Three Simple and Free Thyroid Self-Tests You Can Do at Home
Wouldn’t it be great if you could test your thyroid at home, without any needles or visits to the lab?
If you are someone with thyroid symptoms, or even diagnosed thyroid disease, you probably know how hard it is to get the right tests run by your doctor.
The good news is that there are ways to get a general idea of well your thyroid is working, right from the comfort of your own home with no special training or equipment.
Please note: these “at home tests” are not nearly as accurate as blood work, but they are a good starting point and an indication of whether you should press your doctor to run a thyroid panel or order your own thyroid labs. (That’s right, you can order you own thyroid labs without a doctor’s order by clicking here)
Test Yourself at Home
While blood work is great and necessary, it isn’t the only way to look at how well your thyroid is working.
Because your thyroid impacts so many different systems, we can look directly at those systems to get an idea as to how well the thyroid is functioning.
The only downside to using this method is that, in some cases, it can be more than just your thyroid contributing to the test outcome. However, by doing all three at-home test methods, you can get a good idea of how your thyroid is doing and whether further investigation is needed.
The Three At-Home TestsFor Your Thyroid
#1. Your Symptoms
Believe it or not, your symptoms are one of your best clues as to what is happening in your body. We use symptoms as a guide all the time in clinical practice.
Because your thyroid, as a hormone, helps regulate and control many important systems in your body.
If your thyroid is not functioning properly because it is either too high or too low, then you will feel it.
Not only are your symptoms important for diagnosis, but they are also very important when and if you get treatment for your thyroid.
As you attempt to improve your thyroid, either through conventional or natural means, you should see an improvement in your symptoms.
If your symptoms don’t improve, then that may be a sign that you are NOT on the right track.
Look at the main symptoms of poor thyroid function and count how many you have:
- Intolerance to cold and or heat
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Poor appetite
- Hair loss
- Dry, Itchy Skin
- Brittle nails
- Brain Fog, memory issues, difficulty concentrating
- Feeling depressed or down
- Puffy face
- Tingling or Numbness in the hands
- Abnormal Menstrual Cycles (women)
- Bulging Eyes
- Changes in heart rate
- Goiter (enlarged thyroid gland)
If you have more than 5+ symptoms on the above list, then you should proceed on to the tests below.
#2. Your Body Temperature
The second way to approximate thyroid function is by tracking what is known as your basal body temperature.
Your basal body temperature is the lowest temperature that your body gets to.
Many women, especially those trying to conceive, check their basal body temperature daily to try and identify when they ovulate.
You can actually measure this value daily and track it over time and use it as a way to determine how much thyroid hormone your body is producing.
The reason this works is that your thyroid gland helps to manage your metabolism and the number of calories that you burn.
If your thyroid is slow or sluggish then the number of calories that you burn each day will be lower than normal and, as a result, your body temperature may drop. This is why people with hypothyroidism have severe cold intolerance (meaning they don’t like to be cold)!
The exact opposite occurs if you have hyperthyroidism (meaning too much thyroid hormone). If your body is producing too much thyroid hormone then your body temperature will be higher than normal, and you will find yourself sweating when other people are wearing sweaters.
The best way to check your body temperature is the first thing in the morning right before you get out of bed.
This works best if you have a basal thermometer right by your night-stand so that you can use it right when you wake up.
All you need to do is check your body temperature and then keep track of it with a daily log.
You can check your temperature from any location, but I find the most consistent temperature is the under-arm or under the tongue or in the mouth.
This test isn’t the most accurate way to check your thyroid but it’s easy and cheap to do.
It’s not the most accurate because there are many other factors that influence your body temperature, including other hormone imbalances, illness, stress, lack of sleep, and even prescription medications.
#3. Your Resting Heart Rate
Similar to checking your temperature, you can also check your resting heart rate.
This idea runs off a similar principle as your basal body temperature.
Your thyroid helps to regulate and control your heart rate, which is a reflection of how much energy you are burning (your metabolism) and the amount of heat that you produce.
If your thyroid is low, then your resting heart rate tends to be lower than normal as well.
If your thyroid is high, then your resting heart rate tends to be higher than normal.
Monitoring your heart rate is also helpful as you start or adjust your dose of thyroid medication (or thyroid blocking medication) because you should see changes in your heart rate as you influence the thyroid hormone.
If you are taking thyroid medication for hypothyroidism then you should see an increase in your heart rate as you take more medication. This effect is more pronounced with thyroid medications that contain T3.
If you have hyperthyroidism, and you are taking thyroid blocking medication, then you should see your resting heart rate drop down to a more normal level.
Much like checking your body temperature, the best way to check your resting heart rate is first thing in the morning right before you get out of bed.
There are a few ways that you can check your pulse:
The first is to simply place your finger on an artery (usually in your wrist) and count how many times your heart beats in a 15-second time frame.
You can then multiply that by 4 to get the average amount of beats per minute.
You would then keep a journal or log of what your resting heart rate is over the next several weeks.
Another, perhaps easier way, is to use wearable devices such as an Apple Watch, Garmin Watch, or Fitbit. These devices constantly monitor your heart rate and give you both an average heart rate as well as an on-demand heart rate.
Also, much like checking your body temperature, your resting heart rate is subject to influence from other sources not related to your thyroid. These sources include things like illness, medications, being out of shape and high-stress levels.
If any of these tests indicate to you that further investigation is warranted, I highly recommend checking your blood thyroid markers with a full thyroid blood panel that includes the following markers.
- Total T4
- Free T4
- Total T3
- Reverse T3
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody
- Thyroglobulin Antibody
Either ask your doctor to run these for you or you can order your own thyroid test at a deep discount through our lab partner, Ulta Labs. Click here for the test we recommend
Use code: ULTA2886 for an additional 10% off
The good news is that thyroid conditions can be treated naturally, and many people are able to greatly reduce or completely eliminate the need for thyroid medication with a holistic, systems-based approach to health.
Feel free to contact us at [email protected] to learn more about how we can help you heal your thyroid naturally.