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Take Back Control: Order Your Own Thyroid Tests

Take Back Control: Order Your Own Thyroid Tests
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Originally published on 3rd November 2017 
Last updated on 23rd May 2020

Do you still feel unwell on thyroid medication even though your doctor is insistent that your test results are coming  back ‘fine’ or ‘normal’? Perhaps your doctor isn’t running all the thyroid tests that you need?

Many thyroid patients benefit from being more involved in their thyroid care and treatment, which is where self-testing and the ability to order your own tests can be critical tools for empowering yourself.

Why Might I Benefit From Ordering My Own Tests?

A lot of doctors only test TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) and go by it entirely to decide on your course of treatment, but this isn’t accurate. TSH stands for ‘Thyroid Stimulating Hormone’ and is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. It serves as an average read out over the previous four to six weeks of your thyroid levels.

It in turn tells the thyroid how much hormone to produce. By only testing TSH and not the actual thyroid hormone levels (Free T3 and Free T4), you’re not getting the most comprehensive and accurate view of your thyroid health and thus, the best treatment. You can read more on Why Going by TSH Alone Is Inaccurate here.

Another factor to consider is whether your hypothyroidism is autoimmune, which it is for around 90% of us, and this can affect which road we take to recovery hugely, yet many patients have never been tested for Hashimoto’s.

Related Article: Why It’s Important to Know if You Have Hashimoto’s

For this, you need to test thyroid antibody levels. I can’t stress how important it is to know whether your hypothyroidism is autoimmune – for me, I only started to see an improvement in symptoms when I implemented changes to address the autoimmune condition causing the underactive thyroid.

The Importance of The Adrenals 

As knowledge on Adrenal dysfunction continues to grow, many of us are also checking for this and it’s overwhelmingly common in thyroid patients.

In Thyroid Pharmacist Izabella Wentz’s experience, ‘adrenal fatigue’ is present in 90% of us with autoimmune hypothyroidism.

Symptoms of adrenal dysfunction include but are not limited to:

weight gain, ongoing fatigue, trouble sleeping, sugar or salt cravings, being over-emotional, anxiety, hot flushes, brain fog, dizziness, jumping at sudden or loud noises and a lot more.

For a lot of us, adrenal issues are half the problem and causing some of our ongoing symptoms.

The Full Thyroid Panel

A full thyroid panel includes:

  • TSH
  • Free T3
  • Free T4
  • Thyroid antibodies TPOAB and TGAB

(see here why testing Reverse T3 is often controversial and why I’m dubious about whether it’s truly useful. I lean more towards ‘no’, however, you will see other thyroid resources suggesting we must have it checked.)

This collection of tests give a comprehensive overview of your thyroid function and levels, to help produce the most accurate treatment plan for you, so that you can get optimal on your thyroid medication and begin to feel better.

Because being optimal matters. It matters entirely.

More and more thyroid patients are ordering their own tests online, including myself, because they’re wanting to become more involved in their own health and treatment, or to perhaps fill in the blanks where their doctor is letting them down. Some are also being directed by their functional doctor to order more comprehensive testing online, all so that we can improve our health.

Where Can I order from?

Here are a couple of places:

Medichecks – UK

Medichecks is a very popular choice for inexpensive yet comprehensive home-testing with a fast turn around.

I’ve written a full review of the first time I used them here.

You can order the all important thyroid function testcortisol testing for your adrenals and thyroid antibodies to check for autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s).

The test I most often order myself is the Advanced Thyroid Function Blood Test, which checks the full thyroid panel (including antibodies) as well as vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin D, B12, Ferritin and Folate.

Results are then securely emailed to you with commentary made by their in-house doctors, letting you know how to proceed with your health. Discounts on these already inexpensive tests are often available, so do check online first before buying.

You can also use the discount code INVISIBLE10 for 10% off

LetsGetChecked – Worldwide 

Another trusted place you can order some more in-depth thyroid testing is LetsGetChecked, who offer countless tests.

You can easily order a complete thyroid function test, Hashimoto’s testingcortisol testing and many more, all from the comfort of your own home.  LetsGetChecked often have discounts too, so be sure to check their website for promotions or discount codes before purchasing any tests.

As I have partnered up with LetsGetChecked, all of my followers get 25% off tests with the code INVISIBLE25.

Another plus is that LetsGetChecked offer a one-on-one test results review with their dedicated team of doctors and nurses which are available 24/7 and will call you to explain your results.

A longer list of places (sorted by country) to order your own tests online can be seen here.

My Experience

My experience with ordering my own tests online is that it was really easy and quick with both of the above options.

Each time I’ve done so, I’ve easily completed my sample and posted it off, receiving the results a few days later, which lets me move forward in addressing my health issues with evidence of how I’m actually doing. You can use them to work with your doctor in improving your health.

I always suggest that thyroid patients empower themselves by doing their own research and become their own thyroid advocate. It makes such a difference in how well-managed your thyroid condition is, to be clued up on what’s going on.


You can click on the hyperlinks in the above post to learn more and see references to information given, but further info can also be found here:

https://www.theinvisiblehypothyroidism.com/2016/05/29/what-are-optimal-thyroid-levels/

https://www.theinvisiblehypothyroidism.com/2016/02/12/why-going-by-tsh-alone-is-inaccurate/

https://www.theinvisiblehypothyroidism.com/2016/03/11/tests-you-need-to-have-as-a-thyroid-patient/

About Author

Rachel Hill is the highly ranked and multi-award winning thyroid patient advocate, writer, speaker and author behind The Invisible Hypothyroidism. Her thyroid advocacy work includes writing articles, authoring books, producing her Thyroid Family email newsletters and speaking on podcasts, as well as being a founding board member for the American College of Thyroidology. She is well-recognised as a crucial and influential contributor to the thyroid community and has a large social media presence. Her books include "Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate" and "You, Me and Hypothyroidism".

20 Comments

  • Josie Beras
    December 27, 2021 at 2:57 am

    I just came across your page and for the first time in a while I feel like someone understands. I recently learned that my thyroid is off balance and started on levothyroxine. I feel worse than I did before starting it. I’ve been experiencing weird brain zaps and dizziness. It’s been so bad these past couple of days but have had no choice but to push through it because we are hosting family for the holidays. My scalp often feels like I have little critters crawling on it, my skin is scaly and lackluster and I wake up with a sore tongue because it seems like I bite on it in my sleep. I hate how I’m feeling and I hate that I am so fatigued that I am unable to play with my kids the way that they and I would like. Can someone just answer me this, does it get better? Does medication work? What’s the right dosage? I know that our bodies are all different, but I need a bit of hope right now.

    Reply
    • Rachel Hill
      January 6, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      H Josie – it can be useful to start with a full thyroid panel of tests to gauge where your levels currently are, and to see what the levo is doing to these. These include TSH, Free T3, Free T4, Tpoab and Tgab (antibodies). I’m so sorry to hear you’re still feeling so unwell – I can relate as I felt the same on Levothyroxine-only even though I was very keen for it to work and resolve my symptoms.

      Things CAN get better and the right medication can help a tonne with that. It’s not just about the dosage but also the type of thyroid med. Have you checked out my book “Be Your Own Thyroid Advocate”? I have hundreds of articles covering all these topics on my website right here, but if you’re looking for something more concise and all in one place, the book is a good place to start. Best wishes x

      Reply
  • Rebecca
    June 24, 2021 at 7:04 pm

    Does anyone know if taking thyroid glandulars can increase free T3?

    Reply
  • Musical Lottie
    April 25, 2021 at 11:14 pm

    I see conflicting things about whether to fast or not before thyroid blood tests. Do you have any advice, please?

    Reply
  • Tor
    September 22, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks a whole lot for this amazing site. I like that it combines conventional plus informal options.

    Reply
  • Bec
    July 28, 2019 at 9:10 am

    Hi there,
    Do you know where I can get tests done if Im in New Zealand?
    So desperate for answers.
    Bec

    Reply
  • Rosemary
    July 5, 2019 at 8:54 pm

    Could you please advise on best Labs to use for those of us in Australia?
    Thanks

    Reply
  • Kathy
    November 17, 2018 at 7:04 pm

    I think having your own testing done is great. However you do not have a place for Canadians to go to. Can you tell me where i can go in Canada to have my own testing done????

    Reply
  • Carl
    November 9, 2018 at 10:43 am

    This post is very important for thyroid patients. Thank you.

    Reply
  • Ray
    October 21, 2018 at 11:31 pm

    Hello Dr. Rachel
    I have continued pain in my back (side) area. I keep thinking it’s my adrenals. It’s daily and will come and go.

    Reply
    • Rachel Hill
      October 23, 2018 at 8:52 am

      Hi Ray, considering the location of the adrenal glands, it could well be. Best to ask your doctor and get checked out.

      Reply
  • Ashi Singh
    October 18, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Once you get to know you have hypothyroidism, things change. Thanks for doing a great job on such an unusual but most common problem of women. Keep it up.

    Reply
  • Marylou
    March 7, 2018 at 12:54 am

    Is anxiety curable? I’ve been getting treatment for years and I still get bad symtoms sometimes. I would appreciate any insight you can provide.

    Reply
    • Rachel Hill
      March 7, 2018 at 6:59 pm

      It depends what is causing it for you. Some people do find that therapy such as CBT helps, but for a lot of people with thyroid issues, getting their thyroid levels (namely free t3), adrenal function and vitamin levels all optimal and good, helps. I have a blog specifically about mental health with Hypothyroidism that you’d probably find helpful: https://www.theinvisiblehypothyroidism.com/mental-health-and-your-thyroid-and-adrenals/

      Reply
  • Stephanie
    December 5, 2017 at 8:18 pm

    Hi Dr. Rachel. What are your thoughts on an at home thyroid test that uses a blood prick sample? I was looking at one from Health Test Express that screens for Free T3, Free T4, TSH, and TPO. Looks like they also provide a doctor consult to help understand the results or refer to specialists. Here’s the link if you can provide your feedback: https://www.healthtestexpress.com/thyroid-test-panel/

    Reply
    • Lady E
      January 29, 2018 at 9:55 pm

      I just did their test! It took a few weeks, but I just got my results today. From what I’ve read online, it’s an accurate way of testing. I was skeptical because I’d never heard anything about the company before and couldn’t find anything about them online, but it’s a good way of testing without having to go to a lab

      Reply

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