Fertility Is A Complicated Process
Having a baby is not as simple as many may think. A lot is happening behind the scenes. And several factors determine a successful pregnancy. These factors include age, general health, reproductive health, timing, and hormones. Sometimes, a single imbalance could mean infertility. The thyroid plays a big part in hormone health, which in turn affects fertility.
Hormones and reproduction go hand in hand
How do hormones affect the reproductive cycle? Well, during the menstrual cycle, there are 2 phases. In the first stage or follicular stage, estrogen slowly rises to help the follicles in the ovaries grow. At the end of the cycle, estrogen spikes to release the egg into the fallopian tubes. The luteal phase then starts, increasing progesterone to prepare for pregnancy. Progesterone is mainly responsible for the thickening of the uterine wall. If no fertilization happens, both estrogen and progesterone drop. This begins the few days of menses.
Have you heard about the thyroid?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. While small, this gland has a big job. The thyroid helps manage most of the body’s hormones. This includes the hormones necessary for energy, weight, mood, body temperature, and growth. That’s not all; the thyroid plays a significant part in fertility health.
How does the thyroid affect reproduction?
For starters, the pituitary gland in the brain releases hormones like LH and FSH. The gland also releases TSH, which tells the thyroid how much of the hormones T3 and T4 to release. These hormones impact the amount of estrogen and progesterone released each cycle. That means a poorly functioning thyroid can throw the menstrual cycle off course. Sometimes, the thyroid releases too much or too little of these hormones. This can lead to a light period, prolonged period, or no period at all. Improper thyroid function, in turn, disrupts the reproductive cycle.
Thyroid diseases and infertility
Research has shown that women with reduced thyroid function are more likely to be infertile. Women with unexplained infertility also had higher levels of TSH. The 2 significant conditions concerning the thyroid are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. Hyperthyroidism happens when the gland produces too many hormones. Overactive thyroid creates weight loss, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, and a host of other symptoms. Concerning fertility, hyperthyroidism causes light periods and disrupts the reproductive cycle. Hypothyroidism is less noticeable. However, the condition affects energy, weight, muscle health, and creates prolonged periods. If left unchecked, both conditions can lead to infertility.
Tackle thyroid health today
A healthy thyroid often gets overlooked when addressing fertility issues. For a healthy reproductive system, there must be a balance of hormones from the pituitary gland, thyroid, and reproductive organs. Women aren’t the only ones who should be concerned. Men can also face fertility issues due to a poorly functioning thyroid. Speak with a doctor right away about thyroid screening if fertility has been a long-term challenge.