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Hypothyroidism & Infertility: Let's Explore the Connection

Team AckoFeb 8, 2024

Are you having difficulties getting pregnant? Then you might want to have a talk with your doctor about getting your thyroid levels checked. Studies have shown that having an underactive thyroid may interfere with a woman's ability to get pregnant.



How does the Thyroid Gland affect Fertility?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the front of the neck. It works in response to triggers from the pituitary gland within the endocrine system. The main function of both the thyroid and pituitary gland 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, it can cause thyroid issues. Those thyroid imbalances can create fertility issues. This can cause an increased rate of irregular periods, ovulatory disorders, miscarriages, preterm birth and lower IQs.

How can Hypothyroidism impact Fertility?

The following are some ways in which hypothyroidism can affect infertility.

1. Issues with periods and ovulation

Hypothyroidism and reduced thyroid hormone levels can affect various aspects of menstruation and ovulation. Having low levels of thyroxine, or T4, or elevated thyroid-releasing hormone (TRH) results in high prolactin levels. This can cause no egg to release during ovulation or can lead to irregular egg release and difficulty in conception.

2. Irregularities with menstrual cycles

Hypothyroidism can also result in a shortened second half of the menstrual cycle. Due to this, a fertilized egg may not have enough time to attach to the womb. It can also cause low basal body temperature, high thyroid peroxidase antibodies, and ovarian cysts, which could result in miscarriage or an inability to conceive.

3. Low libido and sperm production in men

Hypothyroidism can also affect fertility in men, even though it occurs less in men. Males with an underactive thyroid may have low libido and low sperm count, making it difficult for the woman to get pregnant.

4. Fatigue

Hypothyroidism can lead to fatigue in both men and women. When you’re fatigued, you may not have much sexual intercourse. This makes it more difficult to conceive.

Monitoring your Hypothyroidism

It is important to have your thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 levels monitored if you are planning to get pregnant. This is even more necessary if you have low thyroid hormones already or have had a miscarriage. High risk factors include a family history of thyroid problems or any other autoimmune disease. Dealing with any hypothyroid issues early in the pregnancy planning stages allows for early treatment. This can lead to a more successful outcome of conception and pregnancy.

Symptoms of Hypothyroidism

The following are typical symptoms of hypothyroidism:

• fatigue

• severe hair fall

• weight gain

• constipation

• increased sensitivity to cold

• dry skin

• muscle weakness

• irregular or heavier menstrual periods

Preventive measures for Hypothyroidism

Apart from diagnosis and medication, there are certain measures that can be taken to ensure that the thyroid functions properly. These include the following:

1. Reduce stress

Certain stress hormone levels inhibit thyroid hormone production.

2. Exercise regularly

Exercise enhances the production of thyroid hormones and increases the sensitivity of the tissues to these hormones.

3. Have a balanced diet

Eat a healthy diet, and avoid unhealthy choices such as refined grains, sugar, caffeine etc.

4. Live healthy

Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption.

Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only, based on industry experience and secondary sources. It is not a substitute for professional advice. Please consult a qualified expert for health or insurance-related decisions. Content is subject to change, refer to current policy wordings for specific ACKO details.



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