The short answer...body temperature is really really important for determing if you may have be hypothyroid. The long answer...
Body temperature is such a simple idea, isn't it?! Before getting thyroid treatment I was always amazed that my body temperature was so low -- 95.5 degrees at it's worst! And how so many doctors never noticed it. Even when I said: "Hey Doc, isn't it odd that my body temperature is so low?" They just passed it off and said I was fine. Dr. Brummer was the first and only doctor to say: "Yes, your body temperature is low. And no this isn't right." Finally, something that made sense!
How Does Body Temperature Affect Us
Think of this way... it might even seem like a temperature of 96-97 isn't normal enough, right? I mean it's only one or two degrees different? But what happens when our body temperature is only one or two degrees higher than normal? Say, 99-100 degrees? Right! We have a fever and we feel pretty darn awful!
So what do you think happens if our body temperature is one or two degrees below normal? It seems logical that we would also feel pretty awful; like tired, sluggish, foggy, cold, and all the other hypothyroid symptoms.
When I hear stories like "...my doctor said it's okay to have low body temperature, but I feel really awful..." I pretty much want to go ape on these doctors. I mean, I'm no doctor, but how can anyone be so quick to rule out body temperature! Especially when doctors like Broda Barnes wrote about the connection between low body temperature and hypothyroidism over forty years ago. Sheesh!
Okay, getting down from my soap box.
You Can Do It Today
For me, tracking body temp is the cheapest, fastest way to know how my body and thyroid are doing. Granted, I don't track all the time, who can remember to do that? But every so often, I will track my temperature for a few days just to make sure my thyroid is doing okay. If you want to know this week whether you might have a thyroid or adrenal problem start tracking your temperature now!
How to Track Body Temperature
Here are super simple instructions from Broda Barnes.... Men, children and woman who are past menopause can take this test anytime. Women who are still in child-bearing years should track temperature on the second or third day of their period.
1. I prefer to use a glass thermometer under the armpit (no clothing) because it gives me the most accurate results.
2. Shake down the thermometer the night before, and place on your night table. First thing in the morning before getting out of bed tuck the thermometer in your armpit and lay quietly for 10 minutes.
3. Record your temperature (here is a nice PDF chart from the Wolfe Clinic).
4. Repeat for several days to see if the temperature changes. Keep in mind, a big fluctuation is common and could be a sign of adrenal fatigue! So one day it might be 97.8 and then next 97.0, this is important information to note.
5. According to Dr. Barnes the morning (basal) temperature should average 97.8 to 98.2 to indicate normal thyroid function.
Understanding Body Temperature
Dr. Broda Barnes and Dr. James Wilson explain how to test thyroid and adrenals through body temperature precisely. Checking your body temp at 3pm (when the body is at it's warmest) will give you quick insight. Here is what the temps mean (generally):
Low Temperature (below 98.4) means a possible low thyroid problem
Fluctuating Temperature (more than 0.2 degrees per day) means possible adrenal fatigue
Low and Fluctuating Temperature means possible low thyroid and adrenal fatigue
Use a good digital thermometer, or a glass thermometer for better accuracy. With a glass thermometer, first shake down below 95 degrees for a proper reading (some of us are as low as 95 degrees before treatment!). Hopefully this will help you figure out if you need treatment.
If you have low body temperature take these results to your doctor! If your doctor doesn't believe in the body temperature-thyroid connection find another doctor.