Thyroid UK
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Told by my GP too expensive to get a T3 test!!

I am hypo. Haven't been told my results, but Levo has been increased to 100mcg. I have to do another blood test after 6-8 weeks. I have a whole list of symptoms associated with my condition. I went to my GP yesterday about my continual IBS and asked him about T3. His very words were, yes you can test it, but we (the practice) don't because it is too expensive. Has anybody else come across this, and why is it so expensive??. I have never received any help about my underactive thyroid whatsoever in the 5 years I have been diagnosed. Not even an explanation of symptoms etc.

7 Replies

TSH is the be all and end all according to current medical thinking. I've just been told by an Endo that FT3 isn't important! It's only a small part of the function so basically not worth bothering about.

I'm sorry you've not had any help regarding your hypo but I can't help thinking that's the norm. We are very much on our own.

If order private FT3 tests if you want them but whether your GP or any Endo will be interested in the result is another matter.

Sorry to be negative but my Endo run in today has caused it.

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Thanks for your support,Bluemundo . You really feel like you're banging your head against a brick wall and it's the same for IBS which I'm convinced is all connected to the thyroid.


Hi Gillp55.

I don't really have any advice re the T3 - mine has never been tested either. However, I suffered IBS for years before I was diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. No that I am optimally dosed with Levo my 'IBS' has completely gone.

Its really important that you get your TSH and T4 test results together with the ranges (the bits in brackets after) and people on here will be able to advise you. You may just need more Levo like I did.



Hi Gillp

You have been long enough on levothyroxine for you to be well - if you've been given the optimum dose and not kept to a particular level upon your TSH result.

From now on, always get a print-out from the surgery of your blood test results for your thyroid hormones, with the ranges for your own records and post if you have a query.

If you haven't recently had your Vitamin B12, Vit D, iron, ferritin and folate checked aske for these to be done too. We are usually deficient which can cause problems too. So we have to have optimum in minerals/vits as well as thyroid hormones.

When you get a blood test for your thyroid hormones, leave approx 24 hours between you last dose and the test. Take it afterwards.

Always have the earliest blood test as TSH is highest then and they place a lot of emphasis on the TSH rather than our symptoms, more's the pity. They also don't know clinical symptoms.

I hope he does a Free T3 blood test as it will let you know if levo is converting sufficiently to the active T3.


Probably expensive as it is the one that matters most for many of us. If they find something wrong with it they might have to do something about it! That would then affect their precious budget and possibly their own pocket!


Further fodder for your GP. Excerpt:


T4 converts to T3 and is the only thyroid hormone actually used by the body's cells.

The approx. reference range for Free T3 is 4 to 8.3

We at Thyroid UK believe that you need to know your Free T3 level too because this will often show low if you are not converting, and high if you have blocked receptor cells. Even if you are converting, the body needs the extra T3 that a normal thyroid produces. There has been some research to show that people feel better on a mixture of Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). Effects of Thyroxine as Compared with Thyroxine plus Triiodothyronine in patients with hypothyroidism – The New England Journal of Medicine Feb.11, 99 Vol. 340. (Click here for this article).

With all of these tests, your results could be anywhere within the range and you would be classed as "normal". If you are at the very edge of the range, either at the bottom or at the top, you could be classed as "borderline". Neither you nor your doctor truly knows what your normal is, if you did not have a blood test done before you became ill. There are also particular reasons why the blood tests remain in the normal range. If you are not converting from T4 to T3 or if your cells are not taking up the T3 normally, your T4 levels and your TSH levels will still show as normal.

I doubt if they know what the actual function of T3 is.


Thanks for your help and support


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