Did you know that there’s a link between your thyroid health and fertility?
What comes to mind when you think about fertility? If you’re like most people, you’ll probably say things like, “eggs,” “ovaries,” “testes” and “sperm.” However, those aren’t the only factors that play a role in whether you see a positive pregnancy test. It turns out that there’s an important link between your thyroid health and fertility.
Our Austin infertility doctors realize that many women and men are surprised to learn this fact, so we’re providing a little bit of information about how your thyroid affects your fertility.
What you need to know about thyroid health and fertility
For starters, let’s talk about what your thyroid is. It’s a small, butterfly-shaped gland in your neck. Even though this gland is small, it’s a very important part of the endocrine system (the system that produces and secretes hormones). Its job is to help regulate your body’s metabolism, growth and development by steadily releasing thyroid hormones into your bloodstream.
If you’ve had fertility bloodwork, it likely assessed your thyroid hormone by checking your TSH level. This is thyroid-stimulating hormone, and it can provide important clues about your thyroid health and fertility. Having thyroid levels that are too high or too low can interfere with reproductive hormones. This can cause irregular menstrual cycles in women and affect sperm health in men. These problems can also make it more difficult to conceive and carry a baby.
The specific issues that women and men can face due to thyroid irregularities vary depending on whether they have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
Hyperthyroidism means the thyroid gland is overactive. The symptoms can include weight loss, increased appetite, anxiety, trouble sleeping, sweating, heat intolerance and lighter menstrual cycles in women. In men, it can cause reductions in semen volume (amount of semen ejaculated), sperm motility (movement) and sperm morphology (shape).
Hypothyroidism means that the thyroid gland is underactive. This issue can cause weight gain, fatigue, constipation, thinning hair, pale skin, heavy periods and feeling cold. In men, it can lead to problems with sperm morphology.
Getting treatment for thyroid issues
Thankfully, having thyroid health and fertility issues doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to welcome a baby. The treatment for hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism varies depends on how severe the condition is and your specific needs. However, our Austin infertility doctors can typically treat both conditions with medication.
The team at Texas Fertility Center also offers a wide range of fertility treatments that can help you welcome a baby. In some cases, fertility medications and intrauterine insemination (IUI) are enough to make pregnancy possible. Other times, your doctor may recommend a treatment like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Either way, your doctor will work closely with you to develop the best treatment plan for your needs and goals.
Contact us if you’d like to schedule an appointment and learn more about conceiving with a TSH level that suggests a thyroid condition. Our Austin infertility doctors can help you have a safe and successful pregnancy.