Gender differences in symptoms of hypothyroidism: a population-based DanThyr study

Allan Carlé, Inge Bülow Pedersen, Nils Knudsen, Hans Perrild, Lars Ovesen, Peter Laurberg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVES: We examined the gender-specific symptom prevalences in hypothyroidism and in healthy controls, and explored the extent to which symptoms indicative of thyroid status may be different in women and men.

DESIGN AND METHODS: Patients newly diagnosed with overt autoimmune hypothyroidism (n=140) and controls free of thyroid disease (n=560) recruited from the same population participated in a population-based study of The Danish Investigation on Iodine Intake and Thyroid Diseases (DanThyr). Participants underwent a comprehensive programme including blood tests and completion of questionnaires. The gender-specific distribution of 13 hypothyroidism-associated symptoms and a simple combined score (0-13) was explored in conditional uni- and multivariate models taking into account a broad spectrum of possible confounders. Diagnostic odds ratios (DORs) were calculated as measures for the association between participant status (case vs. control) and presence of symptoms (yes vs. no).

RESULTS: In overt autoimmune hypothyroidism, 94.9% of women and 91.3% of men (p=0.62) reported at least one of the hypothyroidism-associated symptoms, with tiredness as the most common symptom followed by dry skin and shortness of breath. In contrast, women free of thyroid disease self-reported at least one hypothyroidism-associated symptom considerably more often than men (73.7% vs. 51.1%, p<0.001). DORs (+/- s.e.m.) for 0-1 / 2-3 / 4-13 symptoms were 0.07 (0.04-0.10) / 2.15 (1.57-2.94) / 7.99 (6.15-10.4) in men, and 0.21 (0.16-0.28) / 0.62 (0.58-0.66) / 1.99 (1.90-2.09) in women.

CONCLUSION: The presence of symptoms is more indicative for overt autoimmune hypothyroidism in men than in women, and presumably persistent symptoms after therapy of hypothyroidism will be more common in women. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)717-725
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


Dive into the research topics of 'Gender differences in symptoms of hypothyroidism: a population-based DanThyr study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this