Is an underactive thyroid stopping you from getting pregnant?

The thyroid hormone is important for growth and metabolism, it also regulates cellular function, but did you know that abnormal thyroid function can affect your fertility?

Undiagnosed and untreated thyroid disease can potentially be a cause for infertility and recurrent miscarriage and we wanted to know more.

We started by asking leading consultant, Raef Faris, from the renowned Lister Fertility Clinic

Raef Faris shared that some data suggests adjustments of Thyroid levels could increase pregnancy rate and decrease miscarriage rate. He also advised that it is preferable to keep the TSH level under 2.5 and this can be easily adjusted by a small dose of the thyroxine hormone.

So could your thyroid be the missing link that’s stopping you conceive?

If you have been trying to get pregnant for more than six months or had several miscarriages? Is your menstrual cycle irregular? Get your thyroid function checked out – it could be the ‘missing link’ that’s stopping you conceive. Good thyroid function is needed for fertility and many women don’t realise it. It can also affect sperm production in men.

What is the thyroid gland so important?

Located in the middle of the neck, just under the voice box, the thyroid gland does many things and one of the most important is to balance hormones. If the thyroid is under (or over) active, it can stop you ovulating, lead to miscarriages and prevent the reproductive system working properly.

What stops the thyroid gland working properly?

Many factors can cause problems, including:

Exposure to radiation, chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals such as mercury (from teeth fillings) and fluoride (in tap water and toothpaste)

Genes

Stress

Lacking the right nutrients in your diet

Autoimmune disorders

Infections

Other hormone imbalances, such as too much oestrogen or high prolactin levels

Get tested

First, get your thyroid function checked by your doctor. You can do your own quick check. Put a thermometer in your armpit for ten minutes when you wake up in the morning. If it’s below 36.5 C, there could be something wrong. This home test isn’t a replacement for a proper medical assessment though!

Take a blood test for TSH, T4, T3, rT3, thyroid antibodies and TRH. For optimum fertility, your TSH level should be between 1 and 2.

Check your iodine levels. Too much or too little iodine can lead to low thyroid function.
If your thyroid levels are too low then your doctor will recommend that you have treatment to replace the thyroxine hormone you’re lacking. Your doctor will prescribe the right level of thyroxine treatment before you start trying for a baby.

What can you do?

Diet is a major factor. Sugar, soy products, peanuts, caffeine, hydrogenated oils (used in fast food), smoking and alcohol can all lead to thyroid problems.

Exercise can help as it stimulates the thyroid gland to produce the hormones you need.
Getting your thyroid gland back to health could resolve your fertility issues. It’s not a magic cure, but it is definitely worth having yours checked if you have any doubts.
Thyroid UK offers information and help to people with thyroid disorders.

 

 

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