Thyroid and Infertility – Everything that You Need to Know

Thyroid disease is a common condition in the reproductive medicine setting due to the complex interplay between the hypothalamo‐pituitary axis and the thyoid gland. Abnormalities in thyroid function, can have an adverse effect on reproductive health and result in reduced rates of conception, increased early pregnancy loss, and adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes.

What is Thyroid?

The thyroid is a small gland located in your neck. Its job is to control your body’s metabolism, the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy through the
hormones it releases. Located in the front of the neck, the butterfly-shaped gland – thyroid works in response to the pituitary gland within the endocrine system. The main function of both is to produce and regulate hormones. The pituitary gland in your brain creates thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) which triggers the thyroid to produce two other hormones, T3 and T4. When T3 and T4 production is high or low, thyroid issues can result.

Hormonal imbalance can disturb menstruation, ovulation, and can affect a women’s fertility. This can cause an increased rate of pregnancy loss, ovulatory disorders, irregular periods, preterm birth and lower IQs. Women may experience fertility problems for many different reasons, and sometimes its hard to pinpoint the exact cause. One factor that many women with fertility problems may not have on their radar is the possibility of an undiagnosed thyroid condition.

Specific kinds of thyroid disorders:

  •   Hypothyroidism(underactive thyroid): This may lead to irregular menstrual cycles that can affect fertility. Hypothyroidism has also been tied to a definite increase in the risk of miscarriage. Women with hypothyroid are about four times more likely to have a
    miscarriage than women who aren’t. Women with untreated hypothyroidism are also at
    risk for having babies with developmental problems and slightly lower IQ levels.
    Hypothyroidism can cause cysts to form on the ovaries. It can also lead to increased
    production of prolactin — the hormone that controls milk production, or lactation — in
    women who aren’t pregnant. When your prolactin levels are high, you may not ovulate.
  • Hyperthyroidism(overactive thyroid): This is the condition where there is an
    overproduction of the thyroid hormone. This causes irregular menstruation like short and
    scanty periods, or irregular and abnormal periods. In this situation ovulation and release
    of the eggs gets affected causing infertility in women.

Thyroid Disorders hurt Male Fertility too:-
Hypothyroidism in men can lead to a variety of fertility issues – reduced sperm volume and
motility (movement), sperm defects, a lower libido, problems sustaining an erection, and lowered
male fertility hormones such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating
hormone (FSH). If thyroid issues are suspected, it is best to run a complete thyroid panel.
Women are more likely than men to have thyroid disease and one in eight women will develop
thyroid problems during their lifetime. Thyroid disease also can cause your periods to stop for
several months or longer, a condition called amenorrhea. If your body’s immune system causes
thyroid disease, other glands, including your ovaries, may be involved. This can lead to early
menopause (before age 40). Thyroid problems during pregnancy can cause health problems for
the mother and the baby.

Can Thyroid be Treated?
Living a healthy lifestyle always supports fertility. Excess weight can contribute to hormonal
imbalances, throwing ovulation off in women and hormone balance off in men as well. Exercise
regularly, keep stress low, stay away from cigarettes, limit alcohol to a drink per day, and limit
caffeine to two servings per day. A healthy diet rich in iodine, whole grains, veggies and lean
protein can also help. Iodine-rich foods can include navy beans, strawberries, whole fat yoghurt,
raw cranberry, dried seaweed, codfish, tuna, and turkey breast. Your physician may also
recommend natural supplements such as Zinc, Vitamin E, Vitamin A, Vitamin B and Vitamin C.

How long it Take to conceive?
Gynaecologists mostly check TSH and PRL levels in every infertile female, regardless of their
menstrual rhythm. After treatment for hypothyroidism, 76.6% of infertile women conceived
within 6 weeks to 1 year. Simple, oral hypothyroidism treatment for 3 months to 1 year can be of
great benefit to conceive in otherwise asymptomatic infertile women.
If you have questions or concerns about your thyroid disorder, you should talk to your doctor or
specialist as they will be best placed to advise you. You may also contact Ziva Fertility
Centre, for further information and support.
Contact us at 9100002737, 9886502167 or visit our website www.zivafertility.com