Endocrine disorders in women are more common now & it is proven that 10% of women in their reproductive age suffer from PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. However, it is also found that thyroid disorders which are also common in women are often a subset of PCOS. It is seen that women with PCOS either have hypothyroidism or have a higher chance of having this endocrine disorder than the general population.
Yes, you heard that right, PCOS & thyroid disorders have a complex relationship. The crux is to distinguish them through the right evaluations so that you can arrive at the right conclusive actions.
Several overlapping features do co-exist in both PCOS & hypothyroidism. In a way, if you are diagnosed with PCOS, then there is a near yes chance that you could be diagnosed with thyroid disorders due to the impact of hormone imbalances in the body.
Both PCOS & Hypothyroidism have a high impact on hormone imbalances. Though the exact cause for the condition of PCOS remains uncertain, the production of higher levels of hormones like testosterone is consensually believed to be a major cause.
Apart from the hormone imbalances, it is observed that women with polycystic ovarian syndrome tend to have higher insulin levels in their blood. These cause several effects to various systems in the human body, mainly the reproductive system.
Hypothyroidism can have a significant impact on the ovarian health of women & may cause various illnesses related to fertility. It is also observed that hypothyroidism reduces ovarian health significantly which indeed is a strong factor in the relationship between thyroid and PCOS.
Thyroid disorders influence the production of sex hormones by over-producing testosterone and suppressing the SHBG also known as sex hormone-binding globulin. Also, there is a tendency to increase the estrogen & progesterone levels among hypothyroid patients.
Even from a diagnostic point of view, PCOS & hypothyroidism show some similarities. These include overlapping results like the higher level of LDL cholesterol or bad cholesterol associated with both the above conditions. The BMI for patients who have been diagnosed with PCOS or Hypothyroidism is generally higher.
Another such similarity is the influence of both conditions to impair fertility, impact on metabolic health, and so on. These similarities make the diagnostic process of PCOS & hypothyroidism tricky to meet its accuracy.
All the above similarities lead to failure in distinguishing between both conditions and therefore it is extremely important to aid the right evaluation methods to specifically understand each condition.
When speaking about treatment methods, evaluation plays a crucial role. Regular diagnostic tests to discover thyroid disorders may not be adequate to come to a conclusive decision that you are having a thyroid disorder.
For women who face fertility and metabolic impairment, the chances of hypothyroidism are high, and it is highly advisable if you are diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome and examined fertility to go ahead and check for the possibility of thyroid disorders, specifically Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.
However, from an assessment perspective, it is observed that those women who are facing fertility-related issues were asked to undergo examinations for both PCOS & hypothyroidism due to their significant impact on the sex hormones. The same goes the case with metabolic activities in your body & their impact.
Looking towards a treatment plan, more than a generic one, patient-to-patient-specific plans work better for those who have been diagnosed with both PCOS & hypothyroidism. Several studies show that these customized treatment plans bring a better outcome to the patient.
As both PCOS & Hypothyroidism are putting the fertility health of a woman to a toss, treatment to stabilize the production of hormones does improve the fertility conditions of the patient. However, since PCOS is a multifaceted syndrome and will impact other systems like metabolic systems too, crafting the right treatment plan specific to the patient is of high importance.
The treatment plan & actions are mainly dependent on factors like the desire and preference of the patient towards pregnancy, contraception, reproductive choice, or any lifestyle changes that they like to bring. This is to ensure that the treatment for PCOS or hypothyroidism should not be giving any negative impact on the patient’s will on lifestyle and reproductive health.
As you know that the body weight has an impact on ovulatory health, natural loosing of weight is one of the most common treatment plan contents seen among patients to improve their ovulation.
This becomes a preliminary treatment option for all overweight patients. You can achieve this by making alterations in your lifestyle habits & weight reduction plans.
Another most likely component of any treatment plan especially for those who are not seeking pregnancy is the contraceptive method of treatment. This helps in lowering the androgen levels & stabilizes the irregular menstrual cycle. It is also known as hormonal contraception.
The hormonal contraception method also helps in the reduction of Hirsutism or the excess growth of facial hair in women. An oral contraceptive method is the best recommended one & it is seen to have the most positive impact; however, treatment of Hirsutism takes a bit long to show desired results.
There are several myths associated with hypothyroidism & PCOS. Some of them are the misconception that patients with PCOS do not become pregnant which leads to failure in the use of contraceptives, underseeing PCOS as just a menstrual disorder, etc.
PCOS when left untreated can lead to several complications & it is always advised to not fall into the myth that PCOS can be self-diagnosed. The right care and actions with the right proven treatment plans can certainly improve the conditions even though a complete cure is still not evident.
From a bird’s eye view, you could see many similarities between polycystic ovarian syndrome and hypothyroidism, however, the exact link or relationship is still unknown. But the fact remains the same that both these conditions have similar effects on our body which confuses us right from the examination stage.
Right treatment plan customized for your choices & diagnostics can yield better results in avoiding the impacts and impairments caused due to PCOS and hypothyroidism.