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How Can Thyroid Problems Affect Fertility

The Role Of Active Hormones

My Second Infertility Diagnosis | How Your Thyroid Can Affect Fertility

This is another recurrent theme that we see playing out time and time again. We need T4, but there are some who suggest that it is more imperative that we have T3 . The thing about this is that we do need T4, so long as it is in coordination with T3.

Ultimately, this allows us to mimic a state of good health within our bodies, and to replicate that normal state we need T3, T4 and T2. That is why I am generally against T3-only therapy because it discounts what our bodies need to assume or adopt that good and strong state of health.

When Should Treatment Be Considered

Thankfully, hypothyroidism can be treated very simply, by taking daily medication called levothyroxine that replaces the thyroxine hormone your body isn’t producing sufficiently. The problem is that often, subfertile women don’t know they might have an underactive thyroid gland, and many doctors don’t look for it.

Dr Jane Stewart, secretary of the British Fertility Society, explains that when hypothyroidism has the effect of reducing fertility, physical symptoms will typically be present – and it’s those symptoms that prompt doctors to investigate thyroid function.

“Hypothyroidism may result in menstrual irregularities and reduced fertility because of reduced ovulation it would usually be clinically evident, and if appropriately replaced those effects would be reversed,” she says. “Consequently, screening for thyroid problems for fertility purposes is not recommended.”

However, as Professor Pearce highlights, symptoms of hypothyroidism are nonspecific, usually develop over several years and could indicate any number of other medical problems. “One study showed that 20% of people with fully normal thyroid blood tests had four or more symptoms of thyroid underactivity,” he says.

As such, he suggests that doctors adopt a strategy of “aggressive case finding” when a woman is having unexplained fertility problems.

Women with a history of miscarriage or any other obstetric problem should also be investigated, he says.

Thyroid And Fertility Relationship

The thyroid gland may be small, but it has a major influence on multiple processes in our body in both direct and indirect manner. The thyroid produces hormones that regulate metabolism, manage our weight, and so much more.

Hormonal balance is vital for good health and wellbeing.; Bearing in mind thyroid has such a meaningful impact on our overall health and sex hormones its impossible not to wonder if this gland also affects fertility in any way. We bring you all the answers below.

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Thyroid Treatment During Pregnancy

Thyroid hormones play a very important role during pregnancy.; Theyre essential for a healthy pregnancy and for normal development of the embryo, especially neurodevelopment .

Pregnancy has a dramatic effect on thyroid hormone production, especially during the first trimester.

During these first 3 months of pregnancy, the growing fetus depends on maternal thyroid hormone for its growth and development.; It contributes its own thyroid hormone later on in pregnancy.

Its extremely important that you maintain healthy levels of T4 and T3 during pregnancy because too much or too little thyroid hormone can increase the risk of complications to the pregnancy and the baby.

This includes preterm delivery, pre-eclampsia, growth restriction and neurodevelopmental delay in the baby, and still birth.

If you have Graves Disease its important that you consult your doctor before getting pregnant, to ensure that your thyroid hormone levels are in the healthy range.; If they arent, you may need treatment before you get pregnant.

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Trouble Getting Pregnant It Might Be Your Thyroid

Thyroid Disease and Getting Pregnant

Its a little gland in your neck shaped like a butterfly, but the thyroid is powerful. It regulates everything from body temperature to metabolism, but most of us never think about our thyroid until something goes wrong. In some cases, it can be an underactive gland that manifests as hypothyroidism;and symptoms like hair loss or weight gain; for others, its an overactive gland leading to hyperthyroidism;and a rapid heartbeat or insomnia.;And for a growing number of people, papillary thyroid cancer is the issue.

But some women have no idea their;thyroid isnt working properly until theyre having trouble trying to conceive. Fortunately, with the right kind of diagnosis and thyroid treatment, its still possible for them to become mothers.

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How Hypothyroidism Causes Infertility

  • Hypothyroidism can cause infertility by preventing ovulationeven when menstrual periods are occurring regularly.
  • Women with undiagnosed hypothyroidism who do conceive have an elevated risk of miscarriage. And even hypothyroid women whove already been diagnosed, treated, and stabilized with medication need to be monitored closely.
  • Some women with an underactive thyroid may experience elevated levels of prolactin, the hormone that induces the production of breast milk in postpartum women. Excess prolactin can make conceiving more difficult, again by preventing ovulation.
  • Hypothyroidisms effects on metabolism can also bring on a condition known as luteal phase defect. The luteal phase is the second half of the monthly cycle, lasting from ovulation to menstruation. It is normally 12 to 16 days long. But if the luteal phase chronically runs shorter than ten days, then there will be fertility problems since the uterine lining cant build up sufficiently for the embryo to implant, and it will be flushed from the body with the next menstrual period.

Thyroid Problems And Infertility: Reducing Your Risk

The best thing you can do to maintain fertility and reduce your risk of health complications is to get your thyroid condition under control as soon as possible. Once hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism is successfully treated, you should no longer experience infertility, as long as thyroid problems were the only cause.

Infertility can have many different culprits, and a thyroid problem can certainly be one of them. If you have a thyroid condition, talk to your doctor before trying to get pregnant or if you’re having trouble conceiving. And if you’re having problems conceiving and are otherwise healthy, your doctor may want to run some screening tests to be sure that a thyroid problem isn’t the cause.

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What Happens When There Is A Problem With Thyroid Function

When there is a problem with the function of the thyroid gland, then the body’s natural reproductive hormones’ balance is upset and ovulation is affected. Even though a woman has a regular menstrual period, she may not be ovulating. The best way to tell if ovulation is happening is to test the level of luteinizing hormone , which is released by the pituitary gland. It is LH which causes the release of the egg by stimulating the ovaries. This test is easily accomplished with an ovulation predictor kit. The kit will identify the LH surge which triggers ovulation. Too much or too little thyroid hormone may affect the LH levels and the release of the egg.

Another possible effect of thyroid disease or dysfunction is a shortened luteal phase. The luteal phase in the menstrual cycle is the period of time between ovulation and the onset of menstruation. A normal luteal phase is between 13 to 15 days and this period is long enough to nurture a fertilized egg until it is settled in the uterus. A shortened luteal phase can cause failure in sustaining the fertilized egg long enough to implant. While this appears to be infertility, it is really a very early loss of pregnancy which happens at the same time as menstruation would begin.

Is An Underactive Thyroid Preventing You Getting Pregnant

Thyroid Issues Affect Female Fertility

    This series of articles is looking at fertility and how naturopathic medicine can help improve it if you are having difficulty conceiving. This time, I want to look at the role the thyroid gland can play in infertility. If you have missed any of the previous articles in this series and would like to catch up you can find them here:

    • Sowing a Seed: Improving Fertility with Seeds and Oil
    • Fertility & Folic Acid: Why Taking Folic Acid May Not Be Enough
    • Wanting To Get Pregnant? Dont Forget About Sperm Health
    • What Is PCOS And How Does It Affect My Fertility?

    The primary function of the thyroid gland is to produce hormones to regulate your metabolism, however it also plays an important role in female and male fertility and pregnancy by:

    • Thickening the uterine lining for the fertilized egg to attach to
    • Increasing body temperature to aid ovulation
    • Helping with cell differentiation which is needed for a rapidly developing fetus
    • Facilitating brain development in the fetus
    • Helping to maintain healthy testosterone levels in males
    • Helping with the production of the right quantity of high quality sperm

    When thyroid hormone levels are too high or too low the following pregnancy risks can occur:

    • Increased risk of miscarriage
    • Poor fetal development
    • Increased risk of premature birth

    The Thyroid and Fertility

    How Can I Tell if I have a Thyroid Imbalance?

    Signs of an Underactive or Overactive Thyroid

    • Female Infertility
    • Vision changes or bulging eyes

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    How Does Your Thyroid Specifically Affect Your Fertility

    Abnormalities in thyroid function often prevent women from ovulating and is one of the leading causes of irregular menstrual cycles. Research also shows that thyroid disorders commonly result in reduced rates of conception, increased miscarriage risk, preeclampsia, poor fetal growth, and adverse neonatal outcomes such as premature birth and stillbirth.

    Remember how we talked about the hypothalamus and pituitary glands and how they communicate to maintain T3 and T4 balance? Well, those glands also control the ovaries and the adrenal glands, two other endocrine glands intimately involved in reproduction. The pituitary gland produces hormones essential to your fertility Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Luteinizing Hormone . When FSH and LH are produced, your ovaries respond by producing estrogen and progesterone. The adrenal glands make whats commonly known as the stress hormone, cortisol, in response to Adrenocorticotropic Hormone secreted by the pituitary. We know that cortisol notably affects fertility health. A similar negative feedback loop exists between ovarian and adrenal hormones and the hypothalamus and pituitary, just like with thyroid hormone.

    Hypothyroidism has been associated with reduced FSH and LH levels which are essential for egg follicle maturation and ovarian production of estrogen and progesterone.

    The Effects Of Thyroid Disease Can Be Far Reaching

    Dr. Rubenfeld said that,”the mechanisms by which thyroid problems interfere with fertility are often unknown, but there is no question that other aspects of thyroid function affect fertility.” He gives the example that hypothyroidism can cause an increase in prolactin, the hormone which is produced by the pituitary gland that causes breast milk to be produced in post-partum women. Excessive prolactin can prevent ovulation or affect monthly cycles, causing irregularities. The increase in prolactin may be generated by a higher level of thyrotropin releasing hormone which stimulates the pituitary gland to send out both prolactin and thyroid stimulating hormone .

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    Why Thyroid Problems Cause Infertility

    Could a low thyroid be responsible for infertility? Heres how these two medical problems are related and what to do about it.

    As many as 20 million Americans struggle with a thyroid problem of some kind, and these numbers continue to increase each year. More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition at some point in their lives, and women are five to eight times more likely to have thyroid problems than men. As many as 60 percent of those who have thyroid disease dont even know that their thyroid is having problems.

    At the same time, more than 12 percent of women have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. Is there a correlation between thyroid issues and infertility?

    Are you struggling with a Thyroid condition? Weve created a FREE guide that shows you how you can heal your thyroid.

    Hypothyroidism And Reproductive Health

    Can Thyroid Effects on Fertility? Other complications of ...

    Both overt and subclinical hypothyroidism can affect fertility and reproductive health.

    Hypothyroidism is associated with disrupted menstrual cycles, subfertility , miscarriage, pregnancy complications and an increased risk to the health and development of the baby.; Research also suggests that it might be associated with poorer outcomes during fertility treatment.

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    Ways To Take Control Of Your Thyroid Health And Fertility

    Every woman is unique in how infertility and thyroid health affect one another. Sometimes thyroid problems cause infertility, while other times, they are only one part of a womans infertility challenges. Empower yourself with these top eight things you need to know about thyroid health and fertility.

    1. Learn About Thyroid Tests

    If your doctor is only testing for TSH, request getting checked for free-circulating thyroid hormones by asking specifically for Free T3 and Free T4. Its important that you get the free versions, as these are the most accurate way to assess actual thyroid hormone available to your cells.

    Most doctors will require that these tests be done after fasting overnight and before you take any thyroid medications. Your first test will essentially be a baseline. If youre out of the normal range, it will give a goal to work toward with medication. If youre in the normal range but at the low end, and still experiencing problems, you may still require a boost of medication to get you to the optimal part of the range for you. After a few tests, youll have a good gauge of where you feel best.

    2. Get Those Antibodies Checked

    You should also get tested for thyroid antibodies if you have a family history of thyroid disease or any kind of autoimmunity. If youve been diagnosed as hypothyroid but you cant seem to get your thyroid under control, ruling out autoimmune causes can help to pinpoint the next steps.

    There are two kinds of thyroid antibodies:

    Healthy Lifestyle And Diet For Thyroid Disorders:

    Not all thyroid issues originate with the thyroid. The adrenal glands mediate the bodys multiple responses to all forms of stress. Poor eating habits, a busy schedule, emotional stress, caffeine, food intolerance, immune disorders and other triggers contribute to adrenal stress which in turn reduces the conversion of T4 to active T3 in target cells. Hence treating the thyroid without providing adrenal support may not be effective in some cases.

    Poor diet and nutritional deficiency are also the major reasons for thyroid problems. It is always advisable for persons with thyroid disorders to include organic foods when possible, as the thyroid is very sensitive to environmental toxins. Iodine-rich foods like navy beans, strawberries, whole fat yogurt, raw cranberry, dried seaweed, tuna, and turkey breast supports thyroid health. Too much iodine can also cause goitre. It is important to get a balanced amount of iodine in the diet. Your physician may also recommend natural supplements such as Zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Vitamin C as a part of thyroid disorder management.

    For enquiries related to treatment of infertility, send a message to www.KJKHospital.com/contact

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    Are There Any Special Considerations I Should Take During Pregnancy

    If you are placed on levothyroxine, there are few risks to the pregnancy, but your required dose generally increases during pregnancy. For hyperthyroid medications, there are documented birth defects that can be associated with their use, so consultation with a maternal-fetal medicine physician should occur prior to pregnancy. It will be important to be monitored closely and regularly by your doctor during your pregnancy. You may have a higher risk of pregnancy loss with hypothyroidism, while hyperthyroidism is known to cause pre-term labor issues and low birth weight. The diagnosis of a thyroid issue does not mean this will occur as many women with thyroid issues give birth to healthy babies, but it is important to have regular physician visits and monitoring.

    Effects Of Hyperthyroidism On Fertility

    Thyroid Problems and How They Affect Fertility

    Hyperthyroidism is a condition where the body produces too much of a hormone called thyroxine. Women in particular are at risk for this type of disorder. Unlike hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism can manifest itself in a myriad of different symptoms, including but not limited to:

    · Rapid or irregular heartbeat

    · Irritability

    · Tremors

    · Trouble conceiving

    · Changes in menstrual cycle

    · Fatigue

    It can be difficult to pinpoint whether or not these symptoms are a byproduct of an overactive thyroid, as they can mimic symptoms that are common in many other health issues as well. If you suspect you may be suffering from hyperthyroidism, and are actively trying to conceive, speak to your healthcare provider to see what steps to take next.

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    Thyroid Flares During Pregnancy

    The most common form of hyperthyroidism in pregnancy is Graves disease. In fact, 1 in 1500 women will be affected during their pregnancy. This occurs when there are really high hCG levels in the body.

    According to the American Thyroid Association, the most common type of hypothyroidism is caused by the autoimmune disease Hashimotos. The ATA states, Approximately, 2.5% of women will have a slightly elevated TSH of greater than 6 and 0.4% will have a TSH greater than 10 during pregnancy.

    Both of these conditions can have adverse impacts on both mom and baby, so its important to address them. Taking ownership of your health during pregnancy is essential for both of you. If youre currently struggling with infertility or have suffered from miscarriage, take hope that there are proven steps you can begin taking to better your health and improve your chances of conceiving.

    How Can Thyroid Disorders Affect Your Fertility

    The underproduction of hormones in your thyroid gland , interferes with and limits the ability for the release of an egg from your ovary. Thyroid disorders also affect your ability to carry a fetus to term. The mediation of progesterone levels is important when dealing with this. If unregulated, difficulty getting pregnant is common along with early miscarriages due to lack of implantation.;

    Here are some signs that you may have low or malfunctioning progesterone:

    • Spotting between periods;
    • Breasts that are frequently sore
    • Vaginal dryness

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