We have before us multiple scenarios, all of which start and end in the same place. (This is going to be a tad long, so grab a cup of coffee to see you through to the end.)
The adventure starts when you drag into the doctor’s office complaining about weight gain, extreme fatigue, thinning hair, mood swings, feeling a little down, and so forth–the standard hypothyroid story. Dr. Sherlock, if you’re lucky, will take these clues and decide to test for a thyroid problem.
And so you give a little blood for a few blood tests, and our scenario starts diverging.
The big kahuna of thyroid blood tests is the misbegotten TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) test. That’s what we’ll talk about here.
Here’s the theory behind the test: The pituitary gland, which controls the thyroid and every other part of the endocrine system, tells the thyroid gland when to make thyroid hormone.
Based on that theory, the doctor, with one quick look, will decide your thyroid fate.
I can offer but a small ray of hope: Doctors are losing faith in the TSH test. Some medical schools no longer teach it. It’s about time.
Before advent of the TSH forty-some years ago, doctors treated thyroid issues by addressing symptoms; the approach that works. Also back in the day, doctors prescribed the bio-identical Armour thyroid instead of the synthetic T4 meds for hypothyroid patients, and Armour worked well. Exceedingly well. (It still does, if you can get a doctor to order it.)
So, here’s a suggestion: When your doctor hands you a prescription for an antidepressant, try to bargain for a trial of Armour thyroid before you try the antidepressant. What do you have to lose?
Bette Dowdell is not a doctor. She speaks as a patient who has experienced and studied endocrine issues for more than 30 years. Her opinions, while researched, are her own. She’s successfully handled her own endocrine problems based on her research. She offers a free health e-zine, introductory teleseminars and an in-depth12-month subscription program, “Moving to Health,” about living well with endocrine issues. She explains how things work–or don’t, discusses what things to avoid as well as the things that help, and she provides a lot of well-researched nutritional information. Subscribe to her free e-zine at