In the Journals

Sexual dysfunction, subclinical hypothyroidism unrelated

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July 1, 2015

Risk factors for sexual dysfunction in middle-aged women did not include subclinical hypothyroidism, according to recent study findings published in Thyroid.

“In modern society, people consider a sexual relationship an important part of their life even in their middle-age years,” the researchers wrote. “Therefore, sexual dysfunction can have adverse influences on social relationships and self-respect. However, this disorder has been neglected by clinicians and patients despite its importance and relatively high prevalence.”

Seung Mi Lee, MD, PhD, of Seoul Metropolitan Government, Seoul National University in Korea, and colleagues evaluated 1,086 women aged 40 years or older who visited Seoul National University Hospital for a checkup between 2010 and 2011 to determine whether a relationship exists between female sexual dysfunction and subclinical hypothyroidism. Participants completed the female sexual function index (FSFI) questionnaire to determine sexual dysfunction; scores of 26.55 or less on the questionnaire revealed dysfunction.

Overall, 948 participants did not have subclinical hypothyroidism (healthy controls) and 138 had subclinical hypothyroidism. Compared with controls, those with subclinical hypothyroidism were older and had higher frequency of menopause. Sixty-eight percent of all participants were diagnosed with sexual dysfunction; 93 with subclinical hypothyroidism and 648 controls.

No difference was found between the two groups for mean FSFI total score (23.8 for controls vs. 24.4 for subclinical hypothyroidism) and frequency of sexual dysfunction (68.4% for controls vs. 67.4% for subclinical hypothyroidism).

After exclusion for participants with prior hysterectomy, postmenopausal participants had a higher frequency of sexual dysfunction (80.3%) compared with premenopausal participants (56.7%; P < .001). However, menopausal status did not reveal differences in sexual dysfunction between controls and those with subclinical hypothyroidism.

“This study has examined the relationship between female sexual dysfunction and subclinical hypothyroidism in middle-aged women, who are at risk for subclinical hypothyroidism and female sexual dysfunction,” the researchers wrote. “It shows that subclinical hypothyroidism is not a risk factor for female sexual dysfunction in middle-aged women. In the study population, only age, menopause and low income were significant risk factors, and this result is consistent with previous studies.” – by Amber Cox

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.