The thyroid gland, which produces hormones that control many systems in the body, including the reproductive system, may play a part when it comes to infertility.
Here are seven things you must know about the thyroid and infertility.
The thyroid gland works by producing certain hormones that control metabolism. In hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much hormone and in hypothyroidism, the thyroid is underactive and doesn’t produce enough hormone. The Mayo Clinic explains that for women
, there can be a link between hypothyroidism and infertility.
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According to the
Mayo Clinic, inadequate levels of thyroid hormone can prevent ovulation, or an egg being released for fertilization. When no egg is present, conception cannot occur. Everyday Health notes the interruption in ovulation
can occur with hyperthyroidism as well.
Besides difficulties conceiving, an underactive thyroid can result in challenges carrying a pregnancy to full term. Women with hypothyroidism are four times more likely to have a miscarriage compared to women who don’t, says Everyday Health.
In many cases, doctors miss an underlying thyroid disorder in patients with unexplained infertility, according to Dr. Hugh D. Melnick
. These cases are sometimes dismissed as being due to stress or psychological issues, so it is important for physicians to ask the right questions to determine if thyroid disease could be contributing to infertility.
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In her article on Pregnancy, Birth and Beyond, Christine Sullivan
says that women should seek a full thyroid evaluation if they wish to get pregnant, especially if she has experienced:
• Inability to conceive for more than six months
• Two or more miscarriages
• Irregular menstrual periods
• A family history of thyroid disorders
Everyday Health says that infertility in women can have many causes, and is not always attributed to thyroid disease. However, if other symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism are present, a thyroid screening test should be considered.
Sullivan says that, in many cases, once underlying thyroid issues are treated and hormones return to adequate levels, many women’s infertility problems are also resolved.
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