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Thyroid UK
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Will private blood tests be worthwhile?

I have been on here before so apologies if I'm becoming a nuisance

A brief breakdown is that I have had thinning hair for over a year now. It has now developed into a very noticeable receding hairline. My pubic hair has also thinned quite significantly.

I have had many blood tests and all but 1 were normal. The abnormal one is the Antinuclear Antibody test which I have now tested positive for 3 rimes. I've seen a rheumatologist to no avail.

I have a family history of underactive thyroid but been told as my TSH is normal this is unlikely. I'm wondering if I should pay to get the thyroid antibodies checked as I've read in a small number of cases these can cause ANAs. My hair thinning is progressive and utterly devastating, it's an uneven thinning too so looks daft. My pubic hair looks laughable and I don't know what to do next. I am 30 years old, both parents early 50s no receding hairlines at all.

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Do you have your blood test results? If so can you post them including the ranges. If not, call your drs reception and ask for copies.



Tsh 1.88

Antinuclear Antibody 1/320 positive.


I've got other results such as calcium etc but don't think they are relevant. I am low vit d (16.3) and current ferritin levels are 29


VitD needs to be around 100 and Ferritin around 70. How are these low levels being treated ?


I was given a 90 day supply of Vitamin D but was told Ferritin was fine in a menstruating woman. My ferritin was 20 in september but I supplemented for 5 weeks and take the odd one still.


90 day supply of what dose of vitamin D?

GP’s often prescribe too little

Ferritin is far too low

Did GP do iron panel?

Are you vegetarian?

Eating liver or liver pate once a week plus other iron rich foods , plus vitamin C to improve iron absorption


And was your VitD re-tested to see how it is now ? Am guessing you were given 800 IU's of VitD - which is not enough. Am not sure how long you have been following this forum but you will read every single day when reading posts that Ferritin needs to be at least 70 or halfway in range. You should ask for a Full Iron Profile - I believe this was suggested on your post two months ago ... Ferritin is a form of stored iron in the liver - so ... May I suggest you complete your Bio so people do not have to keep asking the same questions. Click onto your username and all will be revealed :-)


My GP will not take requests for blood tests. I do think it may be partly as I've been a bit of a pest this year as I've been about my hair thinning but also my adult acne and I've only been taking vitamin d 12 days, am i meant to go back after those 90 days do you know. And i know its meant to be mid range but my gp was basically saying its normal for a woman even though i have light periods.

And to answer slow Dragon I'm not vegetarian. I Love meat and eat it most meals.


Your doctor's talking rot. It's not normal for any woman, and especially not for a hypo woman.

And your low ferritin could very well be the reason for your hair problems.

ANA is one of those tests that tell you if there's a problem, but doesn't tell you what it is. Yours is positive, so that means that you have an autoimmune disease, but we don't know which one. However, testing Hashi's antibodies can tell you if you definitely do have it, but can't tell you you definitely don't. Antibodies fluctuate, so one negative test cannot rule out Hashi's, it would have to be done several times. And, even then, you could have Hashi's without high antibodies. So, let's talk about how you feel…

Apart from your hair problems - which could be due to a thyroid problem, or could be due to nutritional deficiencies - what other symptoms do you have? Adult onset acne could be due to hypothyroidism - it was for me. What else?

And, do your symptoms change, intensify, reduce? Are they always the same symptoms? Are there periods when you feel well? How long have you been having symptoms?

As others have said, just testing the TSH is totally inadequate. It isn't even a thyroid hormone. The thyroid hormones are T4 and T3 - the tests are FT4 and FT3. And they could be low even though your TSH is low. But, doctors are totally ignorant when it comes to thyroid, even though they think they know it all. Yours sounds particularly unhelpful, I'm afraid! :(

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I dont personally have an underactive thyroid, but my acne is adult onset. My GP told me most people outgrow acne by 25 and here I am at 30 still dealing with it (started age 21 and got noticeably worse 2 years ago).

I mainly just feel weak and tired. To be perfectly honest though I do think my tiredness has reduced since taking those iron supplements and I'm hoping I'll feel even better once I have taken Vitamin D for a while.

This GP has been very good tome over the years I just feel they aregetting fed up. Until 18 months ago I did have health anxiety and was at the doctors an awful lot, feels like im now in a boy who cried wolf situation.


I thought the whole point of this post was that you didn't know if you had an underactive thyroid, because your testing has been inadequate. I was just giving you some pointers. :)


It is, i was just referring to where you mentioned low ferritin in hypo women. The main reason I posted was to see if its at all likely, as to be honest my only symptom is hair loss. I do feel weak and struggle with exercise and carrying heavy bags, but maybe that my low ferritin. I'll need to get a provvy loan to pay for private tests but only really want to do that if the tests will be worth it.


Yes, I know. But the point is, your doctor obviously knows nothing about iron levels - or anything about nutrition, apparently. I wasn't saying you were hypo, but that is the reason you went to see him, so there is a question mark over it, and being hypo would account for low ferritin levels, and his response was ignorant and unhelpful. That's all. I'll shut up now. :)

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Even my GP said that ferritin levels under 50 can cause symptoms similar to Anaemia. I’ll post a study as evidence of this below . Hair loss is a potential symptom.


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Thank you for that. I was told I was slightly anaemic but not told to take anything for it. I also bruise easily on my legs and wonder if it could be because of that.


Your GP sounds like an idiot. If you are "slightly anaemic" with symptoms of anaemia then obviously you need to do something about it! Can you see another GP or change practices? Or just ignore them and take iron supplements yourself. One of the GPs at my practice said I just need to eat more iron rich foods when I had a ferritin level of 8! I ignored her (particularly as I already ate lots of iron rich foods) and supplemented anyway. Even with supplements, it's been a nightmare trying to get my ferritin level up. Still struggling with it.


This GP is the best at the surgery I am thinking of changing though. My GP has been so patient with me over the years I can't fault them but all of a sudden since September has changed I think they've been told off for sending me for so many tests as I won't go into detail but something was said in my September appointment that made me feel like my GPs hands are tied. I was told about my diet being bad even though I eat healthily the majority of the time. Think its about time I changed which is a shame as this GP has helped me so much over the years with my anxiety.



Did the GP tell you your thyroid bloods were normal?

If so then I would go and obtain a copy of them, which you are entitled by law, then as the other reply has said, post on here with ranges.

When GP’s talk about normal blood results, what they mean is they are within the lab ranges. This doesn’t mean they are normal.

Medi checks do Thyroid blood testing, here is a link of the one you could take which is a finger prick test.


Best Wishes



The only thyroid test I hadwas TSH. The value was 1.88 and the range is 0.30-4.50

I know you can have hashimotos with a normal tsh, I'm just wondering if it can also cause positive ANA. I don't want to pay £59 if its very unlikely as I'm a struggling single mother. I have 3 relatives who have hypothyroidism and that's why I'm wondering if it could be that, but one relative definitely didn't get a receding hairline so not sure.

Do the at home blood tests hurt? I'm worried I won't be able to perform it.


You can order a home blood test kit and pay extra for private blood draw at near to you clinic

Just testing TSH is completely inadequate

Essential to test TSH, FT4 and FT3 plus both TPO and TG Thyroid antibodies

Vitamin D is presumably measured in nmol ?

If so 16 nmol is extremely deficient

What exactly has GP prescribed? You should have loading dose of 300,000 iu spread over 6-8 weeks

Ferritin is extremely low too

Have you had full iron panel? If not, ask GP for full iron panel to test for Anaemia

Also essential to test B12 and folate

Need to look for a reason for low vitamins

Ask GP for coeliac blood test

What’s your diet like?


Or other gut symptoms?

Hair loss is common result of low ferritin

Getting full thyroid testing plus B12 and folate is next step


Thanks for reply I've had folate levels etc tested but I've now been told I'll need to go private in regards to my hair thinning. I don't believe my GP would send me for anymore tests I feel like I'm now being palmed off.

B12 was 376 (191-663)

Serum Folate 5.1 (3.89-26.8)

I haven't been given reference range for Vitamin D or how it was measured.

I've had a few tests that say essentially normal whatever that means (full blood count and complement levels) but not given actual results. I could ring and request them all though if its relevant.


My GP has told me I have IBS but not sure why as I get no stomach symptoms other than bloating after vegetables and large meals.


Sorry for individual replies but the Vitamin D I have been prescribed is 800 IU and I'm to take 1 a day


That’s low. I’ve just started taking “better you” vitamin d daily oral spray and it’s 3000 IU. I got it from amazon for less than £6 for 3 months worth.


You can see from this document


Your current vitamin D dose is far too low

300,000iu units over 8 weeks is 5360iu units per day


300,000iu units over 6 weeks is

7,120iu units a day

Either option is far far higher than 800iu

GP is not following guidelines

Acne is often due to B12


B12 and folate are too low as well

Supplementing a daily good quality vitamin B complex, one with folate in not folic acid may be beneficial

But remember to stop any supplements with biotin in 3-5 days before any blood tests

Biotin can falsely affect test results

Getting a coeliac blood test online (under £20)

Testing thyroid levels and also retest vitamin D too after you finish 90 day vitamin D


£29 postal kit

Need to find cause of Low vitamins



Gluten intolerance

Low stomach acid


My GP no longer seems interested. I was asked if I'd like to see a dermatologist for my acne back in April but said no. Then i asked in september and he said 1 thing at a time as i was being referred to rheumatologist due to positive ANA and then asked again after rheumatologist appointment and was told they wouldnt see me?? Feel like they're just getting sick of me.



What time did you have the thyroid blood test with the GP?

No the finger prick test doesn’t really hurt.

I’ve done three of those now and every time it worked first time, you have to squeeze the blood into the tube, but, you put the finger downwards as If squeezing a tube of toothpaste.

It’s no good just having your TSH tested regarding your Thyroid, you need your T3 & T4 testing.

It cost an additional £25.00 to have your blood taken at a hospital via medichecks. They are normally BMI hospitals.

Unfortunately, many are forced to pay for private bloods to eliminate things, I know it’s not right, but if you want to find out what’s happening then it’s the only way.

A word of advice regarding your thyroid results, unless your TSH reaches 10 or above the NHS will not treat you on thyroid medication (unless you find a sympathetic GP). This is why I asked what time you had your thyroid blood tested, as if you have it first thing in the morning your TSH is always higher and that’s what you need to get started on Levothyroxine via the NHS.

I had extreme bloating and tummy cramps (I have Hashimoto’s). I had a gluten blood test and came back negative, but, I decided to give up gluten and once I stopped eating gluten I felt so much better.

Best wishes



Thank you for all that advice. My blood test was 9.20am. Perhaps I'm going down the wrong path and i do agree with you in regards to going private. I've already been told id need to pay privately to see a dermatologist for my thinning hair so guess private blood tests might be worth it as if i could find the reason for this persistent thinning, I may not need to see a specialist. The only reason I'm caught up on it possibly being thyroid related is due to my Dad having hypothyroidism. Maybe it is just ferritin after all.

Could ne a coincidence but almost 2 years ago I started watching what i eat and counting calories. I lost 10lbs and then shortly after noticed my hair thinning. I also startedgetting a puffy face a lot which seems to worsen after eating junk food. I have very dark circles under my eyes and feel the worst I've ever felt in my life and even though I'm sure it's not the cause, it feels like its ever since I have lead a healthier lifestyle.

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These were mine.

Serum vitamin B12 level 408 ng/L [197.0 - 771.0]

Serum folate level 5.2 ug/L [2.0 - 18.7]

Serum ferritin level 36.7 ug/L [20.0 - 130.0]

Vitamin D 73 nmol/L

I take 2 x Super B-Complex by Igennus daily for my vitamin b12 and folate.

1 x spray of Better You Dlux Vitamin D Oral Spray 3000IU per day.

4 x desiccated liver tablets (literally dried liver ground to a powder) for my folate.

I’ve been taking the liver tablets since the start of June this year, the super b complex since August this year and the vitamin d spray for 3 days.

I’ve got lots of new hair growth and I’m so excited by that. I think it’s the liver tablets that are helping, but it could be the b complex.


Thanks for that advice. I did take a multivitamin but I've taken it 3 separate times and it makes me break out (the brand is Perfectil). As for the liver I need to be careful with my Vitamin A intake, I'm not sure if it would be safe. Im using a topical retinoid for my acne and was advised bya pharmacist to ensure I don't take anything containing vitamin A. I could definitely try a b complex though


28 liver tablets (weekly dose) is the equivalent of 85g fresh liver. Not a huge amount but as someone who can’t stand liver (unless it’s pate) it works for me.


I like liver just not sure if i fancy cooking it ha. I'll have a look at supplements. Is it safe to take supplements ?


Hey faeriesue, where did you find out about the 4 tablets being equivalent to 85g of liver pw? What liver tablets do you take? Mine have 500mg of dessicated liver in them but say to only take one a day. That doesn't seem to do anything for my ferritin levels though. Thanks!



Hi, I take Perfect Supplements desiccated liver. 4 capsules a day is equal to 3000mg of liver powder. I emailed the company to ask what the fresh equivalent would be and they replied “One serving (4 caps) a day for 7 days (28 capsules) is about equal to 3 oz of fresh liver”.


Brilliant, thanks for this.

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Also if you don't mind me asking was your hair loss general thinning or did you have a noticeable receding hairline? The area around my temples is getting smoother and smoother and I'm terrified I'm balding there


A receding hairline. Like Dracula with a widows peak. The back of my head still has plenty of hair. Mine is like male patterned baldness.


Mine is also a receding hairline but also thinning on the top too. I have a widening part. I will upload a picture of my worstpart which is temple area


Yours looks like mine, when I brush my hair back into a ponytail my scalp is visible.


Yes same. And my scalp is also very pink and looks irritated but again it's something the doctors just don't seem to care about.



Medi checks do blood tests for hair loss it’s £199.00 if you enter code THYROIDUK a further 10% should be deducted, as this test hasn’t already been reduced (the link I provided for full thyroid testing was already discounted). This test however, isn’t a finger prick test.


On this test there is TSH & T4 included but, no T3.

With medi checks you can tick a box for a medi check GP to comment on your results, this is FOC, results come directly to you via email.

However, members also post results on here for feedback.

No reply necessary.

Best wishes



Thank You very much for that info


Hi I would recommend acnecide it’s prescription but can source yourself from boots for adult acne it got rid of mine.

It was one of the first symptoms of me going hypothyroid as well as nails and hair not growing biotin helped with that.

I would recommend doctor swapping and shopping for a good one that has better understanding of thyroid.

Doctors range in competence the first one I went to didn’t want to treat me (knob jockey.)


I use acnecide every morning and topical isotretinoin every night. It's a lot better than when I don't use anything but currently sporting 3 beastly spots that are painful and more that are not. I do think its time to switch GPs to be honest as i feel guilty going to mine so much anyway.


Get hold of your blood test results and then its easier to help you

Sometimes children of Hypothyroid parents develop Central Hypothyroid i do not know why but it does mean that if doctors only test TSH the situation will go undiagnosed


Thank you very much. Which results should I put up as I've got the majority of my results at home. I don't have my full blood count etc though.


We simply need




Thyroid Antibodies





Vit d3


The tests I've had are

TSH - 1.88 (0.3-4.50)

Ferritin - 29 (15-150)

Serum Folate - 5.1 (3.89-26.8)

B12 - 376 (191-663)

Vitamin D (not sure if D3) - 16.3

I've not had the others tests


Hi. You need to include the ranges with the results to guage where they are in relation to it.

However I would say they all look really low and all will be contributing to your symptoms.

Ferritin and low iron is almost certainly a cause of your thinning hair. Raising it helped me stop my hair falling out.

I'm sure reallyfedup will be able to give you more info


Thank you. I've updated with the reference ranges, I don't have one for the Vitamin D as that was just sent via a letter.


You need to go back to your doctors

TSH alone is simply not enough when the child of hypothyroid parents presents with low vitamins like that ....look up thyroiduk.org and the entire list of hypothyroid symptoms ...tick them off and go back to the doctors

You have too many rather familiar symptoms

I have given you the tests needed and why ....best to ask your GP first because they often refuse to look at private tests

What other illness is there in the family not just hypothyroid

Thyroid disease in a Father seems to trigger Central Hypothyroid in a child


Thank you for responding and i didn't know they might not care about private results. I've already directly asked my GP and the rheumatologist if it could be hashimotos due to 3 hypos in family (my dads mother also had it when she was alive) and both of them said TSH would be abnormal with hashis. Maybe I should get the private tests anyway and if I have any abnormalities ask my GP to repeat them.

There are no other illnessesin the family as far as I'm aware.


Go back and directly ask them to test as i requested...they are incorrect

Central Hypothyroid has a low TSH low T4 and Low t3 just as Tertiary Hypothyroid does ...just watch their face when you tell them that becose all they ever know or think about is Primary Hypothyroid where TSH rises

and even Hashimotos can have a low TSH ...3 of my family were all very very ill with a TSH of 2.9

Your scalp soreness etc is also thyroid as are dark rings under the eyes


Is the scalp thing really possibly related? I honestly never knew that and can you just go and ask your GP for certain tests I have anxiety and am terrified of asking, I think i might just borrow some money and get private ones. Thank you all so much for responding to me


Scaly sticky patches on the scalp like cradle cap are typical of Hypothyroid ..i spent hours rubbing pure green olive oil in to soften them on the 3 in my lot and then used a tea tree oil shampoo but until their hypothyroid was correctly treated the problem did not stop

You have to remember the Thyroid controls every single system of the body including 40 hormines in the brain alone


dark circles under the eyes

Puffy face

IBS type symptoms

Joint aches and pains

Temperature when taken before you move out of bed will be low

Theres at least 40 symptoms

B12 deficiency which is Pernicous Aneamia masks as Hypothyroid but i still think your hypothyroid no matter what your doctors want to deny it


I seriously think i might get those private blood tests then. If they're normal then I can look into seeing a private dermatologist. Obviously ill give iron and vitamin d supplements a little time to work too


There has to be a fundamental reason why your iron and vit d are so low and usually its because of an underlying illness ...correcting the deficiences wont solve the underlying illness


Should I keep pushing my GP do you think or am i better off going the private route?


I have already told you

Get the list of symptoms from thyroiduk.org

Print them off and tick what applies

Take your temperature before moving out of bed

Go back to your GP with my question of testing the other things i have told you about and say that NHS Choices website have serious concerns that you may well have Central or Tertiary Hypothyroid which TSH alone simply cannot pick up

That the person who suggested it has experienced the exact same situation in the children of Hypothyroid parents and you need it ruled in or out


I will do that thank you very much. I'll buy a thermometer and look at that check list. Is it possible to overheat on a night if you have hypothyroidism?


Dont think so ...normally undiagnosed Hypothyroids will have a low body temperature on waking ....its part of the tests and observations made by Dr Broda O Barnes over countless years of treating thyroid patients ...google his work and that of Dr John Lowe ...both are dead but their work is around on the web


No probs I will google them. I've been overheating during night for a while now. I can be ice cold all day and everybody I know can say it's been a cold night and I've been boiling during night. It only happens during Winter but this is third year of thi


Great. I would say push to raise all your vitamins straight off.

Your vit D is dire as is your ferritin and folate

B12 could be raised too.

These can take about a month plus to optimise so do start as soon as you can. They are also all vital for thyroid conversion - so you may find thyroid function improves by correcting the vitamins.

Then having full thyroid tests will help determine the residual thyroid issues.

Vit D and ferritin alone would explain most of your symptoms


Thank you I'll keep taking supplements. I even asked my GP if my Vitamin D was deficient and he just said insufficient. Maybe it's measured differently as i wasn't given range but I honestly have no idea as my Vitamin D was tested at thehospital after seeing a rheumatologist. I was told they could help me with my thinning hair by myGP but she didn't even look at my scalp and seemed clueless about my thinning hair so another dead end.


The endocrinologist I saw said that most people in Britain are deficient in Vit D. I would definitely supplement with it if your levels are ‘dire.’


I will do thank you. I am very self conscious about my body too so even in the Summer I'm barely exposed to the sun so supplements are probably a good idea.


Insufficient is enough to supplement - 16 is very low regardless of what range. Usually 20-50 is insufficient and less than 20 is deficient

Ideally you want d3 levels up to 70-100.

I've seen some labs are now refusing to test d3 and are doing a combined test again. Even if that's true in your case 16 is still very low.

You'll need iron/ferrous fumarate or soemthing similar to bring your iron and ferritin stores up.

Your GP should prescribe it and then retest in 2-3months (ferritin and full iron panel)

You should notice your hair getting better. Do consider some vitamin E supplementaiton also and b complex.

I used spatone sachets for my iron levels and within 2 months my hair stopped falling out and thinning

It hasn't regrown yet but I'm still sorting other levels out


Some websites you might find helpful for your problem are:-



Article Fish Oil hairlossevolution.com fish-oil to regrow hair.

Evening Primrose Oil - hairlossevoltion.com

Starflower oil simplysupplements.co.uk

These supplements contain omega 6 poly unsaturated fatty acid present

in all mammalian membranes. It is involved with in the regulation of cellular

process. Gamma Linoleic Acid helps maintain balance of hormone levels by regulating the production of prostaglandins. These supplements can help hair loss, acne, eczema.

Another cause of hair loss is intense stress which lowers the production of cortisol

in the adrenal glands. You could have tests for cortisol levels to establish a deficiency.

Have read taking evening primrose supplements in gel form can help eczema as a friend's child had it badly and it cleared within weeks of taking it. You can find it in German supermarket in the UK. Rubbing the primrose oil into the scalp may also help encourage hair growth. This is hear say and cannot be taken as the gospel truth.

As others have advised you should have tests for thyroid levels in more detail than the ones they have evaluated, you could also ask for a more in depth test for thyroid and also for cortisol levels. It pays to go back to the NHS to say this is a progressive problem and is damaging psychologically. High doses of vitamin C have been recommended on this website to aid the adrenal glands. Hope you get the tests you need especially those recommended on the website.


Thank you very much. I am very, very stressed to the point I can't tolerate repetivive noises anymore so maybe it could be stress related too. I'll look into those supplements thanks again.

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You should also get tested for PCOS which can cause the type of hair thinning that you have, I have the same type of hair loss. In addition, there is another autoimmune condition called Frontal Fibrosing Alopecia (FFA) that might be causing your issues. PCOS is related to insulin resistance, there are a number of blood tests and a pelvic ultrasound that you may need. You would likely need to see a dermatologist to see if you have FFA.


Thank you very much for this information. Which blood tests would I need? I have a feeling I'm going to have to go private and I will need to get a providential loan so I'm gonna do private blood tests first and wait until I'm working for a dermatologist as my financial situation is pretty dire at the moment.

I have had a testosterone test and apparently it was 0.4 which my GP said was low, but I do have acne and for a year now I've had really oily skin, since October I've hadoily hair and 2018 I noticed I've got a slight moustache, so might be worth looking into that.


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