Thyroid – Infertility Connection

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Photo Credit: Fox News

 

Thyroid conditions are the leading cause of infertility, let alone maintaining a pregnancy. Having a low thyroid condition leaves a negative impact on a woman’s reproductive health. Unfortunately, the thyroid-infertility connection is more common than most realize.

So, What Is The Thyroid and What Does It Do?

Not sure what the thyroid is and its function? That’s okay – many people don’t. Situated just under the larynx, in the lower portion of the neck, is the thyroid. The thyroid is tiny and is known as a butterfly-shaped gland. The thyroid gland’s primary function is to take iodine from the foods you consume and convert them into thyroid hormones. Your thyroid is responsible for just about all the cells in your body. There are two types of thyroid conditions: hyperthyroidism meaning you produce too much thyroid hormone and hypothyroidism, which is when you don’t produce enough thyroid hormone.  Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is also a major contributor to thyroid issues. Hashimoto’s is a chronic autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

You may be wondering what causes thyroid issues. The cause is still undergoing research, but one culprit is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Hashimoto’s is a chronic autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland, causing hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

 

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Photo Credit: The World of Thyroid Care

Okay, But How Does This Tie Into Infertility?

Because your thyroid is a huge part of making sure your cells and organs function properly, having a thyroid condition can cause menstrual irregularities, hormone imbalances, ovulation problems, miscarriages, and much more.

Know The Signs

Knowing the signs can keep you in-tune with your body so you can better understand what may be going on and you can suggest further testing from your physician.

Fertility Signs and Symptoms With Hypothyroidism

Early Signs

  • Menstrual Irregularities
  • Hyperprolactinemia (increased prolactin hormone)
  • Galactorrhea (milk flow despite no pregnancy or childbirth)
  • Infertility

Late Signs

  • Low Basal Body Temperature
  • Inconsistent Menstrual Cycles

 

Hyperthyroidism

Fertility Signs and Symptoms

  • Amenorrhea (no period)
  • Postpartum thyroiditis (appears in 7 percent of all women within the first year following childbirth)
  • Decrease in libido

The Big Picture

Your thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, and it controls the pituitary and hypothalamus gland in the brain. Additionally, reproductive hormone balance relies on proper thyroid function. When thyroid function is not normal, hormones become unbalanced, leading to several reproductive issues. Conception seems to be most common in women who are dealing with hypothyroidism because of associated ovarian dysfunction, meaning ovulation is irregular or non-existent. Additionally, hypothyroidism is a huge culprit with reduced LH (luteinizing hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels which are critical for egg follicle maturation and ovarian production of progesterone and estrogen.

 

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Photo Credit: On Health

Is There Any Hope?

If you are currently living with a thyroid condition or if you are suspecting that you have a thyroid condition, it doesn’t mean you will never experience a pregnancy. With proper medical care, the right medication, a healthy diet, and consistency, you have the potential to carry a pregnancy to term.

 

It’s critical that if you are a woman who has been struggling to conceive or if you experienced two or more miscarriages, you should request proper testing from your physician to rule out thyroid disease. Requesting a full thyroid hormone panel for accurate diagnosis is beneficial. Once you receive a diagnosis, it’s essential to work closely with your doctor to monitor your thyroid levels as it can take a while to find the correct dose of thyroid medication that works for your body.