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Effect of thyroid and ovary’s hormones on the breast

Effect of thyroid and ovary’s hormones on the breast

The interaction between thyroid and ovarian hormones plays a significant role in breast development, function, and health. Both the thyroid gland and ovaries secrete hormones that are essential for various physiological processes, and their balance is crucial for maintaining breast tissue integrity and function. Here’s an overview of how these hormones influence the breasts:

Thyroid Hormones and Breast Health

Thyroid hormones, mainly thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), have multiple roles in the body, including the regulation of metabolism, growth, and development. Their effect on breast tissue includes:

  • Development and Differentiation: Thyroid hormones are essential for normal breast development during puberty. They influence the growth and differentiation of breast tissues.
  • Menstrual Cycle Regulation: Although indirectly, thyroid hormones can impact menstrual cycle regularity by influencing overall hormonal balance. An irregular cycle may affect breast tissue cyclic changes and tenderness.
  • Fibrocystic Breast Changes: Some studies suggest a link between thyroid disorders, particularly hypothyroidism, and fibrocystic breast changes, a benign condition characterized by lumpy, sometimes painful breasts.

Ovarian Hormones and Breast Health

The primary ovarian hormones, estrogen and progesterone, have a direct and significant impact on breast tissue:

  • Breast Development: During puberty, estrogen promotes the growth of ducts in the breast, while progesterone supports the development of lobules and alveoli, preparing the breast for potential lactation in the future.
  • Menstrual Cycle: The cyclic variations of estrogen and progesterone during the menstrual cycle cause changes in breast tissue, which can lead to tenderness and swelling in the premenstrual phase.
  • Pregnancy and Lactation: Increased levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy further stimulate breast growth and milk-producing capacity. After childbirth, the drop in these hormones allows prolactin to initiate and maintain milk production.
  • Risk of Breast Diseases: Prolonged exposure to estrogen and progesterone has been associated with an increased risk of certain breast diseases, including breast cancer. Factors that increase hormonal exposure include early menstruation, late menopause, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and having children later or not at all.

Interaction Between Thyroid and Ovarian Hormones

  • Hormonal Balance: Thyroid hormones can influence the metabolism of estrogen and the sensitivity of estrogen receptors in the breast. Thyroid disorders, such as hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, can disrupt menstrual regularity and hormonal balance, indirectly affecting breast health.
  • Fertility and Pregnancy: Both thyroid and ovarian hormones are crucial for fertility and healthy pregnancy. Imbalances can lead to difficulties conceiving and maintaining a pregnancy, with potential implications for breast changes during and after pregnancy.


The breasts are sensitive to changes in both thyroid and ovarian hormones. Imbalances in these hormones can lead to various breast symptoms and conditions. It’s essential for women experiencing breast discomfort, menstrual irregularities, or signs of thyroid dysfunction to seek medical evaluation. Understanding the intricate relationship between these hormones can help in managing breast health effectively, emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to women’s health care.

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Address: 27 Welbeck Street, London, W1G 8EN

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