Goitre and antibodies but not autoimmune thyroiditis?

Hi, I am new to thyroid problems, having gone to the GP a month ago to ask about a swelling on my neck. I learnt this was a goitre and was booked in for blood tests and an ultrasound.

My blood tests came back as TSH 2.39 but antibodies were positive. My GP said no range was given for the antibodies, they were just positive. She seemed confident that this meant I have autoimmune thyroiditis but said we should still check for any lumps on the ultrasound, and that the ultrasound would also confirm if it is autoimmune thyroiditis.

So, yesterday I had the ultrasound. The sonographer said it doesn't look like autoimmune thyroiditis, and that there are two lumps, one on each thyroid lobe. He said they look pretty benign but as they are 2cm (or he could have meant over 2cm, not sure) he took some fluid out of one of them to check whether it is malignant or not, and said I will get the results next week.

In the meantime I am feeling confused and wonder if anyone else has experienced something similar and what it turned out to be? From reading up I understand that the antibodies could indicate another condition such as pernicious anaemia, diabetes and others, but would I still have a goitre if it wasn't autoimmune thyroiditis?

Also, any advice as to whether I should ask my doctor to check anything else would be most welcome - I got the impression from my GP that if nothing is found on the ultrasound it will just be a case of getting a blood test again in 6 weeks to see if my TSH has changed.

Thanks for your help.

9 Replies

  • If they ran a blood test for your thyroid gland but it showed antibodies, it means that your thyroid gland is under attack and eventually you will become hypothyroid. In the meantime, Dr Toft of the BTA (British Thyroid Association) recommends that if antibodies are positive you should be started on levothyroxine. If you email louise.warvill@thyroiduk.org.uk and ask for a copy of the Pulse online article. Highlight about antibodies and request a prescription for levo. Many doctors, unfortunately for us, believe that unless the TSH reaches 10 (some are very unwell by this time and some never reach that 'magic' number) before they will prescribe. As Dr Toft was President of the BTA I think she should go along with his recommendation. You have an Autoimmune Thyroid Disease called Hashimoto's. Some links.

    Members have said this book is good:




    Excerpt from above:

    1. Goitrous Autoimmune Thyroiditis – here the progressive infiltration of white cells enlarges the thyroid, and this is the version Hashimoto first described. In addition to the white cells taking over the glandular tissue, the gland itself becomes a mass of fibrous tissue, with the follicular cells (where the thyroid hormone is made) disappearing. The gland itself, of course, becomes enlarged into a goitre. Sometimes the fibrous tissue takes over completely. It has been found also that an increase in dietary iodine has a tendency to worsen autoimmune thyroiditis.

    Unfortunately, we have to read and learn so that we are not left suffering and maybe have to educate GPs.

  • I am not an expert but I would have thought that if you tested positive for antibodies then it's likely that you have autoimmune thyroiditis. If it helps, when I tested positive the endocrinologist tried to dismiss it until he realised that I understood a little about it and then he admitted that I do have autoimmune thyroditis and that my thyroid was under attack.

  • Thank you very much to you both for taking the time to read and reply.

    What is confusing me most is that the antibodies and goitre seem to point to Hashimoto's, yet the sonographer directly said it did not look like autommune thyroiditis (and I asked twice, to be sure). I guess I will see what my GP's take is on it when the results come through, but wonder if anyone else on here has had that happen too?

    Thank you for all that great info shaws, I will work my way through reading that, and especially the recommendation to get hold of that article.

  • I think it might depend on what stage you're at with your Hashi's whether or not it shows up on an unltra-sound. When I had one, the technician, or whatever he was, was very scathing about my gland. Said it was too small to be causing a problem! However, in my blood test, my anti-bodies were very high. And it's the anti-bodies that count, not the opinion of a technician doing an ultra-sound.

    Things like PA do have anti-bodies, but the anti-bodies for each condition are very specific. If you were tested for Hashi's, it can't mean that you have PA when the anti-bodies are high, it means you have Hashi's.

    Did you get a print-out of your results? You should always ask for one - with the ranges. It is your legal right to have it.

  • Thanks for taking the time to reply greygoose, it's reassuring to hear of your similar experience with the ultrasound, as the dr doing mine was quite dismissive when I said my GP thought it was autoimmune thyroiditis he just said 'no, it's not that' without any further explanation as to why really.

    I don't know if I was specifically tested for Hashi's, my GP hasn't even mentioned that by name, she just said it was thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

    I didn't get a printout of the blood test results but thank you for the tip, I will ask for printouts the next time I am in.

    In the meantime I am waiting for the results of the check on the lumps, and hoping that I might get a referral to a specialist as rebekah40 suggests.

  • If you have high thyroid peroxidase antibodies (TPOab) then you have Hashi's. These petty functionaries, they like to think they know more than the doctors. But they Don't know more than the blood tests!! lol

  • In the US, a person doing the ultra sound, is not allowed to give an opinion on what they see and are not trained in diagnosing..they are not doctors. They could lose their jobs for doing so. Imagine if the told someone that they had a Cancerous Tumor and they were wrong!

  • I think that maybe a referral to an endocrinologist would perhaps be better than the GP. GP's don't always know as much about the thyroid as we would like.

  • You have Hashimotos Throditis, an auto immune disease.

    You need to be gluten free, an absolute must with Hashis. It's very common.

    Research Leaky gut.

    Dr Datis Khazzarian has some great books.

    I'd highly recommend The Immune System Recovery Plan by Susan Blum will really help you to get better and get your head round the diet we need.

    Good luck.

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