Hypothyroidism And Infertility: What Is The Connection?
This article will discuss the connection between hypothyroidism and infertility.
What is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) is a disorder in which the thyroid gland produces insufficient amounts of specific hormones.
In the early stages of hypothyroidism, there may be no visible symptoms. And untreated hypothyroidism can lead to a variety of health issues over time, including obesity, joint discomfort, infertility, and even heart disease.
To detect hypothyroidism, accurate thyroid function tests can be used. Speaking of treatments, synthetic thyroid hormone treatment is usually fairly smooth, safe, and effective once you and your doctor figure out the proper amount for you.
Symptoms of Hypothyroidism
Depending on the severity of the hormonal shortage, hypothyroidism has different signs and symptoms. Problems usually take a long time to manifest, perhaps years.
Initially, symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as fatigue and weight gain, may go unnoticed. You may also blame them on the fact that you’re getting older. However, as your metabolism slows, you may experience more evident symptoms.
The following are some of the indications and symptoms of hypothyroidism:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Cholesterol levels in the blood are high
- Muscle aches, tenderness, and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness, or swelling in your joints
- Menstrual cycles that are heavier than usual or that are irregular
- Hair thinning
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
- Enlarged thyroid gland (goitre)
Infants With Hypothyroidism
Although middle-aged and older women are more likely to acquire hypothyroidism, anybody, including infants, can get the ailment. At first, newborns born without a thyroid gland or with a dysfunctional thyroid gland may show few signs and symptoms.
Hypothyroidism in infants can cause a number of issues, including:
- The skin and the whites of the eyes turn yellow (jaundice). This usually happens when a baby’s liver is unable to metabolize bilirubin, which is produced when the body recycles old or damaged red blood cells.
- The tongue is big and protruding
- Breathing problems
- Hoarse crying
- Hernia in the umbilical cord
Infants may have difficulty being taken care of as the condition worsens, and they may fail to grow and develop normally. They may also have the following health problems:
- Muscle tone issues
- Excessive sleepiness
Even modest episodes of hypothyroidism in babies can result in serious physical and mental impairment if not treated.
Children And Teenagers With Hypothyroidism
Children and teenagers with hypothyroidism have the same signs and symptoms as adults, but they may also suffer the following:
- The short height as a result of poor growth
- Permanent teeth formation is delayed
- Pupil maturation is postponed
- Lack of mental growth
When Should You See A Doctor?
If you’re fatigued for no apparent reason or have any of the other indications or symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as dry skin, a pale, bloated face, constipation, or a scratchy voice, consult your doctor.
Schedule follow-up appointments as often as your doctor suggests if you’re taking hormone therapy for hypothyroidism. It’s crucial to make sure you’re getting the right dose of drugs at first. And the dose you require may alter over time.
Bonus Read: Causes, Risks and Treatments of Infertility in Men And Women.
The equilibrium of chemical reactions in your body can be disturbed if your thyroid does not produce enough hormones. Autoimmune disease, hyperthyroidism therapies, radiation therapy, thyroid surgery, and certain drugs are all possible causes.
Your thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland located right below your Adam’s apple at the base of your neck. Triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which are produced by the thyroid gland, have a huge impact on your health, affecting every part of your metabolism. These hormones also have an impact on how crucial functions like body temperature and heart rate are controlled.
When the thyroid gland fails to generate enough hormones, hypothyroidism develops. Hypothyroidism can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
The most prevalent cause of hypothyroidism is Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune condition. When your immune system generates antibodies that attack your own tissues, autoimmune illnesses develop. Your thyroid gland is sometimes involved in this process.
Scientists aren’t sure why this happens, but it’s most likely due to a mix of factors, including your genes and a trigger in the environment. Sadly, these antibodies wreak havoc on the thyroid’s ability to create hormones in any case.
Hyperthyroidism Therapy Over-Response:
Radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid medicines are commonly used to treat people who produce too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism). The purpose of these medicines is to restore normal thyroid function.
However, treating hyperthyroidism can sometimes result in a significant reduction in thyroid hormone production, leading to permanent hypothyroidism.
Thyroid surgery is a procedure to remove the thyroid gland. The removal of all or part of your thyroid gland might reduce or stop hormone production. You’ll have to take thyroid hormone for the rest of your life if that’s the case.
Radiation therapy is a type of treatment that involves the use of radiation to treat head and neck malignancies that can harm your thyroid gland and cause hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by a variety of drugs. Lithium, for example, is a medicine used to treat some psychiatric problems. Inquire with your doctor about the effects of any medications you’re taking on your thyroid gland.
Hypothyroidism can also be caused by one of the following conditions:
Some newborns are born with a thyroid gland that isn’t working or with no thyroid gland at all. The thyroid gland may have not developed correctly in the majority of instances for unknown reasons; however, some children have an inherited type of the disease.
Congenital hypothyroidism causes newborns to seem normal at birth. One of the reasons why most states now require newborn thyroid screening is this.
The failure of the pituitary gland to produce adequate thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) is a relatively uncommon cause of hypothyroidism, which is usually caused by a benign pituitary tumour.
During or after pregnancy, some women develop hypothyroidism (postpartum hypothyroidism), which is caused when antibodies to their own thyroid gland are produced.
Hypothyroidism raises the risk of miscarriage, early birth, and preeclampsia, a condition that causes a large increase in a woman’s blood pressure during the last three months of pregnancy if left untreated. It can also harm the growing fetus.
Thyroid hormone production requires trace mineral iodine, which can be obtained in seafood, seaweed, plants growing in iodine-rich soil, and iodized salt.
Hypothyroidism can be caused by a lack of iodine, and hypothyroidism can be worsened by too much iodine in people who already have it. Iodine insufficiency is common in various regions of the world, but in the United States, the addition of iodine to table salt has almost eliminated the problem.
Although anybody can develop hypothyroidism, the following factors put you at a higher risk:
- If you are a women
- Over the age of 60
- Have a history of thyroid problems in your family
- If you have been diagnosed with an autoimmune condition such as type 1 diabetes or celiac disease
- Have been given radioactive iodine or anti-thyroid drugs
- If radiation was given to your neck or upper chest
- Undergone thyroid surgery (partial thyroidectomy)
- If you have been pregnant or given birth in the last six months
Is Hypothyroidism Linked To Infertility?
Hypothyroidism, or having an underactive thyroid gland, has been linked to infertility in women in the past.
Your thyroid gland does not produce enough key important hormones if you have hypothyroidism. Even worse, thyroid hormone deficiency can decrease fertility by interfering with the release of an egg from your ovary (ovulation). Furthermore, certain of the underlying causes of hypothyroidism, such as certain autoimmune or pituitary illnesses, might make it difficult to conceive.
Hypothyroidism treatment is an important aspect of any infertility treatment plan for women. Other treatments for infertility may be required if infertility continues after hypothyroidism has been treated.
If you have hypothyroidism and want to get pregnant, make sure your hypothyroidism is under control with the help of your doctor. If necessary, get additional assistance from an infertility specialist.
Tell your doctor right away if you have hypothyroidism and you got pregnant. Keep in mind, thyroid hormone levels should be closely monitored during pregnancy to ensure optimal fetal growth and reduce the chance of miscarriage.
The synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine (Levo-T, Synthroid, others) is used regularly as a standard treatment for hypothyroidism. This oral drug restores normal hormone levels, correcting hypothyroidism’s signs and symptoms.
Soon after you begin treatment, you should begin to feel better. The drug decreases cholesterol levels that have been raised by the condition over time and may help you lose weight. Treatment with levothyroxine will almost certainly be life-long, although your doctor will likely check your TSH level once a year because the dosage you require may change.
Conclusion: Alternative Medicine
Although synthetic thyroxine is preferred by most doctors, natural extracts comprising thyroid hormone obtained from pig thyroid glands are available. Both thyroxine and triiodothyronine are found in these items. Synthetic thyroid drugs only contain thyroxine, which is converted to the triiodothyronine your body requires.
Extracts are only accessible with a prescription and should not be confused with glandular concentrates offered in health food stores. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate these products, thus their efficacy and purity cannot be guaranteed.
July 20, 2021 Sam Bell