Hyperthyroidism: a risk factor for female sexual dysfunction

J Sex Med. 2011 Aug;8(8):2327-33. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2011.02354.x. Epub 2011 Jun 16.


Introduction: Hyperthyroidism is a common hormonal disorder in women that may cause female sexual dysfunction (FSD).

Aim: To assess sexual function in women with hyperthyroidism.

Methods: A total of 40 women with clinical hyperthyroidism and 40 age-matched voluntary healthy women controls were included in the study. All the subjects were evaluated with a detailed medical and sexual history, including a Female Sexual Function Index (FSFI) questionnaire for sexual status and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) for psychiatric assessment.

Main outcomes measures: The levels of serum thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroid hormones, sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), total testosterone (tT), free testosterone (fT), prolactin, estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, and luteinizing hormone were measured.

Results: The mean total FSFI scores were 24.2 ± 9.96 in the hyperthyroidic group and 29 ± 10.4 in the control group (P < 0.0001). Desire (P < 0.040), arousal (P < 0.0001), lubrication (P < 0.0001), orgasm (P < 0.0001), satisfaction (P < 0.0001), and pain (P < 0.007) domain scores were also significantly lower in women with hyperthyroidism. The mean BDI score for hyperthyroidic patients was significantly greater than the score for the control group (P < 0.0001). The mean SHBG level in the hyperthyroidic group was found to be significantly higher than the level in the controls (P < 0.0001), whereas the mean fT level in the hyperthyroidic group was lower than in the control group (P < 0.0001). The FSFI score showed a significant negative correlation with the serum SHBG (r = -0.309, P = 0.005), free triiodothyronine (r = -0.353, P = 0.006) and free tetraiodothyronine (r = -0.305, P = 0.018) levels, BDI scores (r = -0.802, P = 0.0001) and positive correlation with tT (r = 0.284, P = 0.011), fT (r = 0.407, P = 0.001), and TSH (r = 0.615, P = 0.0001) levels.

Conclusions: A significant percentage of women with clinical hyperthyroidism had sexual dysfunction. Increased depressive symptoms, increased SHBG level, and decreased fT levels were all found to be associated with FSD in clinical hyperthyroidism.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperthyroidism / blood
  • Hyperthyroidism / complications*
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Sexual Dysfunction, Physiological / etiology*
  • Sexual Dysfunctions, Psychological / etiology*
  • Young Adult