American Academy For Yoga in Medicine

Understanding How PCOS and Thyroid Problems Connect

Thyroid stuff can be tricky, especially when it’s mixed with PCOS. So, there are two main types of thyroid problems: one where your thyroid goes into overdrive (hyperthyroidism) and another where it takes a nap (hypothyroidism). PCOS itself doesn’t directly cause the overactive one, but there’s some old evidence from 2015 hinting they might hang out together sometimes.

Hyperthyroidism and PCOS

Imagine your thyroid gland as a little energy control center. When it’s partying too hard, it pumps out too much thyroid hormone, and that’s hyperthyroidism. You might feel like you’ve had too many espressos, with anxiety, sweating, heart racing, and maybe some weight loss. Now, here’s the thing: PCOS and hyperthyroidism don’t usually go hand in hand, but some folks do get both at the same time, which can be a bit of a puzzle for doctors.

Hypothyroidism and PCOS

Now, hypothyroidism is when your thyroid decides to be lazy and doesn’t make enough thyroid hormone. This one’s more common in PCOS land. You might feel tired all the time, gain weight without trying, and have dry skin like a desert. PCOS hormones might be partly to blame, especially those pesky androgens (the male hormones) that can mess with your thyroid’s mojo.

Research suggests that people with PCOS have a higher chance of getting autoimmune thyroid problems, like Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

  • Graves’ Disease: This one makes your thyroid go into overdrive because your immune system thinks it’s under attack, so it starts pumping out too much hormone.
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis: Here, your immune system actually attacks your thyroid, making it struggle to produce enough hormone.

But remember, just because you have PCOS doesn’t mean you’ll definitely have thyroid troubles, and vice versa. It’s like having two separate things going on, but sometimes they do overlap.

How Do You Figure Out If You’ve Got PCOS or a Thyroid Issue?

Hyperthyroidism Diagnosis:

  • Doctor’s Check-Up: They’ll feel your neck for any lumps or bumps, check your heart rate, and see if you’re sweating like you just ran a marathon.
  • Blood Tests: These check your thyroid hormone levels. In hyperthyroidism, they’re usually high, while another hormone called TSH is low.
  • Scans: Sometimes they’ll do ultrasounds or scans to take a peek at your thyroid gland.

PCOS Diagnosis:

  • Chat with the Doc: They’ll ask about your periods, check your skin and hair, and see if you’ve been growing hair in unexpected places.
  • Blood Tests: This helps check your hormone levels and how your body’s handling insulin.
  • Ultrasound: This lets them look at your ovaries and see if they have cysts.

So, What Can You Do About It?

Treatment for hyperthyroidism when you’ve got PCOS can vary:

  • Medication: There are drugs that can help bring your thyroid hormone levels back to normal.
  • Radioactive Iodine Therapy: It sounds scary, but it’s a way to calm down an overactive thyroid.
  • Surgery: If things are really out of whack, you might need to have your thyroid taken out.

And remember, taking care of your PCOS can also help with your thyroid. Regular exercise, eating healthy, and managing stress can all play a part in keeping both conditions in check.

In a Nutshell

So, folks with PCOS might be more likely to have thyroid troubles, especially the lazy thyroid type. While hyperthyroidism isn’t as common, it can still happen. If you notice any weird symptoms like sudden weight loss or feeling jittery, it’s best to chat with your doctor. Keep an eye on your health, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!


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