What is hypothyroidism?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that is involved in several processes. Thyroids work in a delicate cycle involving the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. The hypothalamus and the pituitary gland release hormones that direct the thyroid. The thyroid, in turn, releases the hormones triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). In hypothyroidism, patients have low levels of T3 and T4. These low levels create several symptoms, with some even impacting pregnancy.

reunite rx Can Hypothyroidism Affect Pregnancy How Fertility Treatment Can Help.jpg

Causes and symptoms

People with hypothyroidism often have an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s disease. Other reasons for hypothyroidism include iodine deficiency, thyroid damage, or thyroid surgery. Since hypothyroidism impacts metabolism, some common symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, memory loss, and poor hair, skin, and nail health. These hormone fluctuations also impact pregnancy. Since these symptoms appear in other conditions, a blood test to detect TSH levels can confirm hypothyroidism.

How does hypothyroidism affect pregnancy?

Women with hypothyroidism often experience difficulties getting or staying pregnant. The hormone dips impact sex drive and mood, which reduces the chances of conceiving. The thyroid hormones also play a role in estrogen and human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) production. These hormones impact egg and embryo development. The result is infertility, multiple miscarriages, and stillbirths.

Treat hypothyroidism first

Women with hypothyroidism trying to get pregnant must address the underlying condition first. An endocrinologist can help with the process of balancing thyroid hormones. Most patients will require thyroid medication to help restore hormonal balance. If necessary, the doctor may include iodine supplementation and dietary changes. If these are successful, some patients get pregnant and have a healthy baby. However, the medical team must closely monitor the woman’s thyroid levels.

Can fertility treatments help?

If pregnancy fails after treatment, there are fertility options available. For instance, a doctor can try intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI is the process of medically inserting a washed sperm sample into the woman’s uterus. This step must be timed with ovulation. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is another helpful method. First, the medical team creates embryos in a laboratory. A fresh or frozen embryo is then transferred into the woman’s uterus.

Hope after hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism can cause a range of unwanted, disruptive symptoms. Infertility is a possibility for women trying to start or grow a family. The changes in hormones can impact egg development, embryo development, and pregnancy. The goal for any doctor is to treat the thyroid condition first. Once treatment is successful, fertility options can help if there are still difficulties getting pregnant.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Enter your email address below and we will send you our monthly newsletter. We will never SPAM you and we never sell our mailing list. Ever.