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Women with PCOS Often Have Hidden Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis

Women with PCOS May Have Hidden Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis

The Connection Between Ovarian Cysts, PCOS and Hashimoto’s autoimmune Thyroiditis|

The alarming connection between PCOS and Hashimoto’s–two conditions that cause infertility, fatigue, weight gain and depression.

woman in bed with heart shaped pillowIn traditional medical thinking, PCOS is thought of as mainly a “blood sugar problem” or a “hormone problem.” But what many women may not be aware of is the link between PCOS and autoimmune conditions. More and more research is showing that PCOS is often associated with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis or hypothyroidism.

I have addressed this in other articles, however it’s worth mentioning again. If you suffer with fatigue, weight gain, anxiety, depression then you need to have your thyroid antibodies tested…… regardless of what your TSH looks like. One of the biggest pitfalls you might be making is not having your doctor evaluate your Thyroid antibodies.

When the right tests are done–TPO antibodies and TGB antibodies— a woman suffering with fatigue, depression, anxiety, weight gain, irregular menstrual cycles or unexplained miscarriages, will often find out she has Hashimoto’s. If she takes the necessary steps to properly manage the Hashimoto’s and low thyroid function, she will often find herself able to get pregnant.

I came across a study that shows many women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) (ovarian Cysts) have Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis, which if you don’t already know, is the number one cause of hypothyroidism.

Here is the breakdown of the study.

It’s purpose was investigate the prevalence of autoimmune thyroiditis in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). There were 175 women with PCOS and 168 women who did not have PCOS in the study.

The PCOS patients were characterized by an increased LH/FSH ratio, low progesterone, elevated testosterone and a high prevalence of hirsutism (facial hair), but no differences in estrogen levels were found.

In addition, 27% of the PCOS women had elevated thyroid-specific antibodies as compared to only 8.3% of the normal women. Elevated antibodies indicate autoimmune thyroid disease, inflammation and most likely thyroid tissue damage.

Thyroid ultrasound showed that 42.3% of PCOS women, but only 6.5% of the controls, had thyroid tissue images typical of autoimmune thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s Disease). The PCOS women also had higher levels of TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) than the non-PCOS women.

The importance of the thyroid hormone for the adequate functioning of multiple organ systems within the body cannot be overstated. The production of adequate quantities of thyroid hormones is necessary for normal fetal and neonatal growth and development, as well as proper functioning of adult organ systems, cardiovascular system, lipid and carbohydrate metabolism, and the neuromuscular and skeletal systems.

A major effect of abnormal thyroid levels is changes in ovulation and menstruation. Ovulation may be impaired by changes in the production of: sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), estrogen, and androgens.

Early stages of thyroid dysfunction (before symptoms are obvious) can lead to subtle changes in ovulation and endometrial receptivity, which then may have profound effects on fertility.

Dr Hagmeyer Explains How Vitamin D Helps with Hormone Imbalances Like PCOS 2

Bottom Line:

This study suggests that 3 to 4 of every 10 PCOS women have impaired thyroid function, due to autoimmune thyroiditis Hashimoto’s Disease- (I suspect these numbers would be greater if BOTH thyroid antibodies were evaluated and patients were properly tested with a complete thyroid hormone panel)

An important component of your PCOS treatment is to get a thorough thyroid evaluation. (It’s much more than just a TSH and a T4)

As I’ve said before, just taking birth control pills or Synthroid, Armour, Cytomel, etc is not the answer to correcting the underlying root cause of PCOS or Hypothyroidism.

Here’s The other Alarming Facts that were revealed by this study.

Alarming Finding #1

Goiter was linked with having PCOS— specifically, 24% of the 77 PCOS patients had a goiter that no doctor had found before.

Apparently, no doctor thought it possible that these PCOS patients might have a thyroid problem. For me, this fact in itself is troubling finding.

Alarming Finding #2

Seventy-two of the PCOS patients had their TPO antibody levels tested. And the mean level of TPO antibodies was 216. That is well over the limit of 20.

Thirty percent of PCOS patients had positive Hashimoto’s antibodies. They met that criteria for Hashimoto’s. 30% of those PCOS patients had Hashimoto’s but no one knew it. 

Here is some additional info you should be aware of if you have elevated Thyroid antibodies. 

Why does this connection between PCOS and Hashimoto’s matter?

Hashimoto’s will complicate your ability to become pregnant and Hashimoto’s is going to complicate you being able to maintain a pregnancy. This means increase in miscarriage.

If you suffer from PCOS and Hashimotos your condtion must be manaaged differently.

Get my FREE guide that explains why woman continue to suffer with Fatigue, Weight gain, Hormone imbalances, Fertility, and depressison, depsite taking Thyroid Hormone Replacement. 


Alarming Finding Number 3

Of the control group, 27% of those women had positive TPO antibodies. The control group is supposed to be the “normal, healthy” group – but 27% of them had TPO antibodies.

This tells you that Hashimoto’s is really, really, really common. (But totally overlooked.)

What about the thyroglobulin antibodies? remember you need both sets of antibodies to be tested TPO and TGB antibodies. NOT just TPO.

Check out this video explaining the importance of both antibodies.

Alarming Finding Number 4

In the control group, 30%of the women in the control group had positive antibodies for thyroglobulin!

30% these “healthy” women had Hashimoto’s.

In the PCOS, group approximately 37% – 37% of the women in the PCOS group had thyroglobulin antibodies.

Alarming Finding Number 5

The TSH levels (thyroid stimulating hormone) in the PCOS group and the TSH levels in the “control” group were not different.

So what’s that tell you about TSH? TSH levels may not be very important….may not be very reliable when you’re trying to find out if someone has Hashimoto’s.

Bottom Line…..

PCOS is associated with Hashimoto’s and Hashimoto’s is associated with PCOS.
If you have PCOS symptoms such as: weight gain, acne, facial hair, depression, irritability, be sure have a complete thyroid Panel performed including both thyroid antibody testing. Don’t settle just for testing one of the Thyroid antibodies.

What do you do about it?

For starters if you are seeing a conventional doctor for your PCOS then you are probably familiar with the standard medical approach, Metformin® for Blood Sugar or Birth control pills for the PCOS and Synthroid®, Armour®, Cytomel® or Levothyroxine for the Hashimoto’s. But there is so much more than can be done to address the root cause.

If this is happening to you, then you already realize that even though you are taking these medications, they are not really correcting the problem(s).

Medications Manage our Symptoms at best however, the longer you take them without addressing the root cause, the more problems they will create… which only will confuse and baffle doctors even more.

clip_image002Here’s what you need to Do Next.

Contact our office and schedule a phone consultation where we can find out whether or not you would be a good candidate for our program.

Our Individualized Female Hormone Recovery Program is just the place to start. We will evaluate you from a Big picture Root Cause approach.

I encourage you to continue reading other articles on our site and watch the videos we have created.

You need to be educated. With knowledge is power!

If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, find a doctor who understands the connection to Hashimoto’s and other female hormone imbalances like we do.

If you suspect you have Hashimoto’s autoimmune Thyroid disease, I encourage you to learn more about my Thyroid Recovery Program here.

Other Top read articles on our Site

  1. HAIR LOSS?  Is It THRYOID? Is it ADRENALS? Is it  STRESS? ….Dr Hagmeyer Functional Medicine Doctor explains What To Look Out For.
  2. Hashimotos and Infertility 
  3. Should Natural Progesterone Be Used To Help Restore Thyroid Health For Those Suffering with Hashimoto’s?
  4. Natural Treatment Methods for Hashimotos
  5. Everything you want to know about PCOS E Video series
  6. Estrogen Dominace-And Why Progesterone Replacement Is Not Always The Answer

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For Better Health Naturally,

Dr Hagmeyer

Janssen, OE et al, High prevalence of autoimmune thyroiditis in patients with polycystic ovary syndrome, Eur J Endocrinol. 2004 Mar;150(3):363-9

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