What Is A Thyroid And How Do I know If I Have A Thyroid Problem?
The thyroid is a vital butterfly-shaped, hormone gland that sits low on the front side of the neck that works in response to the pituitary gland within the endocrine system. The main function of both is to produce and regulate hormones. The endocrine system is responsible for coordinating many of your body’s activities. The thyroid gland itself, manufactures hormones that regulate your body’s metabolism. Thyroid disorders can slow down or rev up metabolism by disrupting the production of thyroid hormones. When hormone levels become too low or too high, you may experience a wide range of symptoms.
The two most common Thyroid conditions associated with infertility:
Hypothyroidism – Underactive Thyroid
When your thyroid gland can’t make enough hormones to function well. In hypothyroidism, the gland’s hormone production slows. This, in turn, slows your metabolism, which can lead to weight gain amongst other symptoms. Hypothyroidism is very common.
There is no cure for this condition, however, there are medications that can treat it very well. The goal of the medication is to improve your body’s thyroid function, restore hormone levels, and allow you to live a normal life.
Hyperthyroidism – Overactive Thyroid
When your Thyroid over produces the hormones T3 and T4. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may experience a fast heartbeat, increased appetite, anxiety, sensitivity to heat, or sudden weight loss.
In hyperthyroidism, an irritation of your thyroid known as thyroiditis allows too much thyroid hormone to enter your blood. This can lead to pain and discomfort. Thyroiditis can also occur as the result of pregnancy. This is usually short-term.
In both Hyper and Hypo Thyroidism, there are various causes for each. Both are treatable and manageable through the correct medical care and treatment.
Thyroid issues are also commonly diagnosed alongside Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) as both involve abnormal hormone levels. For women who receive a dual diagnosis, do not despair – balancing the hormones leads to significantly improved chances when trying to have a baby.
What’s The Link Between The Thyroid and Infertility?
The body-wide hormone changes that Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) can cause may lead to irregular menstrual cycles and other problems with menstruation that can affect fertility. Both Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) are known to prevent ovulation, the monthly process in which an egg is released to be fertilized. If no egg is released, you can’t get pregnant, even if you’re having regular menstrual periods.
There are other ways that thyroid problems can lead to infertility. Hypothyroidism can cause cysts to form on the ovaries. It can also lead to increased production of prolactin, produced by the Pituitary Gland, which works with the Thyroid — the hormone that controls milk production, or lactation — in women who aren’t pregnant. When your prolactin levels are high, you may not ovulate.
Hypothyroidism in men can also lead to a variety of fertility issues – reduced sperm volume and motility (movement), sperm defects, a lower libido, problems sustaining an erection, and lowered male fertility hormones such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
How Do I Know If I Have a Thyroid Problem?
A simple set of blood tests will provide you and your doctor with all the information that will be needed to detect a Thyroid condition.
Not all people who have irregular Thyroid functions will show symptoms, so if you are trying to fall pregnant perhaps a quick check up on your Thyroid is a good idea!
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