Home Thyroid Tests

By: Lauren Browning
Last Updated: August 22, 2018

Reasons to Buy a Home Thyroid Test

Patients can discover if their thyroid is under- or over-functioning by measuring the levels of their thyroid hormones. The results may indicate whether the patient has a thyroid condition and help them determine how to move forward in having it treated. A doctor can request a blood test, but for individuals who want a second opinion or for those who don’t have the means or time to visit a doctor or a lab, using a home thyroid test kit is a practical option.

People interested in taking a home thyroid test include those who have autoimmune disorders or a family history of thyroid disorders and want to monitor how their thyroid is functioning. Others may consider taking the home test kits to determine if they have an under- or overactive thyroid after experiencing changes in their metabolism or mood.

Hyperthyroidism

Too much thyroid hormone in the body.

Symptoms may include:

  • Weak muscles
  • Shakiness
  • Sweating
  • Swelling at the base of the neck where the thyroid is enlarged
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Weight loss that is unexpected
  • Increased appetite
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hair loss

Hypothyroidism

Too little thyroid hormone in the body.

Symptoms include:

  • Tiredness
  • Depression
  • Memory loss
  • Hoarse-sounding voice
  • Weight gain
  • Weak or achy muscles
  • Pain or stiffness in joints
  • Hair loss or thinning hair
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Heavy or irregular periods
  • High blood sugar and/or cholesterol.

Choosing a Test Company

You have options when it comes to choosing a home thyroid test company. Not only that, but some kits test for several thyroid hormones, while others only test for one. Test companies include:

  • Everlywell
  • Let’s Get Checked
  • Health Test Express
  • ZRT Laboratory

The companies differ in what they sell and measure, although most have a basic test kit that measures TSH, as well as a more extensive test kit that measures TSH, Free T3, Free T4, and TPO. Price also differs between companies. The home thyroid test that measures one hormone typically costs around $65, while the kits that look at several hormones cost around $150-$165. Some companies offer discounts on your first order.

What Will the Results Indicate?

An overactive or underactive thyroid is called hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, respectively. In order to determine if you have one of these thyroid conditions, you’ll need to check your TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone) levels. TSH is a hormone that the pituitary gland in the brain produces. It prompts the thyroid gland’s productions of free thyroxine (T4) and free triiodothyronine (T3). Both of these hormones regulate the metabolism.

Most home thyroid tests check for TSH, Free T3 and Free T4. Some also check for TPO (Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies), which indicate antibodies that suppress thyroid function. A few home tests check if TgAb (thyroglobulin) antibodies are present, which would suggest the thyroid gland is damaged and may indicate autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Graves’ disease.

How Do I Take the Test?

1

Buy the home thyroid test.

The test kits can be ordered online and delivered to your home. As soon as the kit arrives, most companies ask that you follow the directions inside the box and register the kit on their website.

2

Prep your hand for collecting the blood.

Some kits suggest washing your hands in warm soapy water or swing your arms before you collect the sample. This encourages blood flow.

Clean and dry your finger. The best location to retrieve the sample is on the 3rd or 4th finger on your non-dominant hand. Use the alcohol swab in the kit to clean the finger you choose to collect the sample from. Dry it with a clean tissue.

3

Prick your finger with the lancet.

Follow the instructions for preparing the lancet. Put it against the rounded edge of your finger and press down. After it pierces the skin, a small drop of blood forms.

4

Collect blood and close the tube.

Use a clean tissue to wipe off the first drop. Keep your hand below your waist when you begin so that gravity helps the blood flow down, into the tube. Gently squeeze the finger so the blood flows into the tube until it reaches the indicated line. If you can’t get enough, use a new lancet on a new finger. Put the lid on the tube and invert it gently several times.

5

Ship it away!

When you’re done, place the sample in the secured bag and mail it back with the prepaid shipping label that’s included. It will ship to a certified lab and results are posted online anywhere from 2-5 days after the company receives the sample.

How Reliable Are the Tests?

Many customers recommend purchasing the full versions of the tests rather than tests that only check for TSH because they learned more about the symptoms they were having. We echo those recommendations; it’s useful to be equipped with more information than only the TSH level, if you can make it work with your budget.

Hormone levels do fluctuate, and thyroid hormone levels are no exception; results of a test may be slightly different from day to day. The FDA doesn’t guarantee the total accuracy of home tests. The best advice is not to let the test replace professional attention from a healthcare provider. After testing, share your results with your doctor or other healthcare provider; he or she can discuss what the results mean and whether additional testing is necessary.

More Home Health Tests

Learn about other at-home health test kits:

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