thyroid examination

was diagnosed with an under active thyroid in march but only recently found out i have hashimotos. non of the doctors ive seen in this time (at least 10 including a student) have examined me in the thyroid area. a doctor i saw in A and E said he coundnt see any lumps but he was standing a foot away from me at the time. is it necessary for this to be done or is it normally done when symptoms appear such as having difficulty swallowing?

8 Replies

  • I wonder sometimes, if they know where the thyroid gland is located at all :)

    It is all done nowadays with blood tests alone (very few will palpate your neck). You are lucky if the TSH falls within a certain number. To have a diagnosis of Hashimotos it is clarified if you have antibodies and you should be given levothyroxine to try to halt the attack on your thyroid gland.

    I hope they have prescribed for you. Always get a copy of your blood test results for the thyroid gland with the ranges, for your own records and so you can post if you have a query. If GP hasn't already done so, ask for Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate.

    When you next have a blood test have it as early as possible as TSH is highest then and may prevent the doctor trying to reduce meds (not the correct thing to do). Do NOT take levothyroxine before the test take it afterwards as it can skew the results. If you take vitamin C when you take levothyroxine, it has been found helpful. You take levo with a glass of water first thing and don't eat for around 1 hour. Any other medications/supplements should be taken 4 hours apart from levo.

    I have read that the following book has been helpful.

  • thanks for the reply shaws my last gp only did tsh and t4 then when things reached normal level she took me off levo. i went to see another gp at the same practice who said i was imaging things so he refered me to mental health. the person there said she couldnt help so everyone was passing the buck. to cut a long story short i registered at another practice where a doctor offered to do the antibodies test which came back with a very high reading so she put me back on levo (at this point i hadnt had any for over 10 weeks which is why i was rushed to A and E after having some kind of panic attack a result from all the stress. the doctor in A and E said he couldnt find my blood results when they were in endocrine all the time. endocrine couldnt do a lot without a

    docs referal (i am a nurse at the same hospital so ended up going off sick again due to the stress.i felt that no one listened to me during this time. i even wondered if when the gp refused me any more levo instead off maybe weaning me off them had caused the panic attack. what do you think shaw?

  • I am not medically qualified but to give you levothyroxine and then remove it from you was a big mistake, I believe.

    You have now found out by now that the knowledge of the function of the thyroid gland is sadly missing in people whom we would have thought would know best. You cannot always trust or rely on doctors to make us well so we have to educate ourselves

    Panic, anxiety/panic sensations are quite normal until we are on optimum medication or when our thyroid gland is out of whack. Our hormones control what happens in our bodies, so if any are out we cannot function as normal.

    The main thyroid hormones are T4 and T3. T3 is the active one which has to get into all our receptor cells for us to function normally. The brain contains the most so that's why some are diagnosed with a mental health condition if your TSH is in the 'normal' range.

    If you email for a copy of the Pulse Article by Dr Toft of the BTA. In it you will see his response to the treatment of antibodies. Louise will send it to you when she is back into the office.

    When doctors go only by the TSH result, quite a few people are misdiagnosed with anything other than a thyroid hormone deficiency and these are now on their medical records.

    With hashimotos, (I am hypo so don't know exactly) you will swing between hyper at times until eventually you become hypo.

    You should be on levothyroxine and you can take a copy of the Pulse article to your GP for a prescription.

    Take levo first thing with a glass of water. Vitamin C at the same time can help convert levo. Don't eat for around 1 hour as some things interfere with the uptake.

    When you have a blood test for thyroid gland, do not take levo until after the test and have test as early as possible. Always get a copy from now on for your own records and so you can post if you have a query. There is info on and you will find helpful topics on the left hand column. Also ask for a Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate. All should be at a good level.

  • coundnt agree more shaws gp was convinced thyroid had healed when it clearly hadnt as by the time i had the next blood test tsh had gone up again outside the range. i am nearly 60 years old so think this would have been unlikely at my age. a pharmacist i spoke to said hed been in the job for over 30 years yet had never heard of anyone coming off it before. (luckily i had held onto the medical excemption card as wasnt sure if i could still use it when i wasnt taking levo and no-one seemed to know). as for doctors not having enough knowledge a few weeks ago i sat in the hospital cafe next to three middle age doctors they spoke about heart transplants and liver diseases etc yet when i asked if any of them knew about thyroids all of them admitted they knew nothing about the subject. i know its only a small organ yet it still plays a big part in our systems.

  • What if the heart complaint/disease is caused by low thyroid hormones when someone's TSH doesn't meet the criteria for a diagnosis of hypothyroidism? What if we get cancer through the same process, or diabetes?

    What about all the clinical symptoms we get if undiagnosed or undertreated? Instead of thyroid hormones we get medication to treat the symptoms and not what we really require.

    Those doctors would soon know about their thyroid gland and problems if they developed hypothyroidism/hyperthyroidism and wont they be amazingly surprised that the hormones which run our metabolism makes them incapable of doing their jobs competently, i.e. pain which means they cannot hold their instruments or stand for long periods or the fatigue which overcomes one but are prescribed anti-depressants. If someone never gives them a blood test test for their thyroid hormones because it never even entered the head of the medical person.

    We could go on.

  • Thyroids very rarely 'heal'. They just continue to deteriorate for whatever reason. (Unless the problem is iodine deficiency. Did you get a test for iodine? I doubt it.) Thyroid hormone replacement is not a 'cure'. It is just replacing the hormones that your body can no-longer make naturally, so that you can stay alive.

    Anyway, you have Hashi's, which is a whole nother problem! The antibodies are destroying your gland. The only hope is to slow them down. For some people, going gluten free helps - it didn't help me, but I think it was probably too late. Another thing to try is taking doses of thyroid hormone replacement high enough to suppress your TSH, which calms the antibodies down - no gland activity = no antibody attacks - and whilst this doesn't 'heal' the thyroid, it does mean you have some gland left in case they ever find a cure for Hashi's - or in case at some point, for whatever reason, you don't have access to thyroid hormone replacement for a short time - like going on Holiday and forgetting your tablets, etc - and the gland has to take up the slack.

    The ignorance about all things thyroid amongst the medical profession is... breath-taking! I have sat in front of some so-called 'specialist' and the utter rubbish that has come out of their mouths has left me speechless (and that's a rarity for me!). I just hope that you will learn more about your disease and try and educate some of your colleagues! lol

    Hugs, Grey

  • thanks for the reply greygoose quite right some specialists and doctors talk rubbish a doctor who saw me in A and E said it was better to have thyroid problems than diabetes as you dont need to do the blood tests so often. what a silly comment from someone we trust to take care of us.

  • Silly and inaccurate! It's because of remarks like that - among other things - that I no longer trust doctors to take care of me!

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