The Human body is incredible and so is the female body. She is empowered to carry a pregnancy and every effort to generate life. We know, infertility is a silent battle often fought in public. The simple addition of 1 becomes a Herculean task. There are so many complex systems involved in fertility and one such concern is thyroid glands.
Does thyroid gland dysfunction cause infertility? Yes. Research has proved that the thyroid gland plays a very vital role in female fertility. The thyroid gland produces hormones that interact with the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. The thyroid gland regulates the menstrual cycle, follicular development and pregnancy.
If the thyroid gland is not performing well, it can cause metabolic imbalance. Over-activation of the thyroid gland is called hyperthyroidism and under-activation of the thyroid gland is called hypothyroidism. Both conditions can cause infertility, early menopause or can cause complications during pregnancy.
The thyroid gland and its function.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped structure located in the neck, in front of the windpipe.
Its main function is to regulate metabolism, through the production, storage and secretion of the following hormones: Thyroxine (T4) & Triiodothyronine (T3). These hormones regulate oxygen consumption, protein synthesis etc.
An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can cause low fertility. The thyroid gland regulates the ovulation cycle, low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovarian function, maturation of eggs released, or irregular cycles. It can complicate pregnancy. Getting thyroid issues under control is the first step towards fertility. Once conception happens, one needs to monitor thyroid function to prevent birth defects and miscarriage.
Thyroid problems are considered an endocrine disease that affects any organ system of the body including the reproductive system. A lot of research has shown the alteration in the production of thyroid hormones leads to an imbalance of reproductive hormones causing, Alteration of ovulation, Irregular menstruation, Infertility and the Risk of miscarriage too.
Are the thyroid tests included in basic blood work?
There is an established link between thyroid hormones with infertility, that’s why thyroid hormone analysis is one of the first tests advised during fertility consultation. Thyroid alterations are classified into two major groups: Hyperthyroidism: There is excessive production and release of thyroid hormones. There is an acceleration of the metabolism, with the following symptoms.
Increased heart rate, Weight loss, Excessive sweating, Anxiety and nervousness, Irritability and insomnia, Frequent bowel movements, Trembling hands, Muscle weakness, Hair loss or breakage, Irregular menstruation or total absence of menstrual cycles
Large amounts of the T3 and T4 hormones are secreted by the thyroid which inhibits the production of TSH so that it stops stimulating the thyroid.
Hypothyroidism: The thyroid gland decreases in activity & there is not enough production of thyroid hormones. Metabolism slows down, causing decreased heart rate, Weakness or fatigue, Accelerated weight gain, Low attention span, Muscle or joint pain, Pale or dry skin, Constipation, Irregular, lightly bleeding menstrual periods, Anovulation
A simple blood test to measure the level of TSH hormone is the most reliable test to diagnose thyroid problems.
A TSH level greater than 4.7 mU/ml: confirms (hypothyroidism) insufficient production of thyroid hormones
A TSH level of less than 0.5 mU/ml confirms (hyperthyroidism). Excessive production of thyroid hormones.
An ultrasound of the thyroid gland further to rule out the presence of nodules or cysts.
There are simple and effective medicines for thyroid functions. After following the treatment, it is possible to restore the ovarian cycle and have a natural pregnancy. Treatments decrease the risk of miscarriage during the first trimester of gestation and associated fetal problems.
Do thyroid problems also cause male infertility too?
Yes, even though, the thyroid is not as common as often seen in women. Thyroid alterations affect the production and maturation of sperm, are a cause of teratozoospermia and can cause erectile dysfunction and decreased libido.
Can a woman with thyroid problems get pregnant?
An undiagnosed thyroid condition can pose a problem in conceiving and even after. Once the over- or underactive thyroid is under control, there are fair chances of a successful and healthy pregnancy.
In a nutshell, let’s hit refresh some key takeaways about thyroid health.
1. T4 Hormone Levels are Key
T4 Hormone Levels are Key
T4 Hormone Levels are Key
1. T4 is the most important hormone
The most important hormone of thyroid gland is Thyroxine (T4), which controls the body’s metabolism. If there is too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little T4 (hypothyroidism), the body will not function normally.
2. Thyroid Disorders are Common and well researched condition
Thyroid conditions are more common in females and specially ,for those of reproductive age, infertility or miscarriage may be the first vital sign about thyroid health which can easily be corrected.
3. The slow metabolism is due to Hypothyroidism
Hypothyroidism can have symptoms like fatigue, dry skin, constipation, heavy periods, weight gain, decrease in appetite, lethargy etc.
4. Hypothyroidism and Infertility are closely linked
Hypothyroidism prevents ovulation even during regular menstrual periods
Even after conception with undiagnosed hypothyroidism, women may have an increased risk of miscarriage. Some women with an underactive thyroid may have elevated levels of prolactin. Excess prolactin can make future pregnancies complicated by preventing ovulation.
Hypothyroidism also causes luteal phase defects. Due to this, then there will be fertility problems since the uterine lining can’t build up sufficiently for the embryo to implant, and it will be flushed from the body with the next menstrual period.
reating Hypothyroidism is Simple
creating Hypothyroidism is Simple
Treating Hypothyroidism is Simple with medicines and easily detected with blood tests.