The hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and the female reproductive system

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2000;900:65-76. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.2000.tb06217.x.


Increasing evidence derived from experimental and clinical studies suggests that the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis (HPT) and the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis (HPO) are physiologically related and act together as a unified system in a number of pathological conditions. The suggestion that specific thyroid hormone receptors at the ovarian level might regulate reproductive function, as well as the suggested influence of estrogens at the higher levels of the HPT axis, seems to integrate the reciprocal relationship of these two major endocrine axes. Both hyper- and hypothyroidism may result in menstrual disturbances. In hyperthyroidism the most common manifestation is simple oligomenorrhea. Anovulatory cycles are very common. Increased bleeding may also occur, but it is rare. Hypothyroidism in girls can cause alterations in the pubertal process; this is usually a delay, but occasionally it can result in pseudo-precocious puberty. In mature women hypothyroidism usually is associated with abnormal menstrual cycles characterized mainly by polymenorrhea, especially anovulatory cycles, and an increase in fetal wastage.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / physiology*
  • Menstruation / physiology
  • Menstruation Disturbances / etiology
  • Menstruation Disturbances / physiopathology
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Thyroid Diseases / complications
  • Thyroid Diseases / physiopathology
  • Thyroid Gland / physiology*
  • Thyroid Hormones / physiology


  • Thyroid Hormones