Should we screen women for hypothyroidism?
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Testing for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) finds more cases of unrecognized hypothyroidism than history and physical examination (strength of recommendation [SOR]: A, based on cohort studies). Women with an initial screening TSH >10 mU/L are more likely to develop complications of hypothyroidism and to benefit from treatment (SOR: A, based on prospective cohort studies). Treating women who have asymptomatic hypothyroidism and a screening TSH >10 mU/L prevents progression to symptomatic overt disease (SOR: A, based on prospective cohort studies) and reduces serum lipid levels (SOR: A, based on randomized controlled trials). Treating women who have subclinical hypothyroidism found by screening does not reduce symptoms (SOR: A, small randomized controlled trials), and its effect on cardiac disease remains controversial. Treatment may increase bone loss in premenopausal women (SOR: A, based on randomized controlled trials and controlled cross-sectional studies), and it may cause symptoms in certain individuals (SOR: C, based on observational studies).
Journal of Family Practice, 53(10) 2004: 653-655.