Having your blood drawn is no fun. Having your blood drawn for no reason would be ridiculous, right?
Then why do so many doctors continue to test our thyroid using incomplete panels?
The majority of doctors are, unfortunately, still only testing TSH. Sometimes they'll go a step further and include T4 or Free T4. Still, neither of these tests will provide us with enough information about the health of our thyroid, the TYPE of condition, and, thus, how to treat.
I can't explain why this is still true when the information is out there. But it's a frustrating fact and it's maddening!
Too many women (mostly) are leaving their doctor's offices feeling like absolute crap, believing it's all in their head, because their doctor has tested them incompletely and has told them that their thyroid is fine. I remember being one of those women. I remember feeling like a door had been slammed in my face, repeatedly. I remember feeling like it must be all in my head. I remember feeling hopeless and overwhelmed and wanting to scream and cry and yell, "Somebody listen to me! You aren't listening!".
So, instead, I went to my car, tears running down my face, and decided to press on. Now that I'm a Thyroid Coach and I know the tests my clients should ask for, my mission is to arm all of you with the best knowledge to bring to the next doctor's visit. It begins with knowing your symptoms and history, yes. But the only way to drill down to thyroid issues is to TEST.
Here is your script:
"Doctor, I would like you to order a COMPLETE THYROID PANEL."
"These first 8 are the minimum tests I'd like on the panel: (this isn't covering sex and adrenal hormones...yet)
2) Free T4
3) Free T3
4) Reverse T3
5) TPOab antibodies
6) TgAb antibodies
8) Vit D
"If possible, I would like to add
and a wider nutrient panel to test if
11) vitamin A
12) B2 and others are sufficient/ or deficient as well."
And finally, I'd like my sex hormones tested and I'm requesting a saliva cortisol test.
Aside from the nutrients, which you read about in my free PDF , "Ten Necessary Nutrients to Ignite Your Thyroid and Unlock Your Metabolism", which help your body create and utilize your hormone, tests 1-8 determine:
the functionality of your pituitary and thyroid gland
the efficiency of your thyroid hormone conversion process and
the capability of the active hormone to enter your cells (every cell in your body)
If your request is scoffed at or rejected, you can explain:
"TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) is released by the pituitary gland to stimulate the thyroid to make thyroid hormone, it tells me if my thyroid is over or under performing, but it does not tell me if I have enough thyroid hormone.
Free T4 is important, but it is the inactive hormone made by my thyroid gland. I need to know the amount of Free T3 in order to determine if my body is converting the T4 to the ACTIVE hormone, T3, my body can use.
RT3, Reverse T3, is rarely tested but it should be. RT3 is like the brakes. It's produced to keep control, but if the brakes get stuck, then I won't have enough Free T3 in my system.
Vitamin D3 is necessary to unlock the receptors on my cells to allow T3 into my mitochondria.
Iron is necessary in the conversion process of iodide to iodine and also the conversion of T4 to T3 (as are selenium, and zinc)
Finally, the antibodies MUST be tested to determine if I have Hashimoto's, autoimmune thyroid disease."
"If you refuse to order these tests I will need to find a doctor who will order them, or do it myself online. Thank you very much."
Yikes! Hope this didn't intimidate or overwhelm you! In reality, you don't really have to explain the process...if they don't understand the process then you could choose to leave and find a new doctor. Or, if you do have a solid relationship with your doc who seems open, then explain away. In the meantime, I wanted to arm you the best I can.
Once you have your labs results, this becomes a whole other can of worms! An issue is that many doctors are also continuing to use outdated measurements of what is "normal" vs. "optimal" lab results. In Functional Medicine, optimal numbers are what we are looking for.
I can't diagnose you of course, but I can review your labs with you and empower you to determine your next course of action. In my Hashimama's Jumpstart, we discuss all of this in detail, including "Talking to your doctor 101" because, without "optimal" labs, you may not receive the proper type of supplemental hormone, supplements, or lifestyle and dietary advice.
So, now that you know what to ask for, will you get tested?
Check out my Hashimoto's Symptom Checklist if you need a reminder. You'll feel much better when you know...I promise. Finally, you will have some answers.
Love Yourself, (and go get tested!)