Inability to conceive due to Thyroid function can be very frustrating & depressing, more so when the “trying time” has been going on for long.
If you have been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant for more than 6 months, before you embark on invasive medical procedures and spend thousands of dollars for assisted reproductive technology, ensure that your thyroid is functioning at its optimum.
A recent research, published on Jan. 23 in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, found that 2.3 percent of women with fertility problems had an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), compared with 1.5 percent of those in the general population. The condition is also linked with menstrual irregularity, the researchers said.
|The current recommendation by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology is to start screening for thyroid disorders at age 35.|
According to Amanda Jefferys, a researcher from the Bristol Center for Reproductive Medicine at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, England, Abnormalities in thyroid function can have an adverse effect on reproductive health and result in,
- Decreased sexual desire (libido).
- reduced rates of conception
- increased miscarriage risk
- adverse pregnancy and neonatal outcomes
Role of Thyroid Hormone Function
Every cell in the body depends upon thyroid hormones for regulation of the body’s metabolism, blood calcium levels, energy production, fat metabolism, oxygen utilization, balance of other hormones & weight maintenance.
Hormones involved with thyroid function include Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) released from the hypothalamus in the brain, which stimulates the pituitary gland at the base of the brain to release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which in turn stimulates the thyroid gland to produce Thyroxine (T4) & Triiodothyronine (T3). Much of T4 is converted to T3 (the active form) in the liver. Thyroid hormones are synthesized from iodine and the amino acid Tyrosine (from protein), and the conversion to the active form is reliant on the trace mineral Selenium.
Thyroid Function & Fertility
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) affects about 0.5 percent of women of reproductive age.
- Anovulatory cycles – not releasing an egg / ovulating. This makes pregnancy impossible.
- Luteal Phase Problems – With a short second half of the menstrual cycle a fertilized egg can’t implant securely and ends up leaving the body at the same time that menstruation would occur (very early miscarriage) & is often mistaken as a regular period.
- High Prolactin Levels – due to elevated levels of Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) and low levels of Thyroxine (T4) resulting in irregular ovulation or no ovulation.
- Other Hormonal Imbalances – reduced sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), oestrogen dominance, progesterone deficiency, all of which interfere with proper reproductive hormone balance.
Treating thyroid disorder may improve the chance of pregnancy, may decrease the miscarriage risk, and may improve the health of the baby.