Pregnancy

The Relationship Between The Thyroid And Infertility

The thyroid is the gland which regulates growth and metabolism of the body.  An underactive thyroid gland will result in weight gain, brittle nails, dry skin, hair loss, etc. This condition is known as hypothyroidism. The condition of hypothyroidism is considered a frequent cause of infertility and miscarriages.

In a woman with a normal thyroid, Thyrotropin Releasing Hormone (TRH) is produced by the hypothalamus.  This in turn stimulates the pituitary gland to produce both Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and prolactin. TSH then makes the thyroid produce thyroid hormones.  When thyroid hormones decrease for any reason, TRH and TSH are still produced in varying levels but the thyroid is not responding correctly.  Excess prolactin, a hormone with many responsibilities, can interfere with ovulation by suppressing other hormones that encourage ovulation.

Thyroid Conditions and Infertility:

There are several thyroid problems which can establish a connection between a malfunctioning thyroid and infertility. Some of these problems are:

  • Hypothyroidism can cause irregular menstrual cycles, one reason for infertility
  • Infertility can be due to Hypothyroidism or Hyperthyroidism since both conditions can interfere with the process of ovulation. Despite the appearance of regular periods no ovulation actually occurs.
  • Thyroid conditions can contribute to the formation of cysts in the uterus.
  • Thyroid conditions, as discussed above, can raise the level of prolactin in the body. Prolactin is normally responsible for stimulating milk secretion, but high levels of this hormone can affect ovulation.

The Association Of Thyroid Problems With Infertility And Miscarriage:

 Becoming pregnant requires stable levels of thyroid hormones to ensure proper ovulation and successful fertilization. But it is not enough to have stable hormone levels at the beginning. To have a safe pregnancy and a healthy child it is essential that thyroid hormone levels are maintained through delivery.

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