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Thyroid Test | TSH Test

Your provider may order a TSH test if you have signs of an underactive thyroid or overactive thyroid. It is important for thyroid hormones to be in balance.

When hormone levels are too high or low, the symptoms and side effects can cause poor health and impact your quality of life.

What is a TSH test?

A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test is used to measure the amount of TSH in the blood. The test results are used to figure out what might be causing thyroid hormone levels to be too low or high. The test measures how well the thyroid is functioning and is used to help diagnose thyroid disorders.

How is a TSH test done?

A blood sample is taken from a vein in the inner elbow. The sample is sent to a lab. The lab may take a few days to analyze your test. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about your test results and what they mean.

Hyperthyroidism symptoms

  • Sudden weight loss with increased appetite

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat

  • Trembling hands and fingers

  • Anxiety and irritability

  • More frequent bowel movements

  • Muscle weakness

  • Trouble sleeping

  • Thinning skin and hair

  • Sensitivity to heat

  • Change in menstrual pattern

Hypothyroidism symptoms

  • Weight gain

  • Constipation

  • Fatigue

  • Slowed heart rate

  • Depression

  • Memory  issues

  • High blood cholesterol

  • Puffy face

  • Hoarse voice

  • Aching, stiff or tender muscles and joints

  • Thinning hair

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There are several reasons to get a TSH test. Your provider may decide to order a TSH test, if you have an enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), or if you are showing symptoms of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) or hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).

You may also get TSH tests if you are currently being treated for a known thyroid issue.

Less common reasons for TSH testing include screening newborns for underactive thyroid, diagnosing infertility issues, and examining the function of the pituitary gland.

You don’t have to do anything special to get ready for a TSH test, except for tell your healthcare provider about the medicines you are taking. The following medicines may cause inaccurate TSH test results:

  • Dopamine

  • Lithium

  • Prednisone

  • Amiodarone

  • Potassium iodine