Thyroid problems are part of the most common health issues women deal with during their lives. Statistics have shown that since 2011 that in US, the number of women having thyroid problems increased by 17%.

Women Thyroid Problems Linked to Childhood Abuse

The New Study

So far the thyroid problems were considered a result of a large combination of factors among which smoking, drinking and gaining too much weight during pregnancy were the most defining ones.

The new study focused on determining whether or not the psychological conditions women undergo during their childhood have an influence over their predisposition to develop thyroid issues.


Esme Fuller Thomson, professor at the University of Toronto conducted a study on a segment of 13 thousand Canadian adults. Of this study group around 1000 women declared they were abused during childhood. The abuse took place before they reached 18.

The study focused on these women and concluded that 900 of them had increasing chances to develop thyroid disorders.

Why this Conclusion?

The results of the study were compared with those from previous studies which analyzed the impact of factors like daily stress, smoking, drinking, lack of sleep and childhood abuse. When compared, the results states clearly that leaving aside the other 14 factors the childhood abuse increases the predisposition for thyroid problems.

Childhood Trauma

According to the studies, growing up in a traumatizing environment creates a predisposition of reacting poorly to stressful conditions during the adult lifetime. Physical and emotional abuse suffered during very young years doesn’t allow the body to develop accurate resistance to stress and this triggers in women a predisposition to develop thyroid disorders.

Future studies need to be conducted to analyze the “fight or flight” response and cortisol hormone production for the women that suffered childhood abuse because the scientists are inclined to believed that this is responsible for developing a poor resistance to stress during adulthood.

Pregnancy and Thyroid

Pregnancy is partly responsible for thyroid problems. Post-partum tachycardia and constant stressful situations can cause thyroid issues. Common post-partum problems like increased fatigue, post-partum depression, excessive weight loss or weight gain can trigger a thyroid disease especially if the new mother grew up in an abusive childhood environment.

Things to Do

It is difficult to assume that women suffering from abuse as children seek psychological and medical help during their adult life. Scientists advise them to consider the implications of a future thyroid problem and seek help before becoming pregnant. In case the adult life presents an amount of stress they can’t control or influence, women should seek medical assistance to better deal with stress and prevent future thyroid related health issues.