Thyroid hormones affect male and female sexual functions, but data in hypo- and hyperthyroid women are scanty.
To investigate sexual function in hypo- and hyperthyroid women before and immediately after restoration of euthyroidism and in women with euthyroid Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT).
Fifty-six women with thyroid diseases (age 19-50 yr; 22 with hyperthyroidism, 17 with hypothyroidism, and 17 with euthyroid HT) and 30 age-matched healthy women.
Hypoactive sexual desire, disorders of sexual arousal, vaginal lubrication, orgasm, satisfaction, and sexual pain (SPD) were assessed by Female Sexual Function Index. Serum TSH, free T4 (FT4) and thyroid autoantibodies (anti-thyroglobulin, anti-thyroperoxidase, and TSH-receptor antibodies) were assessed at the diagnosis; FT4 and TSH were repeated after treatment to confirm normalization of thyroid function.
All sexual domains scores were significantly reduced (p ranging <0.0001-<0.05) in both hypo- and hyperthyroid women. Correction of hypothyroidism was associated to normalization of desire, satisfaction, and pain, while arousal and orgasm remained unchanged. In hyperthyroid women therapy normalized sexual desire, arousal/lubrication, satisfaction, and pain, while orgasm remained significantly impaired. Interestingly, euthyroid HT women displayed a significant decrease in sexual desire (p<0.0005), with no changes in the other sexual domains.
Both hypo- and hyperthyroidism markedly impair female sexual function. A rapid improvement is observed with the restoration of euthyroidism, although a longer period of time may be needed for full normalization. Preliminary data suggest that thyroid autoimmunity may selectively impair sexual desire, independently from thyroid function.