You might not realize there’s a link between thyroid health and fertility
When you’re struggling to conceive, you might wonder if there’s something wrong with your ovaries or your uterus. However, the issue could be coming from somewhere you didn’t expect: your thyroid gland. Erika Munch MD of Texas Fertility Center believes that not enough people understand the link between thyroid health and fertility. Read on as our San Antonio fertility doctor provides a quick overview of this important topic.
What is your thyroid gland and what does it do?
Your thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped organ that produces hormones that regulate many important functions. Some examples include your breathing, digestion, heart rate and body temperature. When your thyroid hormone levels get too high or too low, all of these functions can be impaired.
Not only that, abnormal thyroid function can also cause problems with ovulation (releasing an egg) in women and reduced sperm count in men.
What are the types of thyroid dysfunction?
Hypothyroidism refers to an underactive thyroid gland, while hyperthyroidism is an overactive one. As you might expect the symptoms of these two conditions differ from one another.
- Hypothyroidism symptoms may include fatigue, depression, joint and muscle pain, cold intolerance, slowed heart rate, constipation and weight gain.
- Hyperthyroidism may cause fatigue, nervousness, irritability, trouble sleeping, muscle weakness, heat intolerance, increased sweating, a rapid and irregular heartbeat, diarrhea and weight loss.
Having either of these conditions can make it more difficult to conceive. As a result, our San Antonio fertility doctor always considers the link between thyroid health and fertility when assessing a new patient. To determine whether a patient has a thyroid problem, Dr. Munch will order thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) testing as part of the standard panel of fertility bloodwork.
Diving deeper into the link between thyroid health and fertility
Our San Antonio fertility doctor wants patients to understand hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can both have a negative effect on fertility.
- Untreated hyperthyroidism can cause light periods, infertility and miscarriage in women, while men can experience a reduction in sperm count. However, medication can help address these problems with thyroid health and fertility.
- Women with untreated hypothyroidism may have long and heavy periods that lead to anemia or they may not have periods at all. They can also experience infertility. As with hyperthyroidism, medication can help with this problem.
Even after conceiving, thyroid dysfunction can still affect the mother and the baby. To help promote a healthy pregnancy and baby, doctors often recommend frequent monitoring as well as medication to improve thyroid function.
If you have or suspect that thyroid issues are interfering with your fertility, Dr. Munch can help. Contact us to schedule an appointment to learn more.