What is thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH)?

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  • Thyroid stimulating hormone, or TSH, is a hormone that your body makes in the pituitary gland (in the brain) in response to the levels of thyroid hormone (made in the thyroid gland in the neck) in your bloodstream. Keeping thyroid hormone levels even is a delicate balance. When your thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone, your pituitary gland senses this like a thermostat and turns up the heat, so to speak, on your thyroid by releasing more TSH, which then tells your thyroid, "Hey, pick up the pace and make some more hormone." So it makes sense that when your thyroid hormone levels are low, there will be high levels of TSH in the bloodstream. Conversely, if your thyroid gland goes haywire and starts releasing large amounts of thyroid hormone into the blood, your pituitary senses this and turns off the TSH, telling the thyroid, "Don't make any more hormone."
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