Subclinical hypothyroidism in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome An analysis of clinical hormonal and metabolic parameters

Young women with polycystic ovary syndrome and subclinical hypothyroidism present higher serum levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol with no changes in other lipid profile parameters, insulin resistance, or phenotypic manifestations.

Cristina Laguna Benetti-Pinto, M.D., Ph.D., Vanessa Ribeiro Santana Berini Piccolo, M.D., Heraldo Mendes Garmes, M.D., Ph.D., Cássia Raquel Teatin Juliato, M.D., Ph.D.

Volume 99, Issue 2, Pages 588-592, February 2013


To analyze of the relationship between selected clinical and metabolic parameters in young women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and normal thyroid function or subclinical hypothyroidism (SCH).

A cross-sectional cohort study.

Tertiary care setting.

Women diagnosed with PCOS according to the Rotterdam criteria (n=168).

Clinical, hormonal and metabolic parameters were evaluated. SCH was defined as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels of 4.5-10 mIU/L.

Main outcome measure:
Separately, PCOS and SCH exert adverse effects on metabolic parameters; however, in conjunction their effect is unclear. This study evaluated whether SCH in women with PCOS affects clinical, hormonal and metabolic parameters.

The mean age of the 168 women was 24±5.8 years. Mean body mass index was 33.4±8.2. Thyroid function was normal in 149 women, while 19 had SCH. Only serum LDL-c and PRL levels were significantly higher in the women with SCH (122.6±25.6 and 17.7±7.7) compared to those with normal thyroid function (105.6±33 and 14±10.3).

In young women with PCOS, SCH is associated with higher LDL-c levels, albeit with no changes in other lipid profile parameters, insulin resistance or phenotypic manifestations. This study adds to current evidence supporting an association between PCOS and SCH.

  • Manuel Muñoz

    Dear Dr. Laguna, thank you very much for your nice article. I have read it with interest, and I have a question for you. You have reported that routine treatment for SCH has been contraindicated, but taking into account the role of dyslipidemia and sterility in the group of combined PCO and SCH patients, what is your oppinion regarding the treatment using thyroid hormone as a first choice?

    • Cristina Benetti-Pinto

      Dear Dr Munõz, thank you for your interest.
      In these two conditions (dyslipidemia and sterility), in association with SCH, the treatment using thyroid hormone should be indicated, independent of the PCO, and before or together the specific treatment of dyslipidemia or sterility

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