Your Thyroid and Fertility
Hypothyroidism and infertility have a direct connection to each other. When your thyroid is underactive, your metabolism will be slowed down which can cause you to experience problems with your menstrual period.
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition where the thyroid gland fails to produce adequate levels of some hormones. If your body has low thyroid hormone levels it can have a serious impact on your ovulation and fertility.
When your menstrual periods are irregular your chances of conceiving are significantly reduced. Many women who conceive when they have hypothyroidism have an increased risk of miscarriage and as well may experience complications during their pregnancy.
If you are able to conceive after you’ve been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, you’ll need to be monitored very carefully to ensure that your pregnancy is not at risk to you or your baby.
It’s important to note that hypothyroidism can affect both women and men. Men who are diagnosed with hypothyroidism can also have an impact on fertility and your ability to get pregnant.
When to Seek Help for Infertility
At what point do you seek help for infertility if you find that you just aren’t getting pregnant? Before you spend both money and time on what can be some very invasive medical tests, wait about six months before seeking help with infertility.
After six months of not getting pregnant, the first test your doctor should have you undergo is testing your thyroid function.
While there are many different reasons and solutions for your inability to conceive, infertility and hypothyroidism may be the connection your doctor is looking for, particularly if you have no other obvious reproductive issues that are outstanding.
If someone else in your family has any thyroid issues, it will be even more imperative that you’re tested for hypothyroidism.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism and Effect on Fertility
The symptoms of hypothyroidism may not at first be easy to detect. You may not even know that you are having thyroid problems until you’ve seen your doctor because you’re experiencing difficulties conceiving.
The signs of hypothyroidism in women include:
- Any problems with your menstrual cycle.
- Pain during your period.
- Unexplained weight gain.
- Low libido.
- Difficulty getting pregnant.
- Elevated levels of the prolactin hormone, also known as hyperprolactinemia.
- Galactorrhea, which is the presence of breast milk even though you’re not pregnant.
- A low BBT (low basal body temperature), which can be measured using a basal thermometer.
While the above symptoms are not all related to infertility problems, simply understanding how your thyroid can affect ovulation and your menstrual cycle can be a good starting point when you’re not able to get pregnant.
For men, the signs of hypothyroidism are even harder to detect. Symptoms of hypothyroidism in men include enlargement of the mammary glands and a decreased libido, which can inhibit your chances of getting pregnant.
If not treated, hypothyroidism can lead to infertility and complications in pregnancy.
Hypothyroidism and Fertility
If you’re planning on getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy, it’s imperative that you deal with any thyroid problems you’re experiencing ahead of time.
Many women know before they start trying to conceive that they’re having problems with their thyroid as some of the symptoms will be very obvious.
Once you and your doctor know that you have an underactive thyroid and that infertility may be an issue, you can take measures to deal with this condition before you and your partner try to conceive.
This can save you a lot of worry and anxiety. You’ll be prescribed a synthetic form of the T4 hormone. Your body will react to T4 in the same way that it responds to the real hormone.
It may take a few weeks for your doctor to find the correct dosage for you. You’ll most likely have to go for a blood test once a month for at least a year until your hormone levels stabilize to ensure that your hormone dosage is not too high or too low.
Although hypothyroidism and infertility are of great concern, thyroid problems are one infertility problem that is easy to detect and treat.
Detecting Hypothyroidism and Infertility Disorder
Thyroid disorders can be diagnosed by a blood test which measures the hormone thyroxine (T4) and TSH, which is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland and stimulates and regulates the thyroid.
When the TSH levels are either too low or too high, the pituitary gland will try to compensate for this under or overactive gland. Yet another blood test is available that will determine if there are any anti-thyroid antibodies present.
If there are high levels of antibodies present it can lead to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis which will eventually result in hypothyroidism.
Treating hypothyroidism is a very important issue when it comes to problems conceiving. Since hypothyroidism and infertility are so closely connected you’ll need to work closely with your doctor to manage your hypothyroidism.
Sometimes, however, fertility can’t be fully restored. If you’re dealing with this complication you’ll want to consult not only with your personal doctor but with an infertility specialist as well.