People with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have a higher risk of developing thyroid disorders, including both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. However, hyperthyroidism appears to be less common.
Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, can cause symptoms including anxiety, excess sweating, and heart palpitations. Although it does not commonly occur alongside PCOS, some people have both conditions.
Read on to learn more about the link between PCOS and hyperthyroidism.
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People can experience thyroid dysfunction in two ways: hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) and hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid).
Although PCOS does not directly cause hyperthyroidism, some evidence from 2015 suggests that PCOS may link to thyroid dysfunction.
There is limited research on the link between PCOS and thyroid disorder, and studies have found large variations in the prevalence of the conditions. Despite this, evidence suggests that hypothyroidism is more common than hyperthyroidism in people with PCOS.
Hyperthyroidism means that the body produces more thyroid hormone than it needs, and it causes a wide range of symptoms. Some
These symptoms are different from those of PCOS, which commonly include weight gain, thinning hair, and oily skin, among other symptoms. If a person with PCOS develops symptoms of hyperthyroidism, they should contact a doctor.
Research has found that people with PCOS are
Some experts believe hormonal imbalances are the reason. People with PCOS have higher levels of androgens, which are hormones that influence male sexual development. Hormonal imbalances can affect other parts of the body, such as the thyroid.
Hashimotos’ thyroiditis causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland and produce too little thyroid hormone, leading to hypothyroidism.
It is important to note that having PCOS does not guarantee that a person will develop thyroid dysfunction, and having thyroid dysfunction does not mean that a person will have PCOS.
A doctor may use the following tests to
- Physical exam: A doctor will examine the thyroid gland to assess whether it is enlarged or tender. They may also check for physical symptoms of hyperthyroidism, such as an elevated heart rate and excess sweating.
- Blood tests: These can measure levels of thyroid hormones and thyroid-stimulating hormone in a person’s blood.
- Imaging tests: Imaging tests, such as ultrasounds and thyroid scans, can highlight abnormalities in the thyroid gland.
A doctor may use the following tests to
- Physical exam: A doctor may perform a physical exam and ask about a person’s symptoms and menstrual cycles. People with PCOS commonly have irregular, infrequent periods, acne, facial hair growth, and male pattern baldness.
- Blood tests: These can check a person’s hormone and insulin levels.
- Imaging tests: If a doctor suspects PCOS, they will use an ultrasound scan to check the ovaries for cysts.
The treatment for hyperthyroidism with PCOS depends on the specific case and the severity of the condition. Treatment may include medication, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both.
Some treatment options include:
- Medication: A doctor may prescribe medications such as propylthiouracil or methimazole to regulate thyroid hormone levels.
- Lifestyle changes: Doctors typically recommend lifestyle habits such as regular exercise, a balanced and nutritious diet, and stress-reduction techniques.
- Surgery: In rare cases, a person may need surgery to remove their thyroid gland.
- PCOS treatment: Treating PCOS may ease hyperthyroidism symptoms.
People with PCOS are more likely to have thyroid disorders, such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Research suggests that people with PCOS have higher rates of autoimmune thyroid disorders such as Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
Hyperthyroidism does not commonly occur alongside PCOS. Both are distinctly different conditions. However, some people do have both.
If a person has PCOS and experiences symptoms of hyperthyroidism, they should contact a doctor.