Posts)
bessie26 Thu 22-Jul-10 19:57:43

I had some blood tests at the Drs last cycle & got told my thyroid results were a bit on the low side (although not low enough to warrant treatment) and I would need to have them repeated in 3 months time.

The only numbers I wrote down were
* FSH 6.61 (normal range 0.25-5.0)
* free T4 11.5 (normal range 9-23)

Does anyone understand what the numbers mean? Or know a good web page which explains it? (I had a quick google, but have just confused myself more blush)

tyler80 Thu 22-Jul-10 20:11:45

I would imagine that FSH should actually be TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)

TSH (as it's name suggests) stimulates your thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone (T4). The fact that this result is high shows that your body is trying to get the thyroid to increase production of thyroid hormone, but your T4 is still very low so it doesn't seem like it's working too well.

Personally I would have quite a lot of symptoms with levels like that, and I've been told that TSH should be below 2 if you are trying to conceive (although I'm not sure if this is only in people who have hypothyroidism). If you have symptoms as well as these results, and I'm guessing you had some otherwise you wouldn't have been having blood tests, then I would strongly advise you to go back to the doctor or try and see another and ask for a trial period of thyroxine (synthetic thyroid hormone)at low dose.

Whilst your T4 is within range, your body is still asking for more thyroid hormone hence the high TSH.

bessie26 Thu 22-Jul-10 20:47:49

blush yes, I meant to type TSH.

Many thanks for your explanation - I understand a bit better now smile

I do have a few symptoms of a low thyroid (tiredness, low libido, coldness, lowish body temps), but the reason for the blood tests was that I'm having problems getting/staying pg & the Dr needed these results to try & get me referred for further investigations.

If thyroxine is a hormone replacement, I guess that means it's not actually fixing the underlying problem and it's the kind of thing you could end up taking for ever?

Do you know if ss it possible to find out why my body might not be producing the thyroid hormone my TSH is asking for? While I'm keen to get my hormone levels sorted out (in the hope that it helps with TTC), I don't really like the idea of having to pop a pill for ever...

tyler80 Thu 22-Jul-10 20:55:56

Do you know if they tested you for antibodies?

In my case, it's basically autoimmune, so my body is attacking the thyroid gland which means it doesn't work so well. I'm not sure what other causes there are but from what I've read the treatment is always replacement hormone therapy. I've not heard of alternatives for hypothyroidism.

Whilst not being an expert, I'm pretty sure that your levels could be a problem in terms of staying pregnant. Early pregnancy places extra demands on the thyroid which leads to problems if the body can't meet these.

Taking a pill a day isn't all that bad, I wouldn't let that hold you back from pushing for treatment and it does mean you get free prescriptions. Also it's not like taking a drug for the rest of your life, you're simply taking the hormone your body isn't making, so no side effects or problems with long term use.

bessie26 Thu 22-Jul-10 21:18:55

no idea about testing for antibodies - I took a photo of the form they sent off & it says:

FSH/LH (it really does look like FSH not TSH)
and something which looks like it could be Oestradiol (v.bad handwriting!)

my (nice) Dr is on holiday atm, so I'll make an appt for when she's back & push to get something sorted out.

Thanks again!

tyler80 Thu 22-Jul-10 22:01:43

If they wrote fsh/lh then I guess that would be follicle stimulating hormone and luteinising hormone not thyroid at all. I don't know much about those tests I'm afraid. But normally when testing thyroid function they'd test for t4 and tsh.

cluckychook Fri 23-Jul-10 13:44:49

Tyler80 would you mind letting me know who told you that TSH should be below 2 if you are TTC. I have hyperthyroidism and I'm sure it is right that TSH should be between 1-2 for TTC, but have only read this on various thyroid websites. None of the doctors I have asked about this have any knowledge of the optimal TSH level for TTC.

My GP has been keeping my TSH around 4 which could well be why I haven't conceived for the last 2 years Grrrr. Now he has agreed to keep it between 1-2 which I am hoping will make a difference.

tyler80 Fri 23-Jul-10 17:16:46

NHS guidance

cluckychuck Above link refers to the below 2 TSH value in the Hypothyroidism and pregnancy bit

bessie26 Fri 23-Jul-10 19:59:49

well now I'm all confused again. It definitely says FSH/LH on the form. But I defn have some "thyroid" results & the nurse I saw the other day who wrote down the results for me wrote "Thyroid Stimulating Hormone"...

perhaps the thing that looks like it might be Oestradiol isn't? (I only guessed it was that as someone else who was having "fertility" tests had it done!)

Thanks for the NHS guidance link - i'll be printing that out & taking it with me when I go see the Dr!

cluckychook Sat 24-Jul-10 04:31:13

Thanks for the link tyler - that's very helpful.

Bessie it sounds like you need to ask the Dr to explain the results.

LadyGoneGaga Sat 24-Jul-10 07:51:01

Just to chuck in my two-pence a TSH of 4 I would feel quite ill. So worth sorting out from a feeling ok point of view even without thinking about the ttc. And it's really not an issue taking a pill every day.

But I agree you need to ask the Dcotor to explain.

bessie26 Sat 24-Jul-10 14:33:02

TBH I have been feeling pretty crappy all year, very tired & I've been picking up lots of colds & bugs which is unusual for me (although DD did start nursery in Sept & has been bringing plenty of bugs home with her!). I think I started feeling worse in Jan, I got a flu-type thing & had a fever for about 5 days where I needed to nap everyday & I've felt like I could nap everyday since!

LadyGoneGaga Sat 24-Jul-10 16:41:54

By the way the new clinical guidelines are that tehe normal TSH range is 0-3 - so at 4 you should be treated. Some GP's a bit old fashioned here though and go with the old 5 guideline. Loads of info on t'interweb about this.

I was off work for about 3 months and the had two years of feeling like I was going mad before they would finally treat me. Then it was like a light coming on - Bam, felt normal again.

trumpton Sat 24-Jul-10 16:55:49

LGG quite agree with new guide lines. DH been on thyroxine for years but never felt brilliant and recently I had a battle with GP who agreed to try an increase to 125mg throxine to bring TSH down from 4.1 . TSH now 0.43 and my DH is back instead of bad tempered overweight dormouse. Needed research and a willingness to provide letter saying DH was willing to accept side effects ( if any0 None appeared.

MoulinRouge Sat 24-Jul-10 17:11:09

I'm confused about the new guidelines for TSH - I've recently been tested and my TSH came back at 4.77 which my GP said was borderline and I have to go back for a repeat test at the end of August. She says that it has to be 10 before they will treat me.

Havingkittens Sat 24-Jul-10 17:21:18

Bessie, I've just had my second set of blood tests taken at the recurrent miscarriage clinic and they were for exactly what you are saying. Sometime between day 3-5 of your cycle they take FSH/LH as well as the Thyroid test. FSH is the follicle stimulating hormone, as has been mentioned by Tyler80. As far as I understand from my consultant this is to get an idea of your fertility and egg reserves. The other number (T4) seems to relate to the thyroid and it looks like your number falls within the desired range, albeit at the very lowest end of the scale.

I would wait for your doctor to come back before trying to second guess what the results mean. It looks like there's not really much to worry about, but we are not trained to understand this information and they are. It's too easy to get all tied up in knots trying to work out what it all means! Easier said than done, I know all too well.

DaftApeth Sat 24-Jul-10 17:42:03

When I saw the GP recently to discuss recent blood tests, she said that TSH is in fact a much more acurate measure of thyroid function than T4 alone.

I have recently been put on Thyroxin and have no qualms about taking a pill a day for the rest of my life, if need be.

A few weeks in, I think the brain fog is begining to lift and I seem to have lost a little weight, even though I have just returned from a holiday involving lots of food and wine!

Whats not to like! smile

bessie26 Mon 26-Jul-10 22:01:36

Many thanks for all your responses.

I'm feeling alot more positive now about the thought of possibly taking a pill forever & have made an appointment to see my nice Dr as soon as she comes back from her hols armed with the NHS guidance!

TigerseyeMum Tue 27-Jul-10 14:49:31

My GP surgery doesn't give results on T3 or T4, only TSH (mine was 0.6 at the last test in February so I hope that means I'm OK.

It has taken me years to stabilise though and I now feel 'normal'. My GP didn't mention thyroid being increased or even being a factor when I told him I was ttc. He was writing a prescription for it at the time!

Perhaps GPs just don't know much about thyroid treatment (or pregnancy for that matter!) wink

LaurenLaverne Wed 28-Jul-10 04:35:49

Hi Bessie,
Just clear up one of your questions, the TFT on your form stands for Thyroid Function Tests, ie TSH and T4, I work in a lab so am familiar with the acronyms!

bessie26 Thu 26-Aug-10 21:57:02

Just thought I'd post an update on this!

I went to see my nice GP & she said I needed to have another blood test before she gave me any drugs (just in case of error in the first set) and that you have to wait 3 months between the tests <sigh>. She was very interested in the NHS Guidance that Tyler posted & says she'll do some more research into it.

While I'd been waiting to see my nice GP, my acupuncturist had told me about a kinesiologist (sp?) she knew of who had apparently cured people's thyroid problems, so I thought I may as well give that a go...

So she did her stuff (apparently it wasn't that I wasn't making enough, it was that my body wasn't using it efficiently enough) and I went home totally unconvinced. But a few days later I realised I wasn't feeling quite so exhausted & now (2 weeks later) I really do definately feel like I have much more energy! grin

So.. either the wierd treatment worked, or my pregnancy (am now 6 weeks) is making me feel like I have much more energy! - TBH I'm not sure which one is most unbelievable!

cass123 Sat 04-Jun-11 13:42:56

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

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