Are home thyroid tests reliable?

You can test your thyroid at home by looking for hypothyroid symptoms and measuring body temperature and pulse rate. This can get you a reliable indication of your thyroid function.

Below you find a list of some common symptoms of hypothyroidism. Instructions and tables are also given for measuring your pulse and temperature.

If you have several of the symptoms listed and your body temperature and pulse rate are consistently significantly below 98.6°F (37 °C) and 85 beats per minute, you might have a problem with your thyroid function. 

In our Hypothyroid Treatment Program, you can learn much more about your thyroid function, how hypothyroidism affects your health, and how to support your metabolism with diet and lifestyle. 

temperature-thyroid function
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

The low cellular energy production of hypothyroidism leads to many different symptoms. Some common symptoms are listed below.

thyroid function and body temperature?

When you measure your temperature to evaluate your thyroid function, you can use a digital thermometer under the tongue. You can also use your eardrum temperature. Often the eardrum temperature is easier to use, as the oral temperature will be affected by any warm or cold drink you might have been consuming before measuring. The normal oral and eardrum temperature for adults is about 98.6° F (37° C). A body temperature significantly below 98.6° F (37° C) is an indication of hypothyroidism (low thyroid function).

Temperatures of a good thyroid function  

Mouth37.0°C – 37.5°C (98.6°F – 99.5°F)
Ear37.0°C – 38°C (98.6°F – 100.4°F)

Oral method (in the mouth)

  • Carefully place the tip of the thermometer under the tongue.
  • With your mouth closed, leave the thermometer in place for about 1 minute until you hear the “beep”
  • Remove the thermometer and read the temperature

Eardrum method (in the ear)

  • Gently tug on the ear, pulling it back. This will help straighten the ear canal and make a clear path inside the ear to the eardrum
  • Gently insert the thermometer until the ear canal is fully sealed off
  • Squeeze and hold down the button for 1 second
  • Remove the thermometer and read the temperature


Thyroid function and pulse rate?

Often doctors talk about a low pulse rate as healthy. An athlete’s resting heart rate may be low because exercise strengthens the heart muscle. It allows the heart to pump a greater amount of blood with each heartbeat. More oxygen is thereby delivered to the muscles with each beat. This means the heart beats fewer times per minute than it would in a nonathlete. However, if you are not an athlete and you are not exercising significantly, a low pulse rate can be an indication of hypothyroidism. A low pulse rate will result in the cells receiving less blood and oxygen resulting in many of the symptoms of low thyroid function. 

According to Dr. Ray Peat, your pulse rate is an indicator of thyroid function. A person with good thyroid function will have a resting pulse rate of about 80-85 beats per minute.  Thus using pulse rate and temperature measurements together with symptoms is a good indication of your thyroid function. 

You can use your fingers on the wrist to measure your pulse, you can also use a  blood pressure monitor either for the upper arm or the wrist. These provide you your blood pressure together with your pulse rate. 

Can Stress Affect My Thyroid?

Hypothyroid people often compensate for the low cellular energy by increasing the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol). The stress hormones can keep the body temperature and pulse rate artificially up. Often the stress hormones are high in the morning before eating breakfast.  

Sometimes the adrenaline is up to 40 times higher in a hypothyroid person compared to a person with good thyroid function, this leads to a very high pulse rate, which can create problems with falling asleep and waking up during the night. The high adrenaline also tends to cause cold hands, feet, and nose.

If the stress hormones are high, there will be a drop in temperature and pulse rate to the hypothyroid level after breakfast, as the stress hormones are allowed to normalize, with the increased blood sugar. 

By measuring the temperature and pulse rate before and after breakfast, it is possible to separate the effect of the stress hormones from the actual thyroid function.

Dr.-Ray-Peat thyroid-test

Use Pulse And Temperature To Test For Hypothyroidism?

Keeping a chart for 14 days of both temperature (taken orally, under the tongue) and pulse rate measured before and after breakfast will give a good impression of the metabolic rate, as well as the stress hormones. You can find tables to note down your measurements below. 

It is important that the breakfast contains protein, salt, and good carbohydrates in order for the stress hormones to come down; it could be eggs with salt and orange juice or cheese with fruits. 

It is good to wait about 20 minutes after breakfast to take them after breakfast measurements. Normally, the temperature and pulse rate will increase when eating breakfast to values of about 98.6°F (37 °C) and 80-85 beats per minute respectively. These values indicate good thyroid function and should stay stable during the day. 

Hot weather or sleeping under an electric blanket increases the body temperature towards normal in a hypothyroid person, thus in these situations, the temperature is not valid and the pulse rate is the important factor in determining the thyroid function.

If some form of thyroid medication is used, this temperature and pulse method is a good way to evaluate the effect of the medication. You can read more about thyroid replacement therapy in Module 16 of  BiochemNordic’s health program. 

Our thyroid specialist Benedicte Mai Lerche  MsC Ph.D. does video consultations with people from all over the world.

In these online sessions, we discuss your symptoms, and your pulse and temperature measurements are used to evaluate your thyroid function. Our thyroid diet advice is fine-tuned to your needs. Nutritional supplements, hormonal support compounds, and possible thyroid replacement therapy are included according to your needs. We offer both a single session and a consultation package with three sessions.

Dr. Ray Peat thyroid counseling