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Thyroid Diseases

Can NuvaRing Affect Thyroid Function?

02/06/2009

Question:

I recently started using the NuvaRing and I have hypothyroidism (Hashimoto`s Thyroiditis). I take T3 and levothyroxine to treat it. I had thyroid tests completed prior to starting the Nuvaring, which were normal. Five weeks into using the Nuvaring, I am experiencing hyperthyroid symptoms, such as diarrhea, stomach pain, nervousness, and rapid heart beat. I`ve also lost four pounds over the last two weeks. Do you believe the hormones in the Nuvaring could be affecting the thyroid function?

Answer:

The Nuvaring contains a small amount of estrogen. If it had any effect at all, it would be to increase the binding of thyroid hormone to binding proteins in the blood stream. This would tend to lower the active thyroid hormone level in the blood stream, not raise it. Thus, I think it is unlikely that the Nuvaring has made you become hyperthyroid. However, it would be very easy to find out for sure - all you would need to do is ask your doctor to check your thyroid hormone blood tests again. If the hormone levels are still normal, the your symptoms are not related to your thyroid.

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Response by:

Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE Thomas A Murphy, MD, FACP, FACE
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University