There are a lot of vital internal mechanisms in the body, such as metabolism, growth, etc. But, ever wonder how all these silent mechanisms work? Well, the “Thyroid gland” is one of the crucial organs responsible for running these functions. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ located in the front of the neck. The relationship between thyroid and fertility is very strong, especially “Hypothyroidism” can cause fertility issues.
What is Hypothyroidism?
The thyroid gland mainly produces the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). Thyroid disorders mainly refer to overproduction (hyperthyroidism) or underproduction (hypothyroidism) of thyroid hormones. Usually, the patient observes no symptoms in the initial stages. The first symptoms that will show up will be fatigue and unexplained weight gain. As the hormone production reduces, they experience the following conditions too:-
- Irregular and heavy menstrual cycles
- Soreness of muscles
- Skin and hair become dry and rough
- Unexplained Weight gain
- Unable to bear cold temperatures
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- High blood cholesterol
- Joint pains, stiffness, and swelling
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Hair fall
- Slowed heartbeat
Hypothyroidism can be detected in a simple blood test of thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH).
What are the causes for Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism results when the thyroid gland fails to produce enough hormones. Hypothyroidism may be due to several factors, including:
- Autoimmune disease-Top on the list is an autoimmune disorder known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Autoimmune disorders mean the body’s immune system attacks its tissues. When the autoimmune system attacks the thyroid gland, it leads to Thyroid disorders. There is still no concrete reason for this to happen.
- Excessive hyperthyroidism treatment- If a person is suffering from hyperthyroidism and is being treated with radioactive Iodine, it can lead to lower production of thyroid hormone resulting in Hypothyroidism.
- Thyroid surgery- If the patient underwent thyroid surgery and the thyroid gland was removed, then stop the thyroid hormone production.
- Radiation therapy – Any radiation to the head and neck region to cure Kansas can affect the thyroid gland, leading to Hypothyroidism.
- Medications- Certain medications, especially those containing lithium, can affect the thyroid gland.
- Pituitary disorder- If the pituitary gland is not stimulating the production of thyroid hormones, the patient will also get Hypothyroidism.
- Iodine deficiency- Iodine is essential for the production of thyroid hormones. If a person already has Hypothyroidism, then excess use of Iodine worsens the situation. In some parts of the world, iodine deficiency is common, but this problem has been largely overcome since Iodine has been added to regular table salt.
- Congenital disease – During the birth itself, some babies have a malfunctioning thyroid or no thyroid gland. Hence, most hospitals carry out thyroid screening on newborns.
Effect of Thyroid Disorders on Implantation
While Hypothyroidism affects many aspects of fertility, it crucially impacts the implantation process. For successful implantation, both men and women should have healthy thyroid function. Women should have a successful ovulation cycle, and men should have healthy and motile sperm. In hypothyroidism, mainly the ovulation cycle gets impacted. Women will not be able to release an egg into the fallopian tubes during the ovulation cycle. In some women, it impacts the last cycle of the ovulation phase.
Men suffering from hypothyroidism also will not be able to achieve successful implantation. If men are suffering from hypothyroidism, then their sperm quality and motility will reduce. Due to this, the sperm will not be able to reach the egg.
Sometimes there is an incomplete implantation too in which cases there is an early miscarriage.
Below are other main effects of Hypothyroidism on fertility:-
- Duration of the menstrual cycle increases or reduces.
- Bleeding levels also drastically vary as compared to your normal cycle.
- Risk of miscarriage increases
- There is a high chance of premature birth.
- During or after the pregnancy, some women produce antibodies impacting their thyroid gland. If Hypothyroidism is developed during the pregnancy, it increases the chance of miscarriage, premature delivery, and preeclampsia. The fetus also gets impacted by hyperthyroidism.
- If Hypothyroidism was a result of autoimmune disease, then infertility decreases.
Controlling Hypothyroidism is essential for fertility health. Otherwise, couples might have to opt for ART techniques. If you have Hypothyroidism and hope to become pregnant or if you are already pregnant, consult an endocrinologist and your gynaecologist for the best medical advice.
- Medical – Standard treatment involves oral medication. Synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levo-T, Synthroid, others) is prescribed. This oral medication will restore thyroid hormone levels and can also reverse any weight gain. This is a lifelong treatment, but the dosage varies based on your TSH levels.
- Non-medical (Lifestyle changes)
- Yoga has been proven to normalize Thyroid hormone levels. Regular practice of yoga also helps in weight management.
- Diet rich in Sodium, Zinc and selenium will activate the thyroid hormones. The antioxidant properties of such foods protect the thyroid gland from free radicals in the body. Zinc-rich foods are oysters, shellfish, and chicken. Brazil nuts, tuna, sardines, eggs, and legumes will boost your selenium levels. Seaweed, fish, dairy, and eggs are rich sources of Iodine.
If you plan to get pregnant and notice fatigue, dullness, hair fall, muscle soreness, and joint pains, do not hesitate to consult us at our ZIVA fertility centers. We will guide you appropriately, determine if you are suffering from thyroid disorders, and suggest appropriate treatment. We at ZIVA fertility center are with you throughout the journey. Reach us today at 91-93474 06900 or +91 78424 00104; or email: Info@zivafertility.com to consult our fertility expert.