Thyroid And Fertility

woman touching throat

If you’re struggling to get pregnant, you’ve had a miscarriage, you’re feeling tired, too hot or too cold, then you could have a thyroid issue. Thyroid issues often go undiagnosed, so it is important to know the signs so that you can do something about it.

In a study of 400 women, 24% of them had thyroid issues. Following treatment, one year later 76% were pregnant.

Get ready to tool up with the knowledge you need to understand the difference between hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, how getting a regular thyroid test compares to a full thyroid panel and what the medical and natural treatment options are to improve your thyroid function.

What Is The Thyroid?

The thyroid is a gland in the front of your neck. It controls how quickly your whole body uses energy. So it affects nearly every part of you, even the way you think and feel.

It helps control body temperature, how fast your heart beats, and the rate at which you burn calories. It also affects menstrual cycles, libido, and fertility.

Why Is Thyroid Important For Fertility?

A normal functioning thyroid gland secretes hormones that control the rate at which your body uses energy. If you have low thyroid function or hypothyroidism, then your energy is lowered. And so are reproductive hormones like oestrogen and progesterone, making it difficult to become pregnant.

An overactive thyroid can also cause fertility problems. It speeds up the rate at which your body uses energy and may disrupt menstrual periods, ovulation and libido.

What Are Thyroid Hormones?

Thyroid hormones are a group of hormones produced and secreted by the thyroid gland that have many important functions. They regulate how every cell, tissue, and organ in your body works.

This includes heart rate, blood pressure, muscle contraction and relaxation. These hormones also control other vital bodily processes, such as body temperature, weight regulation, digestion, and reproduction.

Fertility depends on many factors, including thyroid function as well as adequate hormone levels from other glands such as the ovaries or testicles.

What Is A Thyroid Test

Your regular doctor is likely to do a blood test for thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and thyroxine (T4). However, testing for these only gives you part of the picture.

When we help women to get pregnant in the Fertility Club membership, then we do a full thyroid test to measure all three types of thyroid hormones: TSH, free T-3 and free T-4, as well as Thyroid Antibodies. We want to understand the interaction between the thyroid hormones so that we can detect the root cause of the issues and create optimal levels for fertility.

What Is Hyperthyroidism?

Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland produces too much of its hormone. It can happen to anyone, but it’s more common among older women and pregnant women.

Signs And Symptoms Of Hyperthyroidism

Some symptoms include fatigue, nausea or vomiting, weight loss despite an increase in appetite; irritability; tremors (involuntary quivering); difficulty sleeping; and feeling too hot.

Risk Factors Of Hyperthyroidism

There are certain risk factors for hyperthyroidism. These include:

  • Graves’ disease.
  • History of head and neck cancer.
  • Previous radiation treatment to the head, neck or chest area.
  • Family members with thyroid problems like Graves’ Disease or thyroid nodules (lumps).
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as pernicious anaemia, vitiligo (a condition that causes the loss of skin colour in blotches), and celiac disease.
  • Use of certain drugs like lithium or amiodarone for irregular heartbeat. This drug is used to treat abnormal heart rhythms, but it can cause hyperthyroidism as a side effect.
  • Being female.
  • Uncontrolled diabetes.
  • Other risk factors include pregnancy, inflammation of the thyroid gland (thyroiditis), and taking too much iodine.

Medical Treatment For Hyperthyroidism

There are several treatment options available depending on the cause and severity of hyperthyroidism. Treatment options may include:

  • Radioactive Iodine Therapy – One way to treat this condition is to take iodine-131, which kills the cells in your thyroid that are overproducing hormones. You will need to stay away from other people for a few days after this treatment because you might give off radiation as you excrete it through urine and stool.
  • Surgery – The surgeon can remove part or all of your thyroid gland if nodules or an overactive thyroid gland causes hyperthyroidism.
  • Antithyroid Medications – The doctor may prescribe antithyroid medications if you have Graves’ disease to reduce the production of hormones in your thyroid while waiting for radioactive iodine therapy to work. Antithyroid medications include methimazole and propylthiouracil.
  • Beta-Blockers – These medications can help slow your heart rate down, easing related symptoms like a racing heartbeat or chest pain. Some beta-blockers to treat hyperthyroidism include propranolol (Inderal), metoprolol succinate (Toprol XL), and atenolol (Tenormin). Note: This medication may be prescribed if a pregnant woman has Graves’ disease with hyperthyroidism. However, it’s not known whether these medications will harm the unborn baby. But it’s still important to monitor the pregnancy closely.
  • Thyroid Hormone Replacement Therapy – If you have a thyroid disorder or goiters, your doctor may prescribe levothyroxine to replace the hormones that your thyroid is no longer making.

Natural Ways To Support Hyperthyroidism

Some natural ways to support your thyroid include:

  • Get a customised supplement plan to discover the right vitamins, minerals and herbs to get your thyroid hormones in an optimal place for conceiving. Avoid self-prescribe supplements because this means it takes you longer to get results.
  • Avoid soy-based products like tofu and soy milk.
  • Eat cruciferous vegetables to prevent oxidative damage to the thyroid gland.
  • Avoid gluten since many people with Hashimoto’s disease find they feel better when avoiding gluten.
  • Avoid stimulants like caffeine and sugar since these can cause hyperthyroidism to worsen.
  • Get good quality sleep, so your body has a chance to rest. You should aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night, which will allow the thyroid gland to function more efficiently.
  • Reducing stress levels is also important to support your thyroid.

Foods That Support Thyroid Function

There are many foods you can eat as part of a healthy diet, which may help support optimal levels of TSH and free thyroxine (T-4). These include:

  • Bananas – This fruit contains potassium, which can help support proper thyroid function.
  • Eggs – Eggs are a good source of protein that contains selenium, which may help protect the body from oxidative damage and keep levels healthy.
  • Flaxseed oil – This is another great ingredient to include in your diet because it’s rich in omega-three fatty acids and fibre, which can help you feel fuller longer and support blood sugar levels.
  • Salmon – This fish is a great source of omega-three fatty acids that contain selenium, vitamin D, and B vitamins. You can also take supplements such as cod liver oil or salmon oil to get the same nutrients in your diet. Like flaxseed oil, eating salmon or taking supplements can help keep your blood sugar levels healthy.
  • Turkey – This meat is rich in protein and contains B vitamins and selenium, supporting thyroid function. It also has low-fat content compared to other meats like beef and pork.
  • Don’t eat raw fish (sushi) because it may cause parasites to enter the body, leading to hyperthyroidism.
  • Eating healthy portions sizes helps support optimal levels, too, since eating small meals throughout the day instead of larger ones helps keep

What Is Hypothyroidism?

Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of the thyroxine (T4) hormones. This can cause many symptoms, especially if it happens for an extended period since hypothyroidism has been linked to higher risks for several diseases and conditions like:

  • Heart disease – Hypothyroidism has been linked to heart disease because it can lead to high cholesterol, obesity, and diabetes.
  • Osteoporosis – This condition causes bones in the body to become weak due to low calcium levels caused by low thyroid function.
  • Fertility issues – Hypothyroidism can be a factor of fertility issues because it affects the menstrual cycle and ovulation, which play crucial roles in fertility and reproduction.

Signs And Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism

There are several symptoms that your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroxine, including:

  • Fatigue – Not having enough energy to get through the day is often one of the first signs for people.
  • Weight gain – Having trouble losing weight or problems controlling hunger can signal hypothyroidism too since it’s linked to the thyroid.
  • Hair loss – Losing hair can be caused by hypothyroidism because it reduces blood flow and affects metabolism in the scalp, which also contributes to thinning hair or balding.
  • Digestive issues – Having problems with your bowel movement like constipation is often a symptom of low thyroxine levels.
  • Muscle aches and joint pain – Hypothyroidism causes lower metabolism, leading to muscle weakness or fatigue that makes it harder for your muscles and joints to function properly. This could also cause a rise in inflammation levels since the body tries to fight off infection more when you’re sick.
  • Skin issues like discolouration and rashes are also linked to low thyroxine levels because it affects your skin’s health.
  • Sleep issues – Difficulty with sleep is a common issue in people who have hypothyroidism since they tend to wake up during the night or early morning, which can make them feel tired during the day.

Who Is At Risk For Hypothyroidism?

Some people are more susceptible to developing an underactive thyroid gland because of certain risk factors. People who may be more likely include:

  • Women – This condition is much more common in women, especially after age 40 or 50, since it affects how their hormones work.
  • Pregnancy – When you’re pregnant, your thyroid gland can produce less thyroxine because of the rise in various pregnancy hormones.
  • Family history – If other family members have had issues with an underactive thyroid gland and metabolism, they may be more likely to develop problems.
  • Autoimmune disorders like Hashimoto’s disease or Graves’ disease – Conditions like these can affect how your body regulates and produces hormones, increasing the risk for hypothyroidism.
  • Cancer – Cancer treatment can cause hypothyroidism because it affects the thyroid gland’s ability to function properly.
  • Lupus – People with lupus are more likely to develop low thyroxine, also known as an underactive or slow-working thyroid. Autoimmune diseases cause your immune system to attack healthy cells that are linked to the thyroid gland.
  • Diabetes – People with diabetes and insulin resistance may also develop hypothyroidism because it affects how your body regulates metabolism and hormones like thyroxine.

Medical Treatment For Hypothyroidism

There are some treatments that your doctor can use to help you overcome hypothyroidism. These include:

  • Medications – Some people with an underactive thyroid gland may need medication like thyroxine or Synthroid to produce normal levels of hormones again.
  • Supplements – If it’s hard to meet your daily dietary iodine needs, you may need to take supplements or multivitamins that have the mineral inside them.
  • Diet changes – A low-carbohydrate diet can also help people with hypothyroidism since high carbs are linked to an overactive thyroid gland.
  • Know your thyroid levels – Getting regular checkups and blood tests can help you monitor how your body responds to treatment. This helps keep the condition from worsening or coming back again. That’s because it lets you know if medication dosage needs adjusting after a while.
  • Get enough rest – When you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to get enough rest and sleep. That way, you can improve how well your thyroid gland works because lack of sleep makes symptoms worse.
  • Exercise regularly – This is another part of living with hypothyroidism because physical activity helps boost metabolism again, so the body functions better overall.
  • Don’t smoke – Smoking increases inflammation in your body, which can trigger hypothyroidism. You should also avoid secondhand smoke too since it has the same effect on the thyroid gland.

Natural Ways To Support Hypothyroidism

If you’re dealing with hypothyroidism, here are some natural ways that can help support your thyroid gland:

  • Get a customised supplement plan to discover the right vitamins, minerals and herbs to get your thyroid hormones in an optimal place for conceiving. Avoid self-prescribe supplements because this means it takes you longer to get results.
  • Eat foods rich in iodine – Foods like seafood and dairy products contain high levels of nutrients. That way, it may be easier to meet daily dietary requirements for this important mineral again.
  • Avoid soy products – Soybeans have goitrogens, which affect how well the thyroid gland can work right. Avoid eating or drinking anything made from them if you have hypothyroidism.
  • Manage stress – Managing your stress regulates how your thyroid gland works since it affects how well hormones are regulated in the body. This helps you prevent fatigue and other symptoms from getting worse over time.
  • Exercise regularly is another part of dealing with hypothyroidism because physical activity helps boost metabolism again, so the body functions better overall.

Thyroid And Fertility At A Glance

Your thyroid gland helps maintain hormonal balance in the body.  Dysfunction of this gland can lead to fertility issues.

Hypothyroidism, in particular, is one condition that negatively impacts fertility because it slows down metabolism and affects the reproductive system. Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is closely linked to fertility issues because it increases metabolism.

If you think you may have an issue with your thyroid and want support to optimise your thyroid hormones and fertility, then get in touch. We have helped many women to get pregnant with thyroid issues and would love to help you too. Apply for a Fertility Analysis session now to see if we can help you.

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3 months ago

Thank you for sharing detailed information about thyroid and fertility. Everyone must read this blog and should grab the information shared here in this blog. Keep sharing.