The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ in the front of our neck producing hormones for regulating metabolism and thus, it affects vital body functions. Whereas fertility is the ability to conceive and therefore, the inter-link between your thyroid health and fertility is an important and intricate part of conception. Undiagnosed and untreated thyroid situations can be a probable cause for infertility as well as sub-fertility. According to a study by the Journal of Applied and Basic Medical Research 2 to 4 percent of childbearing age, women have low thyroid hormone levels. Clearly, the fertility of a woman is impacted by hypothyroidism. We gathered more details from Dr. Apurva Satish Amarnath, Consultant- Reproductive Medicine at Nova IVF Fertility, Bangalore and added them to this article.
Overactive Thyroid and Thyroid Disorders
A lot of people have thyroid but they do not know what it actually means to have thyroid. This is a gland that produces hormones for vital organs. When the gland dysfunction, it causes hormonal disruption that impacts other functions. Thyroid disorders can be referred to as disarrays that cause dysregulated functioning of the thyroid gland, resulting in overproduction, which is called hyperthyroidism or underproduction which called hypothyroidism of thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4).
How Hypothyroidism affect fertility?
Hypothyroidism can affect your fertility in a negative way- both in the ability to conceive and the ability to carry a fetus. Therefore, normal thyroid levels are vital for your fertility health, pregnancy, and to sustain a healthy pregnancy, even in the initial days post conception.
Dysregulation of the thyroid hormones, causes changes in the menstrual cycle, affecting ovulation, cause irregular menstruation and absent to heavy bleeding. This presents as include a shorter or longer cycle than your typical menstrual cycle and one can experience lighter or heavier bleeding in comparison to the regular one. This also means, longer or shorter windows for bleeding than the typical ones. This affects the ability to conceive since ovulation is inhibited in view of hormonal dysfunction.
- Apart from this thyroid dysfunction can also cause problems in pregnancy, such as the increased risk of miscarriage or preterm birth.
- Uncontrolled hypothyroidism also has an impact on the growing fetus and leads to mental retardation and stunted growth.
- Though Thyroidal disorders are more prevalent in women, but they can also impact male fertility. Unregulated function of thyroid can lead to damage of sperm quality or mortality and therefore posing difficulty for them to enter egg for implantation.
Therefore, keeping a regular check on thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 levels, specifically prior to becoming pregnant is highly recommended. This is especially essential if someone has been diagnosed with low thyroid hormones already or have had a miscarriage. Amongst high-risk factors include a family history of thyroid problems or any other autoimmune disease. Treating and controlling thyroid disorders prior to pregnancy will ensure a successful outcome both in terms of conception and healthy pregnancy.
Thyroid and infertility are linked. For a healthy conception, normal thyroid levels need to be maintained. People(both men and women) who have extremely low levels of thyroid or overactive thyroid can even become infertile. It is best to get your thyroid tested at regular intervals and receive aid to control the condition.
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