Hypothyroidism test results are "low normal", but I have all the symptoms

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This is going to be really long, so sorry in advance but I want to start from the beginning.

So I have been sick for a little over a year and every doctor I have been to can't find out what's wrong with me. First, they thought it was either an ulcer or my gallbladder. I had an ultrasound which showed I had no gallastones. Then I had an endoscopy which showed there was no ulcer. Then I had a HIDA scan which showed my gallbladder was functioning fine. Eventually, they narrowed it down to my gallbladder regardless of functioning fine and no gallstones so they removed it. In the process of those few months, I lost 30 pounds. 

I thought I would feel better after surgery, but I'm still sick. I started getting these attack feelings where my stomach would bloat up and I would get this gnawing feeling. Sometimes it lasted a few minutes, sometimes it lasted several hours. Sometimes food would help, but I was still nauseous everyday so I couldn't eat much. I was slowly able to eat more as the months went by, but sometimes I would get nauseous or problems with my acid reflux. After the months of slowly eating more, I was able to maintain my weight after losing 30 pounds. My doctor scheduled a CT scan to see if it would show anything. Of course, there was nothing. We thought it could be my sphincter of oddi but they said it was fine. They thought maybe it was IBS so I was on several pills and tried the FODMAPS diet. Once again, nothing. Even tried going gluten free for awhile. 

Well, the attacks randomly stopped except I still get them every now and then. Although the attacks stopped, I still have all these symptoms. My symptoms have always been chronic constipation, nausea, acid reflux, fatigue, and bloating. After the stomach attacks stopped, I developed new symptoms. Out of nowhere, I had rapid weight gain of 10-15 pounds, even though I still barely eat. I'm no longer living off of a piece of toast a day, but I am still eating way too little to gain nearly 15 pounds in a MONTH. Along with working out 5-6 days a week. I researched my symptoms and came across hypothyroidism. I didn't even know some of my issues could be related to hypo because I've only been worried about my stomach issues. I also found out that hypothyroidism can cause gallbladder problems. Along with my dry and brittle hair, brittle and rigid nails, cold sensitivity, and hair loss could tie back to this. I also have depression and anxiety, which I am on medication for. 

The reason I believe I have hypothyroidism is because I have a family history of it, my gallbladder issues, chronic constipation, recent relapse of depression which resulted in my phyciatrist to double my dosage, hair loss so bad that I can pull out clumps just by running my fingers through my hair, persistant nausea and acid reflux (even though I have been on medication for over a year which helps a little but I still have problems with it), so fatigued that I can fall asleep just from sitting still for a few minutes no matter where I am, rapid weight gain, sensitivity to cold (I am always needing a blanket when everyone else thinks its hot in the room), joint pain, dry hair, brittle nails, depression, heavy periods (even though I'm on birth control, they're regulated now but they're still very heavy), and the list goes on. I understand that hypothyroidism symptom list is very broad, but I have all the main symptoms. 

I went to my family doctor to get a blood test. My results came back "low normal". My doctor truly believed that hypo could be my issue, but since my results were "normal", she reffered me to an endocrynologist to get a full panel test. 

Here are my results from my family doctor:

TSH- 1.52          (Range: 0.53-3.59)

Free T4- 0.90    (Range: 0.90-1.60)

Free T3- 2.5      (Range: 2.4-4.2)

At my endocrynologist appointment, I had the worst doctor. He did not listen to my symptoms, had no manners, and was just overall rude. But I had waited a month for this appointment so I was hoping the blood tests would show something. Here are my results from the endocrynologist full panel test:

TSH- 1.61           (Range: 0.50-4.30)

Total T4- 8.1       (Range: 4.5-12.0)

Free T4 index (T7)- 1.9   (Range: 1.4-3.8)

Free T4- 0.90     (Range: 0.8-1.4)

Total T3- 122      (Range: 86-192)

T3 uptake- 24    (Range: 22-35)

TSI- <89             (Range: <140

Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies- 3 (range:<9)

Once again, I'm in the "low normal" range but I do not feel the slightest bit normal. A family member also had borderline results so she was put on medication and she said she immediately felt better. I argued with the PA that the results seem borderline but she argued back that they were normal. 

Every doctor has tried blaming my problems on my birth control. There is no way all of this can be caused by my birth control because I've been on the same pill for 3 years and I actually had to stop taking it for 6 weeks and during those 6 weeks I still had all these symptoms.

My question for anyone that might be able to help is what's your opinion? I may have "normal" results, but they aren't in the optimal range. After testing everything else possible, I'm so confident that hypo is my issue. Especially since the results showed how low in the range I am. I'm about to go to another doctor for a second opinoin in hope that he will listen to me and help me. I just need a doctor to look at my symptoms and family history and see that my results are "normal" but not optimal.

Has anyone else had an issue similar to this? What did you do about it? I just need other opionions and stories so I know I'm not crazy lol.

Sorry it was so long, but thanks in advance to anyone that can help! 

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11 Replies

  • Posted

    You should be at the high end of normal to feeel good. Sounds like hypo and adrenal issues to me. Get some adrenal testing. It doesn't do any good to medicate for thyroid if your adrenals are exhausted. There are protocols to help heal them if you have that problem.  Most people do best on Natural Dessicated Thyroid (NDT). I personally,like Westhroid because it is hypoallergenic with the fewest fillers. NDT IS BOTH T4 and T3 hormones. Synthetic is only T4. Many people have trouble converting the synthetic such as SynthoidT4 such as Synthroid to the usable form of T3. That is why people do better on NDT medicine.  Most doctors do not understand Hypothyroidism. I know that sounds ridiculous but they are following outdated teachings and testing for the wrong things.  You will need to start educating yourself so you can demand the help you need. I tried attaching a chart of all the tests needed to diagnose Hypothyroidism and what real health values should be ...not "low normals". But it was too small to see. Try to google it and see what you get. A functional medicine or naturopath doctor will be the most likely to help you.  Keep looking until you find the right doctor. It isn't easy.  I hope this helps. Keep fighting!


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  • Posted

    Hi Tessa, unfortunately what you're experiencing is typical. Thyroid disease is autoimmune, caused by chemical, radiation and heavy metal exposure and toxicity. 

    Your blood numbers don't look particularly unusual, and in fact appear to be on the low end of normal. However, low numbers combined with symptoms can definitely indicate thyroid disease, as thyroid disease severity does not necessarily correlate with thyroid blood test levels. My experience has been that my blood levels show normal, my TSH has never in several decades, showed more than 2.5. And yet, I have a giant cyst on my thyroid, and severe thyroid symptoms. So I've been on the thyroid roller coaster for several decades, no kidding. 

    I noticed that in all that bloodwork, there is no rT3. Reverse T3 becomes elevated with heavy metal exposure, such as mercury or bromine. R-T3 binds up the most active form of thyroxin, T3, resulting in hypothyroidism that often doesn't show spiked TSH. 

    Take a look at your future, as you proceed on this path to desperately diagnose your thyroid disease, with the assumption that this will lead to effective treatment. Unfortunately, there is no bioidentical thyroid therapy, and no recommendations to curb thyroid disease. In fact, if you look at side effects of thyroid medications, you see a long list of side effects, including thyroid disease. My point is that you may be chasing something that only wastes your time. After all, medication is given and regulated to lower TSH levels to normal. Your levels are already normal, so you'll have a tough time controlling your thyroid disease with meds, even with a diagnosis.

    A way to diagnose other than typical levels, is to look at rT3, and to get a thyroid ultrasound to spdiagnose cysts or goiter that indicate Hashimoto's or Graves..

    Since the root cause of thyroid disease is autoimmune caused most often by toxicity, cleansing (particularly heavy metal cleansing) can be therapeutic in restoring thyroid function. In addition, low levels of animal protein in yiour diet can contribute to hypothyroidism, as your body needs protein to carry out the complex reactions required to maintain thyroid function.

    Lastly, a gluten-free, paleo style diet will go a long way towards curbing thyroid disease. Personally, I've tried 8 different medications, herbs, supplements, diet, you name it. The diet is super important. I've gotten more  symptom relief from amino acid supplement therapy than from any meds. And in fact, the meds were really horrible for me.

    Hoping you can benefit from my years of suffering and save yourself some pain, as your story is so familiar. Hope you get some relief soon!

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  • Posted

    Hi Tessa, forgot to mention, in addition to mercury and bromine, birth control pills are also known to contribute to thyroid disease. 
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  • Posted

    Tessa have you been tested for H Pylori?
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    • Posted

      Tessa the only other things I can think of that would cause hypo like symptoms are vitamin D and/or vitamin B deficiency, low ferritin (which is like your iron stores) and low folate.  Maybe ask to have those tested, they are simple blood tests.  
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    • Posted

      If you look at magnesium deficiency, you'll find the symptoms are vitually the same as for hypothyroid symptoms.

      This is another reason thyroid patients troubleshoot every aspect of their health. Even if you can get treatment, there's no point if you don't get to the source of the problem,

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  • Posted

    Yes also magnesium deficiency as Catherine said should be looked into.  But from what I understand it's hard to pinpoint the actual deficiency as blood testing is inaccurate.  You could try a supplement, the general rule I believe is not to exceed 500 mgs of magnesium a day.  

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    • Posted

      Rose is right on! Easier to add a supplement than several trips to the doc for blood work that doesn't give a full pic anyway. Try it and see if you feel better with the supplements.

      The thing you have to lookout for is the dosing on the supplements. Too low, and it doesn't help enough to notice. Too high, and you could have problems. Magnesium at high doses will send you running to the toilet.

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