What Is the TSH Level in the Thyroid?


Quick Answer

TSH refers to thyroid-stimulating hormone, while TRH is thyrotropin-releasing hormone, states WebMD. When the hypothalamus releases TRH, the TRH prompts the pituitary gland to release TSH.

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Full Answer

TSH is responsible for the thyroid gland’s production of two hormones, T3 and T4, which help control metabolism and are necessary for normal brain growth. T3 and T4 levels may be tested at the same as the TSH level, according to WebMD.

TSH-level tests are administered to help determine whether the thyroid gland is working properly, says WebMD. An overactive thyroid is known as hyperthyroidism and can cause rapid heart rate, weight loss, nervousness, irregular menstrual periods and several other health problems. An underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism, can cause fatigue, weight gain, constipation and dry skin.

TSH levels may also be tested to find the cause of an underactive thyroid gland, explains WebMD. TSH levels can tell a doctor whether an underactive thyroid is caused by damage to the thyroid gland or another cause, such as a problem with the hypothalamus or pituitary gland. High TSH levels may indicate hypothyroidism, a tumor on the pituitary gland or a dosage of thyroid hormone medicine that is too small, while low levels may indicate hyperthyroidism, pituitary gland damage, benign thyroid nodule or that the patient is taking too much thyroid medicine.

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