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Avatar universal

Is fluctuation in TSH levels normal?

Hello!

I am a 28 year old female.  I recently had my TSH levels checked and they came back at 3.2.  I know that this is not normally considered high, but it seems that my levels have consistently gone up over the past few years.  In 1996, my TSH levels were 1.5 and in 2003 they were 2.5.  As you can see,there seems to be an upward trend.  Could this indicate a tendency toward hypothyroidism.

I have been having all the symptoms of hypothyroidism, including fatigue, unexplained weight gain, intolerance to cold, depression, and memory lapses (I'll forget what I'm saying in the middle of a sentence).  This seems to have increased rapidly in the last 2-3 years (in which my levels have increased.  My doctor refuses to have my T-3 and T-4 levels checked.  Am I unreasonable to request this?  Is it likely that I have mild hypothyroidism?

My doctor has made me feel like I'm a pain for asking for more information.  In fact, in the letter she sent about my test results, she didn't even give me the actual TSH level number.  I had to call her office to request it!  Now I'm preparing to talk with her, but I want to make sure I go in with information and a reasonable request.

Thanks!
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Avatar universal
Hi -

I understand what you are saying. With a history of hyperthyroid (Graves) some 20 years ago, I finally slipped into "official" hypo with a TSH of over 7.

Because of my history, I have been monitored annually (missing some years) with TSH levels.  For the last 5-6 years, I have felt a bit "thyroid" - some signs of being either hyper/hypo can be the same and they were recognizable to me even years after being severely hyper (you become kind of sensitive to them, especially when as ill as I was back then).

However, my TSH has been coming back always between 3-4. Of course, I was continually told that it was "normal" since the lab ranges still go upwards to around 5 despite medical recommendations revising that.  I knew I didn't feel quite right and that "thyroid" feeling was definitely familiar, but my complaints were of course dismissed.

Since I finally ranged out of "normal" labs, I was started on synthroid. ***I feel much, much better now when my TSH has come back around 2 than I've EVER felt with a 3-4 lab range. Almost all of thyroid-type symptoms disappeared, although a still few linger in a minor way (synthroid is still being adjusted). It was proof positive to me that while 3-4 may be great for some people, it is NOT for others. I recently asked my endo about this - she said it's been her experience that while those who have NO thyroid issues at all tend to feel fine with a TSH around 2.5 to 3 or so, those who have actual thyroid problems generally feel best with a TSH around 1, sometimes 2. She tries to keep it between 1-2.  

So, there continues to be controversy surrounding this, but I for one can tell you only from my personal experience that what is usually a "normal" lab range was not normal for me. Unfortunately, it took my thyroid taking a nosedive for anyone to pay attention...
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Avatar universal
There has been a wealth of information that says your TSH could take years to reach that level where the doctors will treat.  Subclinical hypothyroidism is your warning that you are on your way and while going there your immune system is going downhill.  Do not take one doctors word for it.  Most doctors (including Dr. Barry Durrant-Peatfield) will say most anything over 2 is suspicious especially with your wealth of symptoms.  Have your taken your temp. before arising?  This is called basal and was researched for years by Dr. Broda Barnes.  He wrote a book in 1976 "Hypothyroidism The Unsuspedted Illness" after studing the thyroid since 1930.  He is quoted by most everyone.  Just put in Dr. Durrant-Peatfield`s name on your search line and you will get a flood of information.  There is no reason to let one doctor push you around.  That only shows that he is in over his head.
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Avatar universal
Thanks, GravesLady.  I certainly don't want to have any kind of thyroid problem and I'm not trying to seek out someone who will say I do.  I just want to make sure that I'm taking care of anything that needs to be taken care of!
Helpful - 0
Avatar universal
Hello,

According to my Lab range you would not be considered hypo, as yet.  However, you have to go by your Labs, not what other people say.  Each Lab has their own method of testing where one Labs range will differ from another Labs range, so what might seem a high or low range, really is not by that Labs method.
For those who have thyroid disorders the regular course of the thyroid is to burn itself out.  This might take 20 years or longer for some.  That is why there are med dose changes through out life. The way your TSH has been going up each year you probably are headed to hypo, so it would be wise to have your levels checked regularly.
If your TSH indicated thyroid your doctor would order more test, and order more as each test warrented. You could go from doctor to doctor in search for one who will agree that 3.2 is hypo enough for treatment, and that takes time and money.
Not only do you  have "all the symptoms of hypothyrodism", but a dozen or more other health conditions as well, and thats why thyroid levels are needed to back up thyroid symptoms.
This is just my personal opinion - others might not agree.
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Avatar universal
Thanks for the information Snake Lady.  I actually bought a basal body thermometer yesterday, so I'll try to monitor that for a while.  I appreciate your insight!
Helpful - 0
97953 tn?1440865392
MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL
Test thyroid antibodies -- esp if these are positive, a tsh >3 is worth consideration of treatment.
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