I was recently fortunate enough to get the opportunity to try a home thyroid test kit thanks to Medichecks in return for my honest opinion, which I’ll give below. Home testing can be a priceless, and after a thoroughly positive experience, I’m very happy to highly recommend MediChecks for this service.
Medichecks have ample experience behind them as they’ve been selling tests online for over 15 years, processing over 3 million results. They make use of the best pathology labs in the UK alongside qualified clinicians to interpret results and a user-friendly website to make home blood testing as convenient as possible.
They’ve been featured in numerous media, including The Telegraph, Women’s Health and The Guardian. They are a responsible, reliable provider that prioritise quality of service and our satisfaction as customers, so I had no qualms trusting them with my data.
Test Kit Options & Ordering
There are over 900 test variations available. Whatever you’re looking for there’s a good chance Medichecks will be able to help, from general health and deficiencies, to specific conditions & allergies. These include :
- Thyroid – A range of tests, as outlined in the next section.
- Hormones – Numerous tests for male & female hormones, PCOS checks, FSH & LH tests, etc.
- Sports Hormones.
- Others … CRP (high sensitivity) / Health & Lifestyle Check / Gut & Bladder tests / H Pylori Antigen / Coeliac Check / Candida Antibodies / HIV & STDs / Fertility & Pregnancy / Diabetes / Lyme Disease / Adrenals / Antinuclear Antibodies / Allergy Checks and more…
The website makes it easy to browse all of tests, such as by the A-Z listing or via category. Each product page gives ample information on the test, what it includes, what is involved and the expected turn-around time. Adding it to your bag, checking out and creating an account are all made as convenient and straightforward as possible.
Standard delivery for all test kits is free. When sending samples back to Medichecks, they provide a postage-paid bag.
The thyroid tests include range of 5 tiers from standard to more advanced :
- Thyroid Check – standard test. Includes TSH & FT4.
- Free T3 – Just to test free (unbound) T3, which is the active form of T3.
- Thyroid monitoring – A general snapshot of thyroid function. Including TSH, FT4 and FT3.
- Thyroid Check Plus – Intermediate test. Includes TSH, FT4, FT3, TGAb & TPOAb.
- Thyroid Check UltraVit – Advanced test. Includes all of the above, plus active vitamin B12, folate, Vitamin D, ferritin/iron, and CRP-hs inflammatory marker.
Check out the full range of thyroid test kits here.
You can save 10% by using this link & the code INVISME10 at the checkout.
Why Home Thyroid Testing Is Useful
Thyroid diagnosis is notoriously difficult. Many people can spend years going back and forth to doctors and specialists with symptoms but no accurate diagnosis. There are a few reasons for this. Most notably, the NHS typically only tests TSH, which is not a reliable indicator of thyroid function. Higher than the normal range suggests hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid), while lower suggests hyperthyroidism. It’s also subject to variation; smokers should note that smoking can depress TSH levels, so while you may have hypothyroid symptoms and otherwise have a higher TSH, smoking may be reducing that figure.
To diagnose, other factors should be considered, like T3 and T4 values and thyroid antibodies. However, many doctors do not request these. Those that do often have their requests denied by the lab. Specialists may seek further investigation, however if they see a ‘normal’ TSH they’re less likely to.
The next problem is with the ‘normal’ ranges. These vary from country to country. In the UK, the range also varies between GP practices and NHS trusts, so it depends on your location as to what the ‘normal’ levels are going to be. Then there’s also debate as to whether any of these levels in the UK are actually helpful, and many have argued the range should be adjusted to make levels lower, meaning more people would be diagnosed as hypothyroid based on TSH. It’s a murky, complicated area.
Home testing is a quick, convenient and thoroughly helpful tool in advocating for our own health. Knowing where to go for it can be tricky, which is why I want to write about my experience with Medichecks as my recommendation for a UK testing provider.
How It Works
When you order, you’ll get to choose whether to do the standard test at home (finger prick), or to pay a small fee to get a blood test (venous) via a partner clinic.
Venous Draw (Clinic)
In the pack :
- Needle & swabs for the nurse to use
- Vial for your blood sample
- Instruction Guide
- Lab Request Form (pink)
- Phlebotomy Confirmation Form (blue)
- Freepost return bag
Selection the venous draw option when you order will allow you to visit a partner clinic to have the blood sample taken from a vein, much in the same way as you would a regular blood test your doctor sends you for. The website lists the nearest clinics so you can find one that’s suitable for you; some will require an appointment whereas others, like at my local hospital, are walk-ins, so no appointment is necessary. It’s best to take the whole kit with you, but they should be aware of what to do as they’ll handle third party tests like these routinely.
There’s a form for them to keep for their own invoice purposes, and the pink lab request form needs to go with your sample back to Medichecks. There’s a needle and swabs that the nurse can use, unless they choose to use their own. The vial is included with the label on for the nurse to complete. Once the sample has been collected and they’ve completed the details, you can put it in the freepost bag and take it to the post office.
Finger Prick (Home)
In the pack :
- Alcohol wipes, gauze wipe & plasters
- 4 lancets
- Sample collection tube
- Instruction Guide
- Lab Request Form
- Freepost return bag
The instruction guide makes the process as straightforward as possible. It’s a case of swabbing the area with an alcohol wipe, using the lancet on the tip of a finger, and massaging your finger to allow the blood to flow and drop into the vial. There’s a circular hole cut in the cardboard so you can stand the vial up to make this easier.
Four lancets are provided incase you have any problems getting blood from different fingers. This is the most convenient way as you have control over when to do it without having to leave the comfort of your own home. It’s a sharp scratch for the lancet, and you don’t see anything sharp, so it’s not daunting or off-putting. After you’ve got your sample, just make a note of the time and date, then pop it in the post. There’s a card in the box with a helpline number; if you have any queries or problems, just get in touch on that number, or send them an email. Their customer service team are really friendly and responsive and they’re there to help.
Online Account & Results
The Medichecks online account portal is streamlined, contemporary and intuitive to use.
When you order, you’ll be able to set up your online account and profile. You need to fill in some basic details and complete your health questionnaire before the doctor can assess your results.
When your results are ready, they’ll send you an email and you’ll be able to view them via your account area.
At the top will be the doctor’s interpretation, and underneath you’ll find the results. Each aspect that you’ve had measured will be reported
Results can also be downloaded as a PDF.
Using the website is a pleasure and it’s easy to either browse the tests or search for something specific. Each test has ample information on what it includes and why it’s important. I think the prices are very reasonable, and provide good value for money when you consider what’s included: delivery of the test kit, the actual test kit, great customer service support, return postage for your sample, reliable lab testing of your blood, the online account system, and a doctor to interpret your results.
After the test has been ordered you get email confirmation and you can update your online account with your lifestyle and medical information.
I found both methods, the home finger prick & the clinic, easy enough to do. It may be an issue with my poor circulation not letting me get enough blood from the finger prick method, so I had to go to a clinic. However, the home test should suffice for most people and the instructions are detailed and easy to follow. When ordering, the website shows you the nearest clinics if you choose this route, and I was fortunate enough to be able to go to my local hospital without an appointment to get it done. Then it’s just a case of popping the sample and lab request paperwork in the bag, sealing and taking it to the Post Office.
I sent my sample off and the next day they emailed me to say they’d safely received it. I was then notified as soon as the results were in.
I like that I was kept in the loop all the way through the process, so I felt fully supported from start to finish. Customer service is responsive and friendly, so they’re on hand if you have any problems or queries.
I’ve been particularly impressed by the online account. The way the questionnaires, health data and results are laid out looks clear and modern, so it’s easy to see what you’re looking at and make sense of everything. Being able download results as a PDF is brilliant and incredibly helpful. I’ve saved a copy and printed copies off, one for my medical folder at home, and one to take to my next GP appointment.
… In Conclusion
Medichecks makes home testing an incredible quick, cost-effective and convenient alternative to NHS testing. In some cases it’s the only option, such as where thyroid checks are concerned for many. Having had a thoroughly positive experience with them, I’d happily recommend them to anyone looking for private blood testing.
To help save a little more money, you can use this link for 10% off, just enter the code INVISME10 at the checkout.
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