Gosh I do have tiredness, fatigue and shortness of breath. I thought maybe this was a part of menopause - I had a total hysterectomy Feb. 08. so who knows what is happening to me now.
I was having a problem with an irregular heartbeat, but it's almost completely stopped now. I just don't understand this low body temp thing going on with me now. Strange how something told me to start taking my temperature and I did and I am glad I did. My normal temp is usually 97.5, somewhere around there.
Low temperatures are a sign that your body doesn't have/can't make enough T3 to keep your temp at 98.6F. Although most endos and GPs poo-poo this as a diagnostic tool, I think they're dead wrong.
I've been fighting illness for 17 years and just now discovered what my low temp may mean. E. Denis Wilson MD believes the syndrome is a famine-survival mechanism in which stress causes the body to shift T4-T3 production to T4-RT3 production to lower body temp. Unfortunately the body can get stuck in this state, and the lowered temp causes non-optimal function of enzymes in the body, and symptoms that go along with that.
Wilson has a treatment protocol for this. Suggest you check out this site:
You can find many sources on body temp linking it to hypothyroidism and the other symptoms you are facing.
Since you suspect your thyroid being a problem - it would be best to google search "hypothyroidism check list" and pull one of those up. It has many things listed on that - you could use to see if anything else matches up with your bodies situation.
This way you can take the list to your doctor and then move forward on getting some labs - that would be the next step. Labs and symptoms can be looked at - and your doctor can decided if thyroid meds may be right for you. There is a wide range when it comes to lab work - so make sure - if you go that route to stop back and tell us how it went.
Instead of debating over Dr. Wilson who had suspected basal temp being linked to hypothyroidism, which it is - let focus on getting this member some information on how to find out if she could be showing signs and guide her to her doctor , so she can be tested accordingly.
We know the story on Dr. Wilson.
A good test to look at for your doctor to see if you are showing signs of thyroid problems would be to ask for a TSH - Free T3 and a Free T4.
You should find some information here in our Health Pages too to help you get some answers. If you can't find the Health Pages - let me know.
Low body tempature can be one symptom of hypothyroidism. But it's only that and not a concrete sign. Therefore, it can't be used as a diagnotic tool. That it was and sometimes still is has been the problem.
Also, by no means, in itself, is low body temperature indicative of a problem with T3. As someone who had the thryoid removed and subsequently gets monitored for issues with T3; never has the subject of low body temperature been broached.
stella5349: "We know the story on Dr. Wilson." ~ There are many who do not. Too many, if you ask me. I am continuously amazed by that and highly recommend they find out.
For an overview of thyroid disease, I recommend the websites and readings from the American Thyroid Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. ...Lest that sound too ethnocentric, there's always the British Thyroid Association.
I had never heard of Dr Wilson until just a while ago when I read another post about Wilson's Temperature Syndrome. A quick search led me to a very informative article by the ATA, which does not recognize the condition because it's too nonspecific. Would be a good thing to add in somewhere so "newbies" like myself don't get caught up in thinking there might be something there for us. Fortunately, I took the time to do the search (a lot of people won't) and I'm glad I looked at the ATA article.
Thank you. You both make points that are part of what I'm always trying to say - if someone (anyone) doesn't say something these things could unknowingly lead someone in an unhealthy, if not dangerous, direction; and there can be many reasons for low temperature.
Once I was dx'd with Lyme, I tried to make all my problems fit that. (After trying to make all my sx fit Thyroid!)
The doctor I see know, looks at me having multiple layers that need fixing, usually one or 2 at a time.
He said- "Let's treat the Lyme and we will see what's left."
Thanks, Thypatient, for being realistic, even when we don't want to hear it! lol
Thank you all so much for all of the info. I see my Endo doctor sometime in March, I think. I see him for an adrenal tumor on my left adrenal gland. He does all of the thyroid tests, well maybe not ALL, but he does quite a few of them. I do recall seeing the TSH, T3 and T4 on his list as tests I am to be tested for.
OK what I want to know is I had a complete hysterectomy in February 2008 and I opted NOT to take hormone replacement therapy - could this have an effect on my thyroid? I am beginning to think it is wrecking havoc on everything from not taking hormones :(
That is one good question and I think a first here like that on the board. I am wondering if getting the hysterectomy could have defaulted you thyroid and possibly some of the adrenal stuff too.
It sure could be thought of as being all connected.
Maybe this would be a good thing to ask Dr Lupo Sunday night too?
I suppose everyone would not know the saga on Dr. Wilson. So I apologize - but I do strongly suggest any member to discuss issues like basal body temp ( in tracking mode) and other possible hypothyroid symptoms with their doctor would be best too. It does fall under many lists of hypothyroidism taking it into consideration other classic symptoms too that many of us know exsist.
Dr Wilson's theories / research- clinicals - whatever we want to call them - are more involved with RT3 - and the court actions were off that more so than a simple thermometer reading.
I think checking a temp - and labs testing - along with an aray of other things is still OK to do to take charge of any possibilities to find out why a person feels aweful.
Sorry- I posted this on another thread, but it probaby fits best here.
No argument -- body temperature is not diagnostic of thyroid state, in that it should not be used by itself to prescribe and medicate. Its value is as an indicator, or symptom, like many others such as fatigue, coldness, etc., but must be validated with the real diagnostic, which is a full panel of blood tests. Body temperature may have even more value than other patient symptoms, in that it is an objective measure, meaning that it can be measured and assigned a number. Other symptoms are subjective, since they can only be described in general terms such as heavy or light. If we accepted that body temperature should be ignored, then similarly all other symptoms should be ignored, since they are not diagnostic either.
Body temperature was a much more valuable tool in past years when thyroid blood testing was less accurate than today and doctors considered any TSH reading under 5.0 as "normal".
Of course body temperature, as well as the other symptoms, can be affected by factors other than thyroid and metabolism levels, but this should not preclude any symptom from being considered as part of the overall picture. Carefully checked, normal body temperatures, have a high degree of correlation with metabolic rate. This is a link to a study on that.
In my own case many years ago, low basal temperature (96.9) and other symptoms led me to question the diagnosis of "normal", when my TSH was slightly below 5.0. This eventually led to Synthroid (T4) medication, at a full daily replacement level of 200 mcg. Even then it did not fully alleviate my symptoms and my basal temperature peaked at 97.2 or so. Only after learning about the importance of free T3 testing, and requesting FT4 and FT3 testing, did I get a clue as to why. Even though my total T4 level was at the very extreme of its range, my free T3 level was at the bottom of its range, due to conversion problems, which occur infrequently. Since being switched to a T4/T3 med. 6 weeks ago, my free T3 has already increased to the mid-point of the range, my basal temp. has increased to about 97.6, and I feel the best ever. My symptomatic low basal temp. did not indicate a free T3 problem, but it did help identify for me that I still had a potential problem of less than optimal metabolism, which needed to be pursued through additional blood testing. I still have one more slight increase in Armour thyroid to go. Will be interesting to get to the full effect.
stella5349: The court action of Dr. Wilson was that of a wrongful death suite stemming from him having built a medical practice around the belief that low body temperature was a sign of thyroid disease. From there the picture obviously got uglier.
Again, taking your temperature and finding out it's low is only going to indicate that you have what might be one symptom.
(I don't know what anyone else wants to call the whole Wilson Syndrome idea; but from what I've learned - I call it a sideshow filled with nonsense!)
kitty9309: It sounds like you have a good dr. I hope everything works out and I wish you well.
Twilight Princess: I wish you well too, really. Having an adrenal tumor, plus you're fairly recent hysterectomy, probably does complicate your situation further than what could be speculated upon here. I agree with stella5349 that thinking about asking the dr from the other forum his opinion would probably be best here.
Where is this website where I can post my question? I really do wonder if having the hysterectomy and not taking hormones is creating these problems for me. I totally haven't felt like myself in months :(
I tend to be hypothyroid and my body temperature has been lower than normal, though not quite as low as yours. Thyroid disease and body temperature are inextricably linked, since the thyroid regulates body temperature as part of the endocrine system.
Yes, body temperature is useful as a symptom of low metabolism and potentially low thyroid levels, for followup with blood testing. I've wondered why it doesn't always get shown as one of the symptoms of thyroid problems, along with the many others such as fatigue, etc. Perhaps it has been somewhat discredited because of being incorrectly used in the past by a few such as Dr. Wilson, as a diagnostic to determine some misguided treatment.
Since body temperature can be measured objectively and correlated with basal metabolism more accurately than the many subjective symptoms, I think it should actually be shown at the top of the list of symptoms to be considered.
I couldn't agree more. In fact, my abnormally low body temperature was one of the first things that tipped me off to something being wrong. When your temperature is consistently 1.5 - 2 degrees lower than it generally is, that's your body telling you something is wrong--much like a fever. If your body temperature suddenly drops to < 96 degrees and stays in that range for an extended period of time (a day or two), it is considered a medical problem that should be evaluated as soon as possible. Yet there isn't any standard for evaluating temperatures between 96 and 98.6 degrees, even if you aren't normally that temperature! If any of my doctors paid attention to my temperature in conjunction with my slightly elevated TSH and the countless other symptoms, I'd probably be taking medication to treat my hypothyroidism right now...but sadly, that's not the case.
My question to all of you who constantly argue about the relevance of body temperature as it relates to thyroid disease is this: How do you take an effective measure of your body's temperature? What tool is used?
I have EVERY thermometer known to man. As do my sisters who have small children. I have a basal thermometer I purchased when I was trying to conceive. I bought an expensive thermoscan ear thermometer when I had my daughter. What a waste. It makes me laugh to use it on her as she'd be dead if she really had a temperature that low. (And yes, I do know how to use it!)
The only reliable method of taking a body's temperature as far as I'm concerned is a good old fashioned mercury thermometer. But alas, the last one I owned (and I'm sure the last one on the planet...) slipped through my then 5 year old's hands and shattered to peices about a year ago. (Much to my horror!)
Through the years I've purchased a slew of other digital thermometers which, in my opinion, are only good for land fill fodder! I mostly use the old cheek on the forehead method and rely on my gut instincts as a mother, as to whether or not to send my child to school. If we were to only use these tools, in my opinion, everyone would be below 98.6 and technically hypothyroid.
My point I guess, is this. How can basal body temperature be used as a good or bad diagnostic tool for thyroid issues, when we, the mothers of the world, can't even get a correct temperature for something as simple and frightening as a child's cold?
I'm glad to know that I now may have the last remaining mercury thermometer on the planet. So I am now going to keep it under lock and key while I accept bids on it. LOL
Since I have only been using this thermometer, obviously accuracy has not been a question for me. I can't speak to the accuracy of today's digital thermometers, however, I had seen a Consumers Report review that also would not recommend ear or forehead contact type of thermometers.
"The more expensive ear thermometers take a reading in just one second. However, Consumer Reports found the readings might not be reliable….The forehead thermometer from Exergen is slid across the forehead to get a temperature. Yet at $50, it is also pricey and was not especially precise. The $10 Accu-Beep digital thermometer from BD did the best job. It beeps when properly placed under the tongue and gives an accurate reading in sixty seconds. If you want a thermometer reading even faster, Consumer Reports found two other very good performers that cost $13. They are the Vick's Comfort-Flex and Omron 20 Seconds Digital. Both thermometers will give a reading in 30 seconds or less."
There was no indication of what they consider as accurate on the ones they did recommend. For most accurate results it's always best to check several times and average the results. To be symptomatic of low metabolism and possibly low thyroid, I believe that average body temperature differential from normal would be several orders of magnitude greater than the variability of even a digital thermometer.
I have 3 digital therms and use ALL of them to try and get an idea of what my body temp is. Funny some of you mention the old fashioned mercury glass therm - I bet mine is somewhere hidden in the bathroom. I will have to look.
Anyway, I always believed that it can go both ways with the body temp - if it's higher than 98.6 then there is something wrong and if it's lower than 97 then there is also something wrong. Last night I took it before I went to bed and it was 95.3 - is that too low? I am really starting to worry because I have also been feeling VERY cold lately. I know here in NY it is cold, but I have NEVER felt cold like this before.
I would certainly follow up with some blood testing for possible thyroid issues. If you do, insist that free T3 and free T4, be checked along with TSH. If you want to do some reading on thyroid problems, here is a good site I found.
I have been recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism and less recently with Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease. My body temp usually ranges from 95.5 to 97.5. My body temp used to be spot on 98.6. What are the repercussions of having body temps below 97 on a regular basis?
“Anyway, I always believed that it can go both ways with the body temp - if it's higher than 98.6 then there is something wrong and if it's lower than 97 then there is also something wrong.” ~ True. And we need a dr to help decipher what’s really going on, as ‘something’ could mean ‘anything’ - not only hypothyroidism.
I can share… The other day I went to my endo appt where the dr, as usual, painstakingly goes through a symptoms’ list. At one point he asked me if I was ‘feeling’ colder than usual at all. At no point did he ask me if I’d taken my own basal body temperature or if I knew what it was. In fact, while I was there no one took my temperature either.
As far as body temperature goes – it’s part of a list of symptoms.
Have you ever been evaluated by an endocrinologists? With all the issues you’ve touched on, that might be a good idea at this point.
Also, in noting the issues you’ve touched on that you’re experiencing; I can add that I would recommend that as you seek out information to stick with reputable sources - like the American Thyroid Association, The Endocrine Society and teaching universities.
I was thinking ... why don't you make up a Health Page with everybody's viewpoints on Dr. Wilson .... and maybe when the topic comes up refer the member to this health page that's been created by a few thyroid members who have differeing viewpoints and maybe that will give the member everybody's view without having to retype it each time??
Just a thought.
My daughter gets low temps before getting ill .. her thyroid is fine.
I use a digital thermometer. What is important to remember when using these is the location of the thermometer when you're taking a temperature reading--the temperature will vary by a degree or so if it's being taken under the tongue, rather than the armpit.
Regardless of how "exact" the digital thermometer's reading is, if you place it in the same location each time, and you notice a change in the reading from one day to the next, chances are, your temperature has actually changed by that absolute amount. For example, if your temperature is 98.2 today and you measure it tomorrow as 96.8, it's very likely that your temperature did increase by 0.6 degrees. Whether or not your thermometer is calibrated and started at the correct temperature and ended at a correct temperature, doesn't mean that your temperature did not actually change from one day to the next. The thermometer does have a certain accuracy, provided you give it time to thermally equilibrate, and assuming you're using it it the same location each time (improves accuracy). Even if your temperature isn't exactly 98.8 at that moment in time, you'll still be able to say, "My temperature increased over the past day by approximately 0.6 degrees."
What I do before taking my temperature (generally, I put the thermometer under my tongue) is to let the thermometer reach thermal equilibrium by waiting a minute or two until I take a reading. Then, just to be sure the temperature is accurate, I will repeat the reading once or twice until the thermometer's reading is no longer increasing or decreasing. This gives me my change in temperature as compared to the last reading, and I know that it's fairly close, if not the actual, temperature.
Honestly, I don't know much about Dr. Wilson and the reason I look to temperature as an indicator of something wrong with my body is because there is a physiological basis behind body temperature, and from learning about this, I find temperature readings to be useful as "data" to consider along with the rest of my symptoms, or lack thereof.
Thanks everyone for your comments :) I did say that I see my Endo in March, but I was wrong - it's April when I see him again, but I think I will be calling and making an appointment to see him sooner. I feel cold most of the time now and this is not normal for me - GOSH! I was having hot flashes and now it's been cold flashes! Ever hear of such a thing?
No question that basal body temperature can be affected by problems other than just thyroid. It is not a diagnostic, it is just one of a number of symptoms of low metabolism and possibly low thyroid. In my biased opinion I think it is a better symptom than others such as fatigue since temperature is objective, i.e. it can be measured and described by a number, as opposed to others such as fatigue. Basal body temperature has also been shown to have a high degree of correlation to basal metabolism.
I don't see anyone debating whether we should accept fatigue, or depression, or hair loss, or "brain fog" as symptoms, even though these subjective symptoms can also be affected by many factors besides thyroid. So I'm at a loss as to why basal temperature continues to attract so much discussion. Perhaps it is because of being incorrectly used in the past by a few such as Dr. Wilson, as a diagnostic, by which to determine some misguided treatment. That is a totally unrelated to using basal temperature as a symptom.
In summary, I see no good reason to deny or ignore basal temp. as a symptom. I think a low basal body temperature is not normal, is indicative of low metabolism, and is a good reason to go in for more testing to determine underlying causes, whether it be thyroid or otherwise.
In your case, a TSH of .13 is below the recommended low limit, but do you have hyper symptoms as well? I had a TSH that was suppressed below .2 for many years (and therefore considered hyper by many), because of taking too much T4 med.. But I never had hyper symptoms along with it. In fact, even at that level I actually still had mild hypo symptoms and a moderately low body temp. of 97.2. Only recently did I learn the underlying cause, which was poor conversion of T4 to T3. Even though only recently switching to Armour thyroid my TSH is increasing, FT3 has moved from 2.3 up to 3.0, my basal temp. has increased to its highest level ever at 97.6, and I'm feeling best ever, symptom wise. FWIW
I am not thinking of the one symptom (low body temp) as the only symptom to "think" I have hypo. I am also gaining weight for no reason, have fatigue, and I am depressed. I know I have low metabolism because I also have no energy at all. It is the pits when word gets back to me that some people were saying I am lazy - they haven't a clue what is really going on with me.
"It is the pits when word gets back to me that some people were saying I am lazy..." ~ Based on what you've touched on here; it's sad to read that you've had to hear feedback like that. I wish you well with everything.
Channel your anger at those uncalled remarks into new energy from within .... do something to help another person, or do something you enjoy and can relax from (for me, it's lighting a nice candle) .... buy imaginary earplugs and wear a tough alligator skin .. those two things help a lot ...
Ignorance I have no time for when others judge harshly w/o wisdom or knowledge!
You are in the right place here ......................VENT AWAY!
HI. I am 42. I have been on bioidentical hormone replacement for 2 mos. I have felt a little better but I still feel tired and irritable. I am always cold lately worse than ever and have gained some wt despite the fact that I work out and watch calorie intake. I went back to the doctor and had thyroid test done and of course I was told it was normal. I know I am hypothyroid because I have alot of the symptoms and my body temp is always low. This doctor will not help me! I need help! My body temp is always around 96.2-96.5. My TSH was 0.825, free T4 was 1.46 and free T3 was 3.0.
As far as thyroid treatment, most doctors are hung up in one of two ways. Either they have the "Immaculate TSH Belief" and use TSH as the sole diagnostic, or they also use FT4 and/or FT3, but interpret anything within the ranges as "normal", requiring nothing further.
Neither of these approaches really works. TSH is a pituitary hormone that is affected by so many variables that it is inadequate as a diagnostic. At best it is an indicator, to be considered along with more important indicators such as symptoms, and also the levels of the biologically active thyroid hormones, free T3 and free T4. FT3 is the more important of these because it largely regulates metabolism and many other body functions. Studies have shown that it correlates best with hypo symptoms, while TSH and FT4 did not correlate very well at all.
FT3 and FT4 test results in the lower part of the range frequently isn't adequate to relieve symptoms, either. I won't go into the details, but the ranges are far too broad. Members frequently report that symptom relief for them required that FT3 was adjusted into the upper part of its range and FT4 adjusted to at least midpoint of its range.
It is good that you have at least been tested for FT3 and FT4, along with TSH. What you need now is a good thyroid doctor that will treat you clinically, by testing and adjusting FT3 and FT4 adequately to relieve symptoms. Symptom relief should be all important, not test results.
If you will read through this link I think you will find it very interesting. It was written by a good thyroid doctor. It is sent to the PCP of patients consulting with the author from a distance. It is intended to help the PCP in treatment of the patient. It makes pretty clear that clinical treatment is best.
There is a book by Dr. Broda Barnes. It is old but his extensive research clearly links low basal body temp to Thyroid. I wouldn't say that he used it SOLELY as the indicator. But it was used at least if not more effectively as TSH as an indicator. Combined with other symptoms.
In his book he also documents the direct connection to women having menstrual issues. Many leading to hysterectomy's. And when going back and checking many women who had hysterectomy's he showed that a huge vast percentage of those women were found to by hypothyroid. Which leads one to ask the question of the possibility if they had properly treated the hypothyroid condition, would they have needed the hysterectomy? No one know for sure.
Anyhow in his book he states that the only way to accurately take a basal body temp is to put a basal thermometer or old mercury thermometer on the night stand by your bed. And the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning moving as little as possible is to put the thermometer under your arm and lay as near to motionless as possible for 15 minutes. Then record your temp. The under arm temp should be for normal rage between I believe it was 97.8 and 98.2. If below that temp it is an INDICATION you my be Hypo. If over the max range you MAY be hyper. He found that treating thyroid with meds the symptoms would diminish until somewhere within this range.
For women in his book he gave a guide as to when in the menstrual cycle these temps can be taken. For a man it can be any day.
Also we have to remember that just like the reference range on TSH or any blood lab, ranges are made up of a large group of people. Some are warmer and some are cooler. What is normal for any one individual varies. Also remember that the 98.6 or whatever temp is also made up by a percentage of the population that is hypo. Also a smaller percentage that is hyper. So how that relates to you is completely custom tailored to you and your body.
All I can say is that my wife took her temp and she would never get above 97.0. Since then the blood labs showed she needed increased dosage of T4 meds. Her symptoms are going away. And she no longer needs to be wrapped up all day and have the electric heating blanket on high all night. She now is just under regular blankets and doesn't have to wear socks to bed anymore.
TSH is like a thermostat in your house that tells the furnace to start up and start putting out heat. The Thyroid is the furnace. If the furnace is not running or not running enough or efficiently, just like your house, it will not get warm.(or too hot if hyper) Neither will you if your thyroid is not putting out.
I was diagnosed with Hashimotos Thyroid disease several years ago but not before the damage led to the removal of my entire thyroid gland. For over 10 years Drs would take one look at my neck and my symptoms and ask if my thyroid had been check recently. And as always my levels would come back completely within range so thyroid disease was ruled out, that is until one endocrinologist just wasn't satisfied that it wasn't thyroid related and humbled himself to call in another specialist who immediately asked if I had been tested for Hashimotos Autoimmune thyroid disease. The test came back positive!
And as far as body temperature goes, used to be a normal of around 99.5-100 when I was a teen and in early 20's but as the disease progressed and especially after my thyroid surgery it ranges from 96 to 100 depending on my thyroid. I can go from hypo to hyper (or vice versa ) in 6 weeks or less. My blood is drawn every 6 wks to 3 months depending on how drastic the change was in my previous levels and my meds are adjusted accordingly.
I started on 150 mcg of levothroid and now my meds range from 75 mcg - 125 mcg .
It never ceases to amazes me at just what all you thyroid effects and the wide range of symptoms and conditions. And can be over looked and misdiagnosed as everything from childhood and adult A.D.D. and depression to diabetes and hundreds of things in between and goes hand in hand with other autoimmune diseases like Celiac, Graves and Chromes disese !. Good luck
I was just reading this and have had a normal range body temperature from 95's to mid 96's for years now. that's taken in the mouth at home and at doctors offices. I know as far as this winter Ive done pretty well outside with tshirt and jacket on in 30's- 40 degree weather, though other time periods Ive been colder than other people, I don't think the coldness I feel is particularly un-normal. I got tested for thyroid from the doctor because of fatigue shes been trying to convince me Im "sad"(aka depressed) shes said its normal twice in the last 3 years now. I didn't know what could cause low temp but knew there could be something to it. If it's not thyroid what could it be? I kept having low counts of white blood cells for a while but the test a month ago came back normal finally. yesterday my temp was 96 and today it's 96.4 normal temps for me.
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