24 de April, 2023

Hypothyroidism and Fertility: What You Need to Know

To talk about hypothyroidism and fertility, first, we need to know that the thyroid gland is responsible for producing, storing, and releasing two hormones that regulate our body's metabolism: T4 or thyroxine and T3 or triiodothyronine.

The thyroid gland is located in the front of the neck, below Adam's apple, and is characterized by its "butterfly-shaped" appearance.

The conditions that affect the thyroid gland are due to many causes, but rarely is the relationship between this important gland and fertility discussed.

Today we will talk about hypothyroidism, a condition specific to the thyroid gland, and its impact on women's fertility.

Thyroid gland in the human body

What is hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces fewer hormones than it should. This condition can occur in anyone, but it is eight times more common in women than in men.

How does hypothyroidism affect fertility?

When the thyroid gland fails to produce enough T3 and T4 hormones, there is a hormonal imbalance throughout the body, which affects the ovaries and their natural ovulation cycle. This is why fertility is compromised.

What are the symptoms of hypothyroidism?

The symptoms that occur when the thyroid gland is producing too few hormones include:

  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Dry skin and brittle hair
  • Irregular or absent menstruation
  • Difficulty getting pregnant
  • Recurrent miscarriages

It is important to note that not everyone with hypothyroidism experiences all of these symptoms, and some may not have any symptoms at all.

Ingenes family that fought against thyroid issues

What causes hypothyroidism?

The main cause of this condition is thyroiditis or inflammation of the thyroid, which affects the thyroid cells and prevents it from functioning properly. Although thyroiditis can be caused by viral infections, the condition known as Hashimoto's thyroiditis (in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland) is its most common cause.

Other common causes of hypothyroidism include:

  • Radiation treatment for cancer
  • Thyroid surgery
  • Congenital hypothyroidism (a rare condition present at birth)
  • Certain medications (such as lithium and amiodarone)
  • Iodine deficiency (a lack of iodine in the diet)
  • Pituitary gland disorders (which can affect thyroid hormone production)

It is important to note that in many cases, the cause of hypothyroidism may not be known.

How do I know if I have hypothyroidism?

To diagnose hypothyroidism, you should see your endocrinology specialist.

Your doctor will start by examining your neck to determine if your thyroid is smaller or larger than normal. They will also evaluate your skin, eyes, weight, heart rate, and temperature for other symptoms of hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

Subsequently, a blood test will be requested to measure the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) to make a definitive diagnosis. This hormone produced by the pituitary gland regulates thyroid function. The normal range of TSH is between 0.5 and 3.5 mU/ml, so a high TSH level reveals hypothyroidism.

What is the appropriate treatment if you have hypothyroidism and want to have a baby?

In most cases, treatment for thyroid disorders is safe. Consulting with a specialist will help determine the best option for your case and help you achieve your goal of having a baby.

Each case is unique and the way it is treated may vary. Therefore, we recommend that you contact Ingenes so that a specialist in Assisted Reproduction can evaluate you and with timely diagnosis recommend the appropriate comprehensive program for you to achieve your dream.

Contact Ingenes and tell us your story here.

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