TSH 144 and no symptoms at all?


I have been shocked to have been diagnosed with an underactive thyroid over two months ago (with extremely high TSH 114), since I have never had any symptoms at all!

I've never felt better and healthier in my life, actually.

As I had no symptoms, I refused to take thyroxine (as I was scared it will completely unbalance my hormones) and tried to heal it the natural way. I've cut out gluten and diary completely and was on iodine treatment twice a day since then.

After two months I have repeated the tests and TSH has increased to 144. 

Few weeks ago I found out I am pregnant, 7 weeks now, and I am seeing a doctor in 3 weeks! Should I start the thyroxine treatment or is there a natural way to heal it?

I don't like to take drugs but at the same time I don't want to risk my baby's health.

I would appreciate any advice. Thanks

11 Replies

  • Jogi80,

    It's amazing you were able to conceive with TSH >2.5.  Start taking the Levothyroxine.  The foetus is entirely dependent on maternal hormone for good development until it develops its own thyroid at around 12 weeks.  I think you should contact your GP immediately as you ought to be referred to an endocrinologist for management during your pregnancy as a matter of urgency.


    I am not a medical professional and this information is not intended to be a substitute for medical guidance from your own doctor. Please check with your personal physician before applying any of these suggestions.

  • jogi, 

    Welcome to our forum and congratulations on your pregnancy.

    Supplementing iodine will alter thyroid function but not always in a positive way.

    It is imperative to lower your TSH so you need to medicate thyroid hormone replacement asap as a normal thyroid hormone level is critical for good development of the baby’s brain and nervous system. 

    During the first trimester, the foetus depends on the mother’s supply of thyroid hormone, which comes through the placenta,  and then at around 12 weeks the baby’s thyroid begins to function on its own.

    Your GP should follow local specialist advice regarding the dose and monitor TSH & T4 levels every four weeks, or refer you immediately to a specialist as a matter of urgency. 

    Your Levothyroxine dose should be titrated during the first trimester, and then at 16 & 28 weeks of gestation to keep TSH in the low-normal range (0.4–2.0 mU/L) and an FT4 concentration in the upper reference range.

    Good luck with your pregnancy and I hope you continue to feel well..



  • You should have at least had your fT4 measured if your TSH is high.  There is no 'natural' way to treat hypothyroidism other than to replace the missing hormone.  You should not take iodine, it will make matters  worse.  You should see an endocrinologist straight away (your GP should request another blood test with TSH, fT3, fT4 immediately) and perhaps start you on levothyroxine in the meantime.  Without measuring at least fT4 they cannot be absolutely certain whether it is hypo or hyper-thyroidism, although almost certainly hypothroidism.

  • yes,  there are many reasons for the thyroid to wack out, such as diet and inflammation. 

  • Can I ask why you take iodine?   Iodine is a controversial subject within the thyroid community and also the medical profession.   On the basis that you seem only to have a high TSH and no other symptoms of hypothyroidism its difficult to see what's going on without T4 and T3 values.   However, for what its worth TSH secretion increases thyroidal uptake of iodine and stimulates the synthesis and release of T3 and T4.  In the absence of sufficient iodine, TSH levels remain elevated. 

  • Many thank for all your replies and advice!

    I have booked an appointment with a Gp tomorrow and will start taking the thyroxine asap and hopefully see an endocrinologist soon. 

    I forgot to add the T4 levels were below range (4.5), which confirmed hypothyroidism, but had not had T3 tested yet.

    I've started taking iodine after recommendation from a close friend, who actually managed to heal it naturally completely and is just about to have her baby in a few weeks. Healthy pregnancy, herself and the baby. But I guess every body is different. 

    I believe it is always best to try first the natural no-drugs option, but right now the baby's health is a priority.

    Thank you very much for all your kind words!

    All the best.

  • You shouldn't think of Levo as a drug. It isn't a drug. It's a thyroid hormone. Hormones are natural. OK, so Levo is synthetic, but it's still a hormone, and not at all like taking antidepressants or even aspirin.

    Basically, the thyroid gland makes two hormones : T4 and T3 - but mainly T4. The T4 is then converted into T3.

    Taking iodine will only help if it was iodine deficiency that caused your hypothyroidism. It is not a magic elixire, and your thyroid only requires a certain amount - no more, no less.

    Have you had your antibodies tested? Because if the reason your gland is failing - and it most certainly is failing with a TSH that high - is because of antibodies, iodine could make things much much worse.

    The antibodies indicate that you have an autoimmune condition where your immune system slowly destroys the gland. Which mean that there is actually nothing wrong with your thyroid - apart from being slowly destroyed by the immune system - so iodine won't help at all with that.

    Iodine is a necessary nutrient. Every molecule of T4 contains 4 atoms of iodine. But, if half your factory has burnt down, shovelling in more raw goods will not increase production.

    Just because it works for someone else, doesn't mean it's going to work for you, and it is very unwise to take most things without testing to see if you need it. :) 

  • Jogi80, I can definitely understand your reluctance to take a drug, as I feel exactly the same. Thyroid replacement is not a drug in the traditional sense, though, as it is straightforwardly a replacement for something your body should be making but isn't. I'm not sure if anyone has explained a few contextual things about your situation: 

    1) 114 / 144 are extremely extremely high TSH results. The 'range' doctors will often stick to goes up to 10, but actually most healthy people have levels of below 2, and many people are very ill with TSHs only a little above that, like 3 or 5. 

    2) It's very unusual to be in your position of having a high TSH, particularly such a very high one, with no symptoms. This suggests something more complicated is going on. The TSH is actually a pituitary hormone, and it is only indirectly a marker of how much thyroxine your body is producing. Probably something is out of whack somewhere in this hormone regulation system. This is something you'd want to know about, as other hormones would likely be effected. Most people on this forum have Hashimotos, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and produced antibodies that can be tested for, and is really the only straightforward way to become hypothyroid. It would be good to find out if you have antibodies ASAP, as if you do you'll have your solution to at least the cause. I've had my thyroid removed, and get numbers in the 100+ range with no medication. So if this number is an accurate representation of your thyroid function it means you've got almost none left. Which could be a good thing, as the process of losing it is probably worse than having none!

    3) If you weren't pregnant, I think I would advise you to stay off the Levothyroxine if you don't feel you need it. All these blood tests are very fallible. In my journey to get better I've recently had a TSH of 100+ and felt tons better then I did with a normal TSH, so I know first hand that these numbers do not accurately reflect well-being or health. 

    The reason everyone in this thread is so insistent you must medicate and drop that TSH is because hypothyroid pregnancies are very vulnerable. It's dangerous to be pregnant with a high TSH, and many people have miscarriages, often repeated ones. It's bad timing to be at this point in your illness and get pregnant, because you have no clue why your TSH is so abnormal. But the picture is further confused by the fact you managed to get pregnant at all, which shouldn't be possible if your TSH is that high for straightforward reasons. So clearly your body is healthier than would be expected with a TSH like that. 

    4) Speaking personally. I think you've come head to head with the most distressing emotional element of being hypo straight away. My situation has some similarities to this, in that after my thyroid cancer my blood numbers have not really made much sense, I've failed to improve and thrive and no one has really got a clue why. I became ill in my early 30s and am now 37, and I do wonder if this means I've missed my chance to have a baby, or if I will recover my health in time for it to be viable, or take the risk of having repeated miscarriages or doctors meddling with my hormones and messing up my and my baby's chances. I may just round the situation up to 'infertility', and be too scared to ever take a roll of that dice. Doctors know so little about how to manage the pregnancy, and its common for people to turn up in the forum and describe miscarriages where its clear the doctor bundled the whole thing and was completely at fault for the loss of that baby - it's heartbreaking.

    But your situation is so unusual and confusing it's not clear you are literally, straightforwardly hypothyroid, so there's always a chance things will be fine, but there's also a chance you are in this very high risk group for miscarriages. Probably no one will accurately be able to tell you which, and you can expect doctors., even specialists, to be very unfamiliar with what to do, and therefore to put you clearly into one sort of box and give you very generic treatment. 

  • Having thought this through, I think the really key facts are: 

    Generally during pregnancy the TSH should below 2.5, and it's very risky to be otherwise. 

    BUT: It should be impossible to get pregnant with a TSH much higher than that, but you did, so maybe you are in a completely different category and the above doesn't apply to you. 

    It's a really heartbreaking choice to have to make, and if you decide not to medicate you are very unlikely to find a doctor to support you in that. 

  • i agree that there is something else going on here and i wish i never had to take thyroid meds and aiming toward getting off of them.  there are many reasons that this could happen and not medicating and looking elsewhere is what i wish i would have done.

  • TSH is a pituitary marker, not thyroid.  i would find out what your free t4 and free t3 are.  Even if you have to order your own tests thru blue horizons.  A high TSH like that and feeling fine means something.  Maybe a TSH producing benign tumor or something.   i wish i had not started thyroid meds.  

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