What Is Hypothyroidism?
Hypothyroidism prevents the thyroid gland from producing the right number of hormones to work properly. The thyroid gland is located in the neck and controls the metabolism. An individual’s metabolism helps the body convert food into energy. People with hypothyroidism tend to suffer from fatigue and a general lack of energy.
Common hypothyroidism symptoms
Hypothyroidism manifests in different ways. Some common symptoms of the condition include:
- Weight gain
- Menstrual changes
- Sore muscles
- High cholesterol
Usually, hypothyroidism is caused by inflammation of the thyroid gland. Once a large portion of the hormone-producing cells in the thyroid die, the gland develops hypothyroidism. The thyroid becomes overactive or underactive.
How does hypothyroidism affect women?
For women with an underactive thyroid, irregular periods are common. Women may experience heavy bleeding or periods that are unusually long or short. This happens because thyroid hormones affect estrogen, another vital hormone in the body. Hypothyroidism inhibits estrogen production and development. The thyroid hormone also impacts the hormone levels in the ovaries and uterus.
Does hypothyroidism make women infertile?
Hypothyroidism is a medical condition that contributes to infertility. Hypothyroidism affects ovulation and may stop the ovaries from releasing an egg. The disease also makes the body unstable and doesn’t create a healthy environment for an embryo to grow. Research shows that untreated hypothyroidism is one of the major causes of infertility in women. Thyroid issues result in luteal phase defect, sex hormone imbalances affecting estrogen and testosterone, and high prolactin levels (PRL). Many women diagnosed as infertile successfully conceive after receiving treatment for hypothyroidism.
Doctors can identify hypothyroidism by evaluating the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), thyroid peroxidase antibodies, and thyroid stimulating immunoglobulin. Doctors also test the blood for high prolactin levels as this remains a key indicator of hypothyroidism.
When dealing with issues of fertility, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor. Research shows that conducting hypothyroidism tests, specifically ones measuring TSH and prolactin levels, help doctors save patients’ money and time. Many women are unaware of thyroid issues and how the disease affects fertility. Once these tests are conducted, providers can determine if the patient suffers from hypothyroidism and treat the patient accordingly. To learn more about thyroid testing, schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider.