top of page

A Potential Link Between Hypothyroidism and PCOS!

Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Woman looking tired and stressed at her desk

September Is PCOS Awareness Month

It’s PCOS awareness month this September, so it seemed like a fitting time to raise awareness of this condition and the possible links it has with an Underactive Thyroid (Hypothyroidism).

If you know my content by now, a lot of my energy goes into raising awareness around all things thyroid related, particularly Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s, because oftentimes people just aren’t getting access to the support that they need to overcome some of their struggles.

Another condition that I think deserves more attention is PCOS. Since PCOS and Hypothyroidism have a few things in common, and they can often co-exist, we need to be talking about both conditions, to ensure that people receive the necessary support that they need when it comes to managing one or both of these conditions.

What is the Endocrine System and why is it relevant in terms of Hypothyroidism & PCOS?

Firstly, both PCOS and Thyroid issues are both linked to problems with the Endocrine system - the system that essentially oversees our hormones.

It might be helpful to see the endocrine system and hormones in terms of our postal system. The endocrine system is kind of like the sorting office. Different post office locations or postboxes represent different endocrine glands, such as the thyroid gland, the ovaries, or pituitary or adrenal glands. The mail going into and out of the post offices/boxes represents our hormones, which travel around our bodies with specific destinations (and functions) in mind.

When things don’t function as they should do in our endocrine system, just like in the postal system, there can be problems at different places, or stages and for different reasons.

In simple terms, when it comes to Hypothyroidism the problem lies in the thyroid gland not producing enough thyroid hormones, and when it comes to PCOS, the problem might lie in your ovaries producing higher than usual amounts of hormones called androgens, and/or the pancreas producing higher than normal insulin levels.

When it comes to finding a cause behind a condition, it’s not always clear cut. In terms of Hypothyroidism there can be various different causes, a key one being Hashimoto’s, which is linked to our immune system (auto-immunity). The exact cause of PCOS remains unknown, however it’s thought that genetics, insulin resistance, diet, lifestyle, hormonal imbalances and low Vitamin D (to name a few) can play a key role in it.

What features do Hypothyroidism & PCOS have in common?

blue question mark on pink background

PCOS and Hypothyroidism are of course separate conditions, having one doesn’t mean you’ll have the other one, and symptoms can present very differently between individuals. What is interesting is that they can share some common features:

  • Menstruation Irregularities

  • Family history of the condition(s)

  • High levels of HDL cholesterol

  • Vitamin D deficiency

  • Hair loss or thinning

  • Fertility-related issues

  • An increased BMI or excess weight

  • Blood sugar imbalances, and more susceptibility to insulin resistance

  • Inflammation

  • Mood fluctuations

  • So-called “polycystic ovaries”, where ovaries have follicles (fluid filled sacs) in one or both ovaries, as well as possible increased ovarian size (volume).

  • Immune system irregularities

  • Increased levels of leptin (which is a hormone that plays a role in our satiety and therefore how our body regulates our energy and our weight)

The two conditions also have features that differentiate them from one another, but as you can see, there are various things that seem to link together. When it comes to PCOS and Underactive Thyroid - the jury isn’t out on the exact way they link together or the reasons why they are commonly occurring together, but what’s clear is that it’s important to have both investigated to see if you have one or the other or both.

Check out my next blog article for some tips to help you manage some of the challenging symptoms of both of these conditions!

If you need more support when it comes to PCOS, an Underactive Thyroid or both, then reach out to me and book your free 30-minute Health & Hormone Review so we can talk about what you're struggling with and we can pave a specific way forward:

Amy Cottrell

Registered Nutritional Therapist

Amy Cottrell Nutrition does not claim to prevent, treat or cure any physical, mental or emotional conditions. These blog articles are written for educational & informational purposes only and are not a subsitute for medical advice.

Do not stop or start taking medication or supplements without first talking to your primary health care provider.


bottom of page