Last night I was doing some research for a friend who is struggling with thyroid issues, and I came across a reference to the Barnes Basal Temperature Test. Suddenly I remembered this is a big part of my personal thyroid story, that I usually do mention in the short, conversational version.
I usually just say, "My naturopath put me on a little-known medication as a last resort, and while it actually made my symptoms worse, it helped me finally make the decision to give up on medicine and try natural methods instead."
But here's what really happened.... the long version.
I had tried several of the major thyroid medications, including Naturethroid, but each time my doctor increased my dosage I only got very temporary relief, followed by a round of exhaustion and weight gain. I hated taking medicine, but what I hated even more was taking it, and it not working!
My doctor (this was the 2nd doctor I'd seen for thyroid issues, who thank goodness was also a believer in the benefits of naturopathic remedies) was always asking me about my stress levels, and I was always saying I wasn't stressed. Clearly she didn't believe me because she gave me pills for relaxation, including lavender pills.
I finally admitted that my job was stressful and I had crazy working hours (like waking up at 2 am or getting home at 4am), but I never mentioned all my relationship stress. That was just beyond what I was ready to deal with at this point.
But even with just the job-related information, she explained that my adrenals were a factor in my thyroid issue, as I was draining them with little sleep and constant stress. We also discussed my own research about reverse T3 and how that was likely the main thyroid malfunction in my case. She completely agreed, and when the medication continued to fail me after months and month of trying to find the right dose, she finally recommended a course of action that she described as "somewhat experimental."
[If you aren't familiar with Reverse T3, please do yourself a favor and google it. This could be the information that makes all the difference for you!]
You've probably guessed that this experimental treatment has something to do with the Barnes Basal Temperature Test, and you'd be right.
This test was developed by Dr. Broda Otto Barnes, an American scientist who studied the Endocrine System and issues with the Thyroid, in particular. He proposed a different method of diagnosis for hypothyroidism, based on the fact that the thyroid controls cellular metabolism, and therefore body temperature.
Here's how you do the Barnes Basal Temperature Test:
Place a thermometer by your bed before sleeping. As soon as you wake up in the morning, and with as little movement as possible, place the thermometer under under your tongue. Leave it there for 10 minutes. Record your temperature on three consecutive days at exactly the same time of day.
If the average of your 3 readings is less than 97.8oF / 36.6oC then, according to Barnes, it's very likely you have hypothyroidism.
Of course, it makes sense that if your temperature is above 98.6oF / 37oC, this indicates possible hyperthyroidism.
So my doctor had me do this test, and it wasn't a surprise that my temperature came back in the 97.5-98 range over and over (one of my constant symptoms was feeling cold all the time.) From here we decided I should try the recommended medication protocol. You can read more about it by googling Dr. Barnes and his recommended treatment. But the important part to my story is that I was taking just T3, meaning my body didn't need to convert anything in order to use the hormones for standard body functions.
Here's why the medicine didn't work for me..... It worked too well! I started having elevated heart rate and panic attacks at work. I assure you, it was not a pretty sight. But this just showed me that giving my body T3 made way more difference than T4 or a T4/T3 combo, where I could still convert to Reverse T3 and continue creating hypothyroid symptoms.
So while I gave up on the Barnes protocol, I had received the insight I needed to understand how to heal myself naturally. I needed to get my body out of the scenario where it felt it necessary to create Reverse T3 in response to stress!
This realization led me to drastic measures, including quitting my stressful job and ending my abusive relationship. On the positive side, I was led to crystals for increasing peace and calm and essential oils for balancing and supporting the entire Endocrine System, including my poor worn out adrenals.
You may have heard the rest of my story, but if not, you can find my workshop on Balancing Hormones Naturally on my YouTube, where I go into more detail.
Now I'm not sharing this story because I think you should follow exactly what I did. There are several types of hypothyroid, all with different causes and different solutions. I'm also not recommending any diagnosis or medical treatment. You should always talk to your doctor if you suspect your current treatment or diagnosis is not optimal.
But I do want to encourage you! I was able to find a solution by getting outside the standard approach to my illness, and seeing the whole picture. If my health journey resonates with you and your current situation, I would love to help you on your journey to recovering your health, and even raising it to levels beyond your imagining. Send me an email and let me know a bit about your story. I would love to share with you more specifically what has worked for me and give you some suggestions for your own unique situation. I'm here to help, whenever you're ready!