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Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) Levels and Menopausal Status

March, 2003 -- The medical journal Clinical Endocrinology reported on the results of an evaluation from the The Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN).

They looked at menopausal symptoms, menstrual cycle bleeding characteristics and hormone levels as related to TSH levels in women aged 42-52 years from five different ethnic groups -- African American, Caucasian, Chinese, Hispanic and Japanese.

The women had TSH, estradiol, testosterone, FSH and SHBG evaluated.

There evaluation discovered that 6.2% of women had a TSH above 5, which is considered hypothyroidism by old lab standards (new standards now indicate that levels above 3.0 may indicate hypothyroidism.) 3.2% of the women had a TSH below 0.5, which is indicative of potential hyperthyroidism.

Of the various menopause symptoms evaluated, only fearfulness was associated with having a TSH value above 5.0 or below .5. Women with TSH values outside the .5 to 5.0 range also were more likely to report shorter or longer menstrual periods. There were no apparent linkages between FSH, SHBG, dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEA-S), testosterone, and estradiol and TSH.

Implications:

Perhaps most interesting in this study is the fact that almost 10% of women in the 42-52 year old age range had an undiagnosed thyroid condition. This is larger than typical estimates of thyroid disease for women in this age range.

While the study found few correlations, we know that there is most definitely a relationship between menopause and thyroid disease. Read more about this from Drs. Richard and Karilee Shames.



Source: Clin Endocrinol, 2003 Mar;58(3):340-7



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