Low Thyroid? How to Conduct a Basal Temperature Test
The Basal Temperature Test is not to be used as a replacement for a proper medical assessment. Instead it can help you determine whether you may have a thyroid imbalance and a low functioning thyroid gland in particular. Low thyroid function can cause many symptoms ranging from fatigue to difficulty losing weight. Check out my blog “Is an Underactive Thyroid Making You Overweight?”
Because the thyroid gland reflects the body’s metabolic rate and heat is generated during metabolism, assessing body temperature can give clues regarding the function of the thyroid gland.
1. Shake down a thermometer until the mercury falls below 95 degrees Fahrenheit if using an older thermometer. Place it by your bed at night when you retire.
2. Upon waking, before getting up (yes, even to use the bathroom) place the thermometer under your armpit for 10 minutes. Digital thermometers may automatically stop before that. That’s fine. Try to lay in bed as still as possible during this time. Rest and close your eyes. Don’t get up until after the 10 minutes have passed or until a digital thermometer has registered your temperature.
3. Record the temperature, time, and date.
4. Conduct the same test for at least three mornings at the same time each day.
Assessing Your Basal Temperature Test
A healthy resting temperature ranges between 97.8 to 98.2 degrees Fahrenheit or 36.6 to 36.8 degrees Celsius. Natural fluctuations can occur during menstrual cycles. If you are still menstruating, perform the test on the second, third, and fourth days of the menstrual cycle.
Post-menopausal women or men can conduct the tests any days of the month.
If your temperature is consistently lower than the range indicated above for at least three days, this may be an indication of hypothyroidism. Conversely, temperatures consistently higher than this may indicate hyperthyroidism but can also suggest a possible infection. If so, you should see a physician.
If you are working with a naturally-minded physician, be sure to bring the results of your three days of basal temperature tests. If your doctor wants to conduct blood tests to confirm your results, ask him or her to test for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), free T3, free T4, and thyroid antibodies. All four tests give a more accurate picture of the health of your thyroid gland than testing solely for TSH like many doctors do. Actually, many people test normal for their TSH even when they have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism. Check out my blog “Is an Underactive Thyroid Making You Overweight?” for more information.
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