The Role of Your Thyroid in Fertility & Conception
January 26, 2017
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located in the front of the neck. It is part of the endocrine system and is responsible for producing two main hormones: T3 (triiodothyronine) and T4 (thyroxine). A third hormone, TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), regulates the production of T3 and T4. Thyroid hormones play a role in a number of bodily functions including metabolism and heart rate.
These same hormones also play a role in pregnancy. There is a very complex relationship between the reproductive and endocrine systems. Imbalances in these systems can lead to issues with fertility and conception.
Low levels of certain hormones that are produced by the thyroid can interfere with ovulation. Women who have an under-active thyroid, a condition also known as hypothyroidism, may not release an egg during their monthly cycles.1 They also may experience irregular mensural cycles and have difficulty conceiving. Some women with hypothyroidism also report dry skin, forgetfulness, depression and constipation.2
An overactive thyroid can result in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. This is where the thyroid releases high levels of thyroid hormones, which can cause the body’s metabolism to speed up. Women who are experiencing hyperthyroidism may lose weight despite their healthy appetites. Their menstrual cycles may lighten or occur less often.3 Often they have trouble timing ovulation because their monthly cycles are out of sync or irregular. Other symptoms of hyperthyroidism include nervousness, irritability, difficulty sleeping, fine or brittle hair, and muscle weakness.3
Iodine & The Thyroid
Normal thyroid function is dependent on iodine. Our bodies do not make iodine, so it is
important that our diets or supplements contain this critical micronutrient. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommend that pregnant or lactating women consume 150 mcg of iodine each day.4 In recognizing the importance of iodine in prenatal vitamins, the Prenate® Vitamin Family includes this mineral in a number of our vitamins, such as:
Managing Thyroid Function
Infertility is often caused by multiple factors, but women who are struggling to conceive may want to have their thyroid function checked by a doctor. Simple blood tests to evaluate thyroid function are commonly used when diagnosing infertility. Levels of T3, T4 and TSH can be measured with minimally invasive blood tests.
Hormone therapy may be recommended for women who discover their thyroid levels are elevated or low. Pregnancy is possible for women with thyroid imbalances. If you are struggling with conception, talk to your doctor about the best course of action for your body and situation.