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Thyroid-stimulating hormones (TSH) tests monitor thyroid function. At-home TSH tests provide a reliable and cost-effective way for people to test their thyroid at home.
A TSH, or thyrotropin, test is a blood test that looks at levels of thyroid-stimulating hormones in the blood. Doctors use the results to see how well the thyroid is functioning.
TSH can vary throughout life, depending on age, sex, and weight. Levels can also fluctuate throughout pregnancy. TSH can also fluctuate during a
Different laboratories may use slightly different average TSH levels. Laboratories will look at a range of TSH levels in the healthy adult population to decide what is normal.
However, the typical TSH level ranges for healthy adults are between 0.4–4.0 milliunits per liter (mU/I). High TSH levels may suggest a person has an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism), and low TSH levels may indicate a person has an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
According to the American Thyroid Association (ATA), there are no specific symptoms of hypothyroidism. Many underactive thyroid symptoms can occur in people with other health conditions. The length of time a person experiences symptoms may indicate whether they have this condition. The longer a person has experienced the symptoms, the less likely they are to have hypothyroidism.
People with an underactive thyroid may experience the following symptoms:
- sensitivity to cold temperatures
- weight gain
- muscle cramps, pain, and weakness
- dry and scaly skin, brittle hair, and nails
- loss of sex drive (libido)
- pain, numbness, or tingling in the hands and fingers (carpal tunnel syndrome)
- heavy or irregular periods
Hyperthyroidism has clearer symptoms than hypothyroidism, although some may have associations with other health conditions. People with have an overactive thyroid may experience the following symptoms:
- nervousness and irritability
- bulging eyes
- increased sweating and sensitivity to heat
- swelling in the neck
- fast heartbeat
- anxiety and difficulty sleeping
- thinning of the skin
- brittle hair
- muscle weakness
- frequent bowel movements and diarrhea
- weight loss
- lighter or irregular periods
Graves’ disease is the most common condition associated with an overactive thyroid gland. About 3 out of 4 people with an overactive thyroid have the disease. Graves’ disease is more common in young or middle-aged females and people who smoke.
According to a
However, individuals should not use any at-home test as a substitute for speaking with a doctor. Healthcare professionals can help people interpret the test results and offer treatment if necessary.
There are several at-home TSH tests available to purchase online. All the following products use finger prick testing to obtain a blood sample.
Please note, the writer has not tested these products. All information is research-based.
This product tests for TSH, T3, and T4 levels and is available as a one-off purchase or a subscription. LetsGetChecked recommends that people take this test if they:
- have symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism
- have a family history of thyroid conditions
- have an autoimmune condition, such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease
A person must activate the kit and take their sample by 9.00 a.m. and send this test off the same day. They will receive their test results within 5 days. The company offers a free follow-up phone consultation to discuss the test results.
LetsGetChecked states that people usually do not need to fast when taking this test.
This test screens for TSH, T3, and T4 levels and the presence of thyroid antibodies. Everlywell offers pre-paid shipping both ways, digital and printable results, and follow-up consultation.
The company recommends the following people take this test:
- people over 50 years of age
- people who have been pregnant in the last 6 months
- people who have had lithium treatment for 6 or more months
- people who have had iodine exposure or deficiency
- people who smoke
- people who have had radiation exposure, especially around the neck.
Individuals will receive their test results within days of sending the test off for analysis.
This female-only thyroid test screens for TSH levels only. Imaware recommends taking this test within 3 hours of waking up. Individuals do not need to fast before testing.
People will receive their test results within 7 days. A doctor reviews all test results to ensure third-party accuracy.
Imaware recommends the following people take this test:
- females over the age of 60
- females over the age of 50 who have thyroid concerns
- people who have a family history of thyroid conditions
- people who have been pregnant within the last 6 months
- people who have had neck surgery or radiation treatment
- people who have type 1 diabetes.
This test is only available for those who are 18 years of age or older.
This test screens for TSH, T3, and T4 levels and the presence of thyroid antibodies. Paloma Health states that this test is suitable for people who have received a diagnosis for a thyroid condition or believe they may have one.
The company offers additional testing for reverse T3 and vitamin D levels. Individuals can add this to their purchase when choosing their test.
A licensed doctor reviews each test in the United States. Individuals will receive their test results within 1 week of testing.
Paloma Health states that this test is only available for those who are over 18 years of age. This test is currently not available to those outside the United States, nor is it available to those who live in New Jersey, New York, or Rhode Island.
People experiencing signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism should see a healthcare professional for diagnosis and treatment.
If a person does not receive treatment for hypothyroidism, they may experience high cholesterol, goiters, pregnancy complications, and myxedema coma. Myxedema coma is potentially life-threatening and causes confusion, hypothermia, and drowsiness. This condition requires emergency medical treatment.
People experiencing symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism may benefit from a TSH test to monitor how well their thyroid is working. At-home TSH tests can be a reliable and accurate way to measure TSH levels.
People should not use an at-home test as an alternative to contacting a doctor. Thyroid conditions can cause serious complications if a person does not receive treatment.