Aim: Stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT), nevertheless evidence is scarce regarding the effect of stress management on individuals suffering from HT. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of an 8-week stress management intervention on the anti-thyroid peroxidase (anti-TPO) and anti-thyroglobulin (anti-TG) antibodies as well as thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels of women with HT. Secondary endpoints included the effect on the patients' lifestyle, body mass index (BMI), depression, anxiety and stress.
Methods: This was a two-arm parallel group (stress management intervention vs. standard care groups) randomized controlled study. Adult women with Hashimoto's thyroiditis, completed questionnaires on stress, anxiety, depression and lifestyle, at the beginning of the programme and 8 weeks later. Laboratory thyroid function tests (anti-TPO, anti-TG antibodies and TSH) were also measured at baseline and at the end of the study.
Results: A total of 60 women with HT, aged 25-76 years, participated in the study (30 patients in each group). After eight weeks, patients in the intervention group demonstrated statistically significant beneficial decrements in the rate change of anti-TG titers and the levels of stress, depression and anxiety as well as better lifestyle scores, compared to the control group.