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Temperature Test for Hypothyroidism

There is considerable evidence that blood tests fail to detect many causes of hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). It appears that many individuals have ‘tissue resistance’ to thyroid hormone. Therefore, their body may need more thyroid hormone, even though the amount in their blood is normal or even on the high side of normal. A low axillary temperature suggests (but does not prove) hypothyroidism. We frequently recommend a therapeutic trial with thyroid medication in individuals with typical hypothyroid symptoms and low body temperature. This approach to thyroid therapy in controversial and is currently outside the medical mainstream.

Fatigue, depression, difficulty concentrating, difficulty getting up in the morning, cold hands and feet or intolerance to cold, constipation, loss of hair, fluid retention, dry skin, poor resistance to infection, high cholesterol, psoriasis, eczema, acne, premenstrual syndrome, loss of menstrual periods, painful or irregular menstrual periods, excessive menstrual bleeding, infertility (male or female), fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts.

1.)   If using a Mercury Thermometer, shake it down to 96 degrees or less before going to bed. In the morning, as soon as you wake up, put the thermometer deep in your armpit for 10 minutes and record the temperature.

2.)   If using a Basal Digital Thermometer, in the morning, as soon as you wake up, place it under your tongue until it beeps. Do this before you get out of bed, have anything to eat or drink, or engage in any activity. This will measure your lowest temperature of the day, which correlates with thyroid gland function.

3.)   The normal basal temperature averages 97.8-98.2 degrees F. We frequently recommend treatment if the temperature averages 97.6 or less. The temperature should be taken for five days. However if the temperature is 97.0 degrees or less for three consecutive days, you do not need to take the last two temperatures.

4.)   For pre-menopausal women, the temperature should be taken starting the second day of menstruation. That is because considerable temperature rise may occur around the time of ovulation and give incorrect results. Do not do the test when you have an infection or any other condition which would raise your temperature.


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4 comments on “Temperature Test for Hypothyroidism
  1. Christopher Gagnon says:

    This sounds like great advice and a good protocol. But I wish the article included more discussion about treating with thyroid hormones when blood tests show high levels of thyroid hormones (or, alternatively, extremely low or even suppressed TSH).

    Why? Because I’ve a relative who, like me, has diagnosed hypothyroidism, and like me, takes Armour. Her TSH is very low, and free T3 and T4 levels are in the normal range. But her temps usually run cool even at the height of her day–around ~96-97ish. When her temp actually gets to 98 or 99, she feels feverish–because for her, that’s a fever. She also has diagnosed adrenal insufficiency and takes HCL for that. She’s been suffering a LOT of fatigue, and in particular, extreme difficulty waking, getting going in the morning. She can sleep 10 hours and wake up exhausted.

    Her relatively competent endo (a rarity in mainstream medical industry) lets her keep her TSH low, but might not want her to take even more Armour. But it might be just what she needs.

    Can you recommend more information on this concept, since you acknowledge that it’s outside the mainstream?

  2. Dr E says:

    Hi Chris
    I would look at where in the “normal” range the T3 and T4 actually are. Generally if T3 is low, I add a small amount of T3 (like 5 mcg of cytomel)

  3. Raine says:

    I also tried to leave a message on your glandular post but it wouldn’t post. I wonder if you could clear up some confusion I have… After recently being diagnosed with low thyroid and told I need a thyroid drug, I also learned that I have an adrenal issue. I heard that it is important to address the adrenals first before treating thyroid. I’m wondering if this is true? Not sure what to do!

  4. Dr E says:

    There’s no “which one first” requirement. Start your thyroid as prescribed by your doctor and also start an adrenal glandular. Likely you’ll have to remain on the thyroid but usually the adrenal can be dicontinued in 2-3 months

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