TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone)
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A thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) blood test is used to check for thyroid gland problems. TSH is produced when the hypothalamus releases a substance called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). TRH then triggers the pituitary gland to release TSH.
The TSH test is often the test of choice for evaluating thyroid function and/or symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. It is frequently ordered along with or preceding a T4 test. Other thyroid tests that may be ordered include a T3 test and thyroid antibodies (if autoimmune-related thyroid disease is suspected).
TSH testing is used to:
Diagnose a thyroid disorder in a person with symptoms
Screen newborns for an underactive thyroid
Monitor thyroid replacement therapy in people with hypothyroidism
Diagnose and monitor female infertility problems
Help evaluate the function of the pituitary gland (occasionally)
Screen adults for thyroid disorders, although expert opinions vary on who can benefit from screening and at what age to begin