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Dr. Andrew Rynne
Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes tiredness and exhaustion inspite of having PCOS and hypothyroidism?

Answered by
Dr. Madhuri N Bagde


Practicing since :2001

Answered : 1390 Questions

Posted on Mon, 2 Jun 2014 in Thyroid Problem and Hormonal Problems
Question: Hi.
I am a 22 year old women. I got diagnosed with PCOS around 18 months ago and I was only recently looking into what I should and shouldn't be eating and I came across an article about the relationship between PCOS and hypothyroidism. For about the past 8 months I have been quite tired. I can sleep anywhere between 8-10 hours and still feel exhausted and feel like I need to nap. I have tried really hard to break the habit but I have not been able to do so. I am also always stiff and sore and have only just recently began to get cramp. I have a slowish heart rate which is around 50-55 however sometimes it feels like it races for no reason. My BMI is 28 however I have always been active but I am finding that it is getting harder, as though I am getting less fit even though I am exercising more. I also feel that I am more out of it then usual and am having trouble with motivation.
From what I have read these can be symptoms of hypothyroidism however I don't have some of the other symptoms that are listed. Such as while I ave had recent weight gain it is not really unexplained, I do not have dry skin or hair, goiter, constipation and while I do get swelling in my ankles I do not have any swelling in my eyes or face.
I don't like to go to the doctor and I get quite nervous when I do but I was just wondering whether I should? Is it possible to have hypothyroidism with only some of the symptoms? Or am I just being a hypochondriac?
Answered by Dr. Madhuri N Bagde 44 minutes later
Brief Answer:
detailed answer below.

Detailed Answer:
Hello and welcome,

I am Dr Madhuri and will be helping you.

Your symptoms are not something that must be ignored. Unless an until proved otherwise these may be symptoms of an organic condition.

First about thyroid issues:
PCOS is associated with a number of abnormalities in hormones and sometimes they are too subtle to be shown positive by tests. Thyroid is just one of them. The others are insulin ( hormone controlling blood sugar), LH and FSH, SHBG, testosterone ( mostly a male hormone) and so many. One or more may be disturbed in PCOS.
Thyroid hormone is responsible for a lot of processes in the body and its deficiency may lead to all the above symptoms that you have described. Also not all symptoms and signs are present in every affected person and sometimes the patient comes to us for another illness and we diagnose the thyroid deficiency based on clinical findings. Sometimes even the clinical examination may not reveal anything but testing the levels as a screening or based on clinical suspicion diagnoses the condition.

Now about your symptoms:

The symptoms do indicate a possible thyroid issue. But having said this, it is not the only possibility. The symptoms of lethargy, lack of energy, weight gain or loss may be also seen in many conditions ranging from diabetes to anemia to any chronic illness and I will not be able to provide a differential diagnosis based on this history alone. So examination and clinical testing as well laboratory tests are an important part of evaluation in such cases.

So the best way to know if the thyroid is affected is by getting a serum TSH or thyroid stimulating hormone test done. If it is raised then hypothyroidism is diagnosed. However as I have already said that the symptoms may be due to many other reasons it would be wise if you could get an evaluation by a good physician and then get investigated as per advice for better chances of getting closer to a diagnosis.

As of now, since your question mainly shows concern about the thyroid trouble, a serum TSH will help in revealing the status. Also if there is low level of thyroid it can be easily controlled by drugs like thyroxine that can be taken after prescription. So there is no need to worry about hypothyroidism.

Hope this was helpful.
Thanks for asking us.
Feel free for further queries.
Dr Madhuri Bagde
Consultant Ob gyn.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar

The User accepted the expert's answer

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