In 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 its 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 a 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 suggest an aroused immune system that is causing inflammation.
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, suggesting that the PCOS thyroid is not as successful in making enough thyroid hormone.
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.
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 antibodies were evaluated)
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 is not the answer to 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’s two times the limit of 100. 2X the cut-
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.
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 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. Fill out your name and email in the box to the right.