Long-Term Outcome of Graves' Disease: A Gender Perspective

Jan Calissendorff, Per Karkov Cramon, Bengt Hallengren, Selwan Khamisi, Mikael Lantz, Tereza Planck, Gabriel Sjölin, Göran Wallin, Mats Holmberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

INTRODUCTION: In gender-skewed conditions such as Graves' disease (GD), the outcome naturally becomes dominated by the majority. This may lead to gender-biased misunderstandings regarding treatment outcomes. This especially holds true when complications, such as depression, are unevenly distributed. We have, therefore, studied the long-term outcome of GD from a gender perspective.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cohort of 1186 patients with GD was included in a follow-up 6-10 years after inclusion. Choice of treatment, the feeling of recovery, long-term treatment, comorbidity, and quality of life were investigated with questionnaires. All results were studied sex-divided.

RESULTS: We included 973 women and 213 men. There was no difference between men and women in the choice of treatment. At follow-up, women scored significantly worse in the general questionnaire 36-item Short-Form Health Status (SF-36) domain bodily pain and in the thyroid-specific Thyroid-Related Patient-Reported Outcome (ThyPRO) domains depression, impaired sex life, and cosmetic complaints, all p < 0.05. Women were twice as likely (29.5%) to be treated with levothyroxine after successful treatment with antithyroid drugs (ATD) compared with men (14.9%, p < 0.05).

CONCLUSION: After treatment for GD, women were more affected by depression, impaired sex life, cosmetic issues, and bodily pain despite successful cure of hyperthyroidism. The prevalence of hypothyroidism was also doubled in women. Whether these observed gender differences reflect a worse outcome of GD in women or a natural consequence of a higher prevalence of these symptoms and autoimmunity in the female population is difficult to disentangle. Nevertheless, several years after GD, women reveal more persistent symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWomen's health reports (New Rochelle, N.Y.)
Volume4
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)487-496
Number of pages10
ISSN2688-4844
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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