How does the thyroid affect female fertility?


The first step to discover which obstacles stop a woman from getting pregnant is by performing a fertility study that includes several tests in conjunction with the thyroid test.  Thyroid is a gland which is located on the neck and its main function is regulating metabolism as well as having an essential role in the reproductive system. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can affect both fertility and foetus’ development,  and increase the risk of suffering from spontaneous miscarriage, if they are not treated.

What is the thyroid for?

The function of this gland is keeping metabolism under control through the production of two hormones which are responsible for measuring the body’s response to other hormones. They are classified into two main groups:

  • Hypothyroidism: it occurs when the gland cannot produce enough thyroid hormones to satisfy the needs of your body. This leads to a slow metabolism.
  • Hyperthyroidism: it occurs when the gland produces too much thyroid hormones causing the metabolism to speed up.

How do thyroid hormones affect the fertility?

These changes in the gland are very common in women aged 25-45 years old. However, it is not an exclusive condition for women but male fertility may also be affected.

In women, these hormones interact with female sex hormones such as estrogens and progesterone, to maintain the normal functioning of the ovaries and the maturation of eggs.

The excess (hyperthyroidism) or deficiency (hypothyroidism) of thyroid hormones causes problems in getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term, miscarriages and premature birth. Furthermore, they are associated to anovulations and abnormal menstrual cycles.

How to get a healthy pregnancy?

The diagnosis is essential to achieve a healthy pregnancy and to receive the appropriate therapy thanks to regular monitoring both in women and men. Thyroid disorders can be treated with medications that control the level of these hormones, restore fertility and once the woman is pregnant it helps to have a normal gestation.

When women have conceiving problems due to fertility issues, they are advised to ingest iodine. Too low iodine diet can provoke low thyroid activity (hypothyroidism). Therefore, it is advisable to consume recommended amount of iodine which is contained in foods such as fish, bread, cheese, cow’s milk and eggs.

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