Sexual function and depressive symptoms in young women with thyroid autoimmunity and subclinical hypothyroidism

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The results of few studies conducted to date suggest an increased prevalence of sexual dysfunction in patients with thyroid disorders.


The aim of this study was to compare female sexual function and depressive symptoms between women with autoimmune thyroid disease and with mild thyroid failure.


The study included four groups of young women: euthyroid women with Hashimoto's thyroiditis (Group 1), women with nonautoimmune subclinical hypothyroidism (Group 2), women with autoimmune subclinical hypothyroidism (Group 3) and healthy euthyroid females without thyroid autoimmunity (Group 4).


Beyond measuring serum hormone levels and thyroid antibody titres, all enrolled women completed questionnaires evaluating female sexual function (Female Sexual Function Index – FSFI) and the presence and severity of depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory-Second Edition – BDI-II).


The mean total FSFI score was lower in women with autoimmune hypothyroidism than in the remaining groups of women, as well as lower in Groups 1 and 2 than in Group 4. Compared to Group 4, three domains (sexual desire, lubrication and sexual satisfaction) were lower in Group 1, four domains (desire, arousal, lubrication and dyspareunia) in Group 2 and all FSFI domain scores in Group 3. The total BDI-II score was higher in Groups 1 and 2 than in Group 4, as well as higher in Group 3 than in the other groups of women.


The obtained results suggest that both thyroid autoimmunity and mild thyroid failure, particularly if they occur together, may negatively affect female sexual function and depressive symptoms.

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