Does a normal TSH result mean I'm not Hypo?


I'm a 30 year old female that needs help!

I went to my GP last Friday because I have a number of symptoms that I'm worried about:

1. Hair loss (thinning at my parting and a large patch at my front hairline about the size of a squash ball)

2. Always freezing cold (I take a hot water bottle to work with me everyday & only a lava hot bath in the evening will stop me from feeling cold)

3. I feel extremely tired & lethargic

4. I feel pretty down and have lost my bubbly personality (I guess you could describe that as depression?)

My mum told me to go to the GP because she has an underactive thyroid after radioactive therapy after being overactive.

The GP gave me a full blood test with all generic things like liver function, iron, red & white blood cells etc. etc. and I called for the results today. My TSH level came back as normal and the GP has ruled out that it could be my thyroid at all. A

My TSH level was 3.11. They did not test any other thyroid hormones just the TSH.

All other results came back normal except my white blood cell count, but my GP put this down to my body having a mild virus... the GP said there was nothing else they could do with that.

I'm so confused because all of my symptoms point to a thyroid problem. Can anyone help?


15 Replies

  • Cavegirl, TSH 3.11 is quite high enough to cause hypothyroid symptoms but you are unlikely to get a diagnosis and treatment until your TSH is abnormal, usually >5.

    If your symptoms don't improve ask for another thyroid test in 3 months. Have the blood draw early in the morning when TSH is highest and fast, except for water, prior to the blood draw as TSH is lower after eating.

  • Thanks Clutter.

    I did try to challenge my GP to get a full thyroid test, but they said no because my TSH is "normal".

    What are your thoughts on spending money on private tests? I'm really down about feeling cold & my hair loss is quite scary.... my GP mainly blamed stress

  • Cavegirl, if private FT3 and FT4 tests show either below range then it will be money well spent if your GP accepts the results or retests and you get a diagnosis. If they're within range you probably won't get a diagnosis.

  • Without ALL of your actual results its tricky but a TSH of 3.1 is actually highly indicative of hypothyroid especially given your symptoms and family history

    sadly far too many doctors will not face this and NHS labs refuse to test T4 and T3 and thyroid antibodies which will confirm the situation

    Doctors saying "normal " simply means in range and the ranges are quite simply way too wide

    Insist on a print out of all the tests that were done and we can get a better picture

  • i am in my first trimester and i got my TSH and T4 tested the other day it came back TSH was 2.7 and the doctor is putting me on medication? i'm a little worried any advise regarding thyroid meds in pregnancy?

  • meca its utterly vvital for the sake of your child that your thyroid levdls are correct

    yours are way too low and would worry me greatly

  • Call me cynical but when your doc says 'normal' is that normal for you or normal for one of his other patients!

    I'd ask for another test and do what clutter says. ask for a print out with all of your test results plus the lab ranges - you are entitled to it, I think some practices charge, mine doesn't. Just say you want them fir your records.

    You're probably not depressed - you might be - but it's probably more that you are finding being told there is nothing wrong why you are feeling terrible depressing - not quite the same.

  • Thanks for all your replies. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way.

    I have my full blood test results (generic blood test screening) would that help or do you just need to see T3/T4 etc? If so, does anyone recommend a particular private testing clinic in case I can't persuade my GP to do it?

  • The other usual culprits to rule out are iron (stored as ferritin) folate & B12 and Vitamin D. The B12 Active test is better - I used blue horizon with TUK discount & NHS City assays for Vitamin D - but you can use any UK labs - my GP took note, but didn't prescribe!

    Thyroid profile testing also here....

    you could also check biotin & other B vitamins for hair loss (as well as iron) the Thyroid controls temperature so feeling the cold is common...

  • Thanks Sparerib - did you get "normal" results with your private tests (T3/T4 etc.) so your GP didn't prescribe? or was it that the GP wouldn't accept results from another lab?

  • After reading up on here & other info, I asked for FT3 and TPO antibody testing, and was between the hospital and the GP so they were done! I also asked ENT & GP for Vit D & Active B12 tests - was refused so paid privately (£25 and £57).

    The City assays Vit D is an NHS lab - no GP can argue, but I have seen some private lab tests ignored by GPs (especially Adrenal ones) - when I presented my Active B12 results I remember the GP being 'interested' but wanted to do the 'ordinary test' (serum) anyway to confirm - (still got tested!) it was 'normal' as I had supplemented by then!

    You can click on my profile to see the numbers - I put them there so I could forget!!! J :D

  • I felt I was hypo for years had symptoms but kept being told normal blah blah. After child no.2 I felt worse and didn't recover. I happened upon a sympathetic Asian GP who agreed to full panel. With a TSH that had risen to 3.28 and a T4 at 9.6 from 12 he too said I was normal. So I studied and found that actually no 3.28 isn't normal. Below 2 is normal. Google High Wycombe Thyroid test. Healthy adults have 1.5 as an average. Digging around a bit more I find that actually T3 is the crucial one; you know the one they don't generally test for (it costs more) Armed with my info I went back and convinced him I wasn't nuts and he agreed to test T3. Guess what? Under range! My advice push, push or just pay yourself if you can afford it. You won't look back.

  • Your TSH rises as your thyroid gland starts to fail. It is unlikely your substantial symptoms are due to this form of hypothyroidism (called 'primary hypothyroidism'). There are other causes of hypothyroidism, no doubt some of which noone understands. I had similar symptoms with a TSH of 1.0 which is regarded as idea.

    You could get more detailed tests including fT3 and fT4, these cost a little under £100. However, I would advise getting too involved in testing as it is more important they treat you rather than the blood test results.

    Ask (in a friendly but assertive way) your GP to give you a theraputic trial of levothyroxine. At your age it should be no problem starting you off on 50 mcg which is a moderate dose. Take along a list of your symptoms and tell your GP the effects it has on your life and how others (your mom) have noticed a change. It might be an idea to take your mom along also for moral support. It is very important you get a trial of levothyroxine, it is very safe, especially at your age. Don't get too bogged down in blood test results, your doctor needs to treat the patient, not the numbers.

    A three month trial of levothyroxine will confirm whether or not your problem is thyroid related. Note that if it is your thyroid it will take a long time to get better but you should notice a substantial improvement within a month or so.

    Be friendly and polite with your doctor but don't take no for an answer. If all else fails ask for a referral to an endocrinologist, but this will just delay treatment and may not help. Better to get the prescription from your GP.

  • What is your serum ferritin level? The TSH of over 3 does obviously flag up a hypo problem, at least in the making, and everyone here is giving good advice, but low iron can contribute to hair loss and at your age you are at risk for low iron. You should have a serum ferritin of over 60, maybe around 80 is optimal.

  • mother had graves and then hypo as a result of RAI and a doctor tries to tell the daughter with a TSH of 3.11 that she cant possibly br hypo

    these idiot medics need reporting to GMC

    thyroid antibodies free t4 and free t3 should have been done and you should not have been dismissed wbhen uts very clear you have a myriad of hypothyroid symptoms

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