Thyroid UK
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Low T3?, sudden thyroid swelling

Hi everyone. This is my first post here - wish I'd known about you years ago!

I'm pretty sure I've had thyroid problems since my first son was born 18 years ago. Before that I was skinny and very active, doing several professional dance classes a week. I put on 5 stone while I was pregnant, like every other woman in my family and have felt exhausted ever since. I now weigh double what I did then and can barely walk up the stairs.

Since then I have had two hyperthyroid periods (I think the first was undiagnosed as I was quite happy to lose 5 stone and didn't really question why I managed to do that very easily without dieting).

The second time was just awful -- in a period of huge stress. With all that weight back on (without changing my eating habits) I actually managed to 'beat' the hyperthyroid and put ON more weight -- I was so hungry that I was eating for England! I felt really close to collapse, but as a self-employed single mum, rest is not an option.

I felt very hypothyroid last year, but my results showed that TSH and T4 were normal and that T3 was low (I can't find the exact numbers but will ask the surgery for them). My GP wrote to the endo who said that Low T3 was nothing to worry about if the others were normal. I've looked into this and I don't believe that's true. (I suspect that in all the years that I previously had my thyroid checked only TSH was measured, thus nothing was shown to be wrong).

I'm now feeling terrible again, even after two weeks of complete rest. My eyebrows are falling out, I'm completely exhausted, everything aches, my appetite has gone yet I'm putting on weight, my hands are very painful (I'm a piano teacher, so not helpful) and now my thyroid appears to have swollen suddenly.

I'm waiting for blood test results but please could someone advise me so that I know what to ask the GP:

If the results show just low T3 again and I'm told not to worry, what info do I fight back with?!

How significant is this thyroid swelling and what's best practice for investigations (and how fast I need them)?

Many thanks,


7 Replies

Welcome to our forum,

Your post is quite classical as many have had very similar stories to yourself.

To say that T3 isn't to be taken seriously just shows how inept the medical profession is when T3 (liothyronine) is the active hormone needed in every single receptor cell in our body, without sufficient we suffer as our body cannot function normally.

Did you have your blood test at the earliest? The reason is that our TSH is highest then (it varies throughout the day but I doubt if GPs are aware of this 'phenomonom'.)

Ask for a print-out of your results with the ranges and post them on a new question. If GP hasn't tested B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate ask for these to be done too. We are usually deficient which can also cause symptoms.

It is a sorry state of affairs in the UK when the medical profession is told to diagnose us only on the result of the TSH which is actually from the pituitary gland and sometimes doesn't rise sufficiently for a diagnosis.

Once upon a time - before the 60's we were medicated and diagnosed according to our clinical symptoms - unfortunateley not nowadays to our detriment.

How doctors didn't recognise this young woman's problem for 40 paces, I don't know. Particularly as she was pregnant too.

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Thank you so much for your reply. Unfortunately I didn't know that the time of day was relevant and had my latest blood test at 4.30pm. Grrrrr. Will post results as soon as I have them.

What's the likely difference in TSH levels between morning and afternoon?


This research paper is worth looking at. The graphs on page 2 are helpful :

The triiodothyronine in the title is T3, and thyrotropin is TSH.


Isn't Thyrotropin the one before TSH (TRH)?


TRH is Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone - the hormone produced by the hypothalamus to make the pituitary release thyrotropin i.e. TSH.

See the first sentence of this link :


It varies from person to person. It's not set in stone.


Sorry you have been having such a difficult time. I think it would be a good idea to also have your Thyroid Anti-bodies checked - in case you have Hashimotos. The auto-immune version of thyroid illness. This would explain the swing between Hyper and Hypo as your thyroid is under attack....

Hopefully you will soon be on the right track with the help of everyone here :-)

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