Question: My doctor has slowly increased my dosage of natural thyroid hormone from 0.25 to 2 grams per day, but my temperature continues to average 96.5 degrees. Is it safe to continue increasing the dosage?
Dr. Brownstein's Answer:
The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone, which has many important functions in the human body. Thyroid hormone helps regulate the metabolic rate of all the body’s cells. As a consequence, the increased metabolic rate can be reflected in a basal body temperature.
A normal basal body temperature averages 97.8 to 98.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Hypothryoidism, or an underactive thyroid condition, often results in a low basal body temperature.
I have my patients monitor their condition by taking basal body temperature readings. However, there are other ways to monitor thyroid levels, including blood tests and physical exam.
However, I also teach doctors that how patients are feeling is much more important than any single test, including basal body temperature. If a patient is feeling well on a particular thyroid dose, but still has low basal body temperatures, many times I will not adjust the thyroid dosage.
Basal body temperatures provide useful information, but adjusting the thyroid dosage based solely on the basal body temperatures is not the correct treatment plan.
Thyroid dosing can be altered based on the information obtained from a complete history and physical exam, appropriate lab tests, and checking basal body temperatures. Utilizing all the information before adjusting thyroid dosages is the best way to go.