Ovarian Cysts are a Symptom of Hypothyroidism

by Leisa on December 2, 2010

Thyroid problems are an area that I have studied in depth, having suffered myself with hypothyroidism, and been subjected to the incompetence of several medical practitioners before I found the answers myself.  Since then, I’ve found thyroid issues are one of the most mis-understood and mis-diagnosed conditions today.

Dr John Lowe is one of the foremost experts in the world on fibromyalgia and hypothyroid issues, (I interviewed him for my membership club – and he is a wealth of information!), and he has put together an enormous body of research to validate the direction he takes with his patients, and he has great success with his treatment protocols.  Below he talks about the incidence of hypothyroidism in relation to ovarian cysts.

This area is also related to iodine levels.  As I learnt from researching iodine, we need iodine not just for our thyroid gland to function properly, but iodine is needed for healthy breast, ovary, uterus, prostate, skin and brain function.  In a low iodine state, the thyroid may enlarge, and grow nodules and cysts and is called hypothyroidism. In a low iodine state, the breast may enlarge and grow nodules and cysts and it is called fibrocystic breast disease. In a low iodine state, the ovaries may enlarge, and grow nodules and cysts and is called polycystic ovarian syndrome.  See the pattern?

In any case of ovarian cysts, the first test I will do, is a urinary iodine loading test, to find out whether iodine is deficient.  Then I look at thyroid function.  Dr. John Lowe, gives us this case below to show the importance of looking into this area, rather than just having ovarian cysts removed.

Multiple Ovarian Cysts as a Major Symptom of Hypothyroidism by Dr John Lowe

The case I describe below is of importance to women with polycystic ovaries. If they have evidence, such as a high TSH, that conventional clinicians accept as evidence of hypothyroidism, they may fair well. But the TSH is not a valid gauge of a woman’s tissue thyroid status. Because of this, she may fair best by adopting self-directed care. At any rate, for women with ovarian cysts, this case is one of extreme importance.

In 2008, doctors at the gynecology department in Gunma, Japan reported the case of a 21-year-old women with primary hypothyroidism. Her doctor referred her to the gynecology department because she had abdominal pain and her abdomen was distended up to the level of her navel.

At the gynecology clinic she underwent an abdominal ultrasound and CT scan. These imaging procedures showed multiple cysts on both her right and her left ovary.

The woman’s cholesterol level and liver function were increased. She also had a high level of the muscle enzyme (creatine phosphokinase) that’s often high in hypothyroidism. Blood testing also showed that the woman had primary hypothyroidism from autoimmune thyroiditis.

It is noteworthy that the young woman’s ovarian cysts completely disappeared soon after she began thyroid hormone therapy. Other researchers have reported girls with primary hypothyroidism whose main health problems were ovarian cysts or precocious puberty. But this appears to be the first case in which a young adult female had ovarian cysts that resulted from autoimmune-induced hypothyroidism.

The researchers cautioned clinicians: “To avoid inadvertent surgery to remove an ovarian tumor, it is essential that a patient with multiple ovarian cysts and hypothyroidism be properly managed, as the simple replacement of a thyroid hormone could resolve the ovarian cysts.”[1]

Reference:1. Kubota, K., Itho, M., Kishi, H., et al.: Primary hypothyroidism presenting as multiple ovarian cysts in an adult woman: a case report. Gynecol. Endocrinol., 24(10):586-589, 2008.



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