The test measures the amount of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) in your blood. TSH is made by the pituitary gland, a small organ located just below the brain. TSH is one of the pituitary gland’s messengers — it tells the thyroid gland to start making thyroid hormone. There is a feedback system between the pituitary gland and the thyroid gland. If too much thyroid hormone (tri-iodothyronine or T3 and thyroxine or T4) is being produced by the thyroid this sends a signal to the pituitary gland which turns down the production of TSH. Conversely, if too little T3 and T4 are being produced the pituitary gland steps up production of TSH. In healthy people this system regulates itself perfectly. However, in thyroid or pituitary diseases the system becomes unbalanced. The pattern of changes can help diagnose the underlying problem.
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