Background This randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial identifies the effect of an aromatherapy blend of essential oils on fatigue, which is one of the most commonly unaddressed symptoms of hypothyroidism, by evaluating the effects of daily aromatherapy inhalation. Methods Participants included women aged 18-55 with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism. Women who had a history of thyroid cancer were excluded, due to the confounding effects of cancer on fatigue as the outcome of interest. Participants were randomized into two groups: the aromatherapy group, treated with inhalation of the essential oil blend, and the control group, treated with an odorless vegetable oil blend. The primary outcome was change from baseline in fatigue scores as measured by the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory (MFSI), a validated instrument which measures multiple patterns of fatigue. Results After adjusting for baseline scores, no significant difference was found between the aromatherapy group and the control group at midpoint. Both groups experienced a reduction in symptoms during the first week of the intervention. At the endpoint, participants in the aromatherapy group had improved fatigue scores across all ten subscales, as compared to the control group. Not all improvements achieved statistical significance, indicating that the aromatherapy treatment has a greater effect on the subscales of global, affective, and general fatigue. Conclusions This is the first study to evaluate the effects of aromatherapy on fatigue among women with hypothyroidism. These findings provide evidence that regular inhalation of an aromatherapy blend may reduce fatigue among women with hypothyroidism, particularly in the areas of global, affective, and general fatigue.
Keywords: aromatherapy; energy; essential oil; fatigue; hypothyroid; women’s health.