Hypothyroidism is associated with higher testosterone levels in postmenopausal women with Hashimoto's thyroiditis

Endokrynol Pol. 2020;71(1):73-75. doi: 10.5603/EP.a2019.0055. Epub 2019 Nov 4.


Introduction: There are few data about possible interaction of sex hormones and thyroid autoimmunity and function in women with Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) after menopause. Therefore, our aim was to investigate sex hormone levels in euthyroid (EuHT) and hypothyroid (HypoHT) postmenopausal women with HT.

Material and methods: We performed a prospective observational clinical study that included 55 women with HT (AllHT) and 18 healthy subjects (HS) after menopause matched by age, body mass index, follicle-stimulating hormone, and menopause duration. According to their thyrotropin (TSH) level, the AllHT patients were divided into two subgroups: EuHT with TSH in the range 0.35-5.5 mU/L and HypoHT with TSH above 5.5 mU/L. Total and free testosterone (T), sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG), oestradiol (E2), and progesterone (P) were measured in all subjects. Values are presented as mean ± SD. The Mann-Whitney U test was used for comparison of values between the groups. Correlations were tested using Kendall's tau test.

Results: In the HypoHT group, significantly higher free T levels were found in comparison to the HS group (7.89 ± 3.55 pmol/L and 7.13 ± 3.03 pmol/L, p < 0.05). Furthermore, in HypoHT, free T was significantly higher than in EuHT (7.19 ± 5.65 pmol/L, p < 0.05). SHBG was significantly lower in HypoHT compared with HS (45.4 ± 17.4 nmol/L and 60.09 ± 19.51 nmol/L, p < 0.05). No significant correlation was found between sex hormone levels and thyroglobulin and thyroid peroxidase antibodies.

Conclusion: We report significantly higher free and total T levels in hypothyroid postmenopausal women with HT. To our knowledge, this is the first study of sex hormone levels in postmenopausal women with HT.

Keywords: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis; hypothyroidism; menopause; testosterone.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / blood*
  • Hashimoto Disease / complications
  • Hashimoto Disease / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypothyroidism / complications
  • Hypothyroidism / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / metabolism*
  • Risk Factors
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Thyroid Hormones / blood


  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Testosterone