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Thyroid Issues and Fertility: What’s The Connection?

More than 12% of people in the United States will develop a thyroid condition in their lifetime. This means more than 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease, yet nearly 60% of them are undiagnosed. 

Thyroid function impacts many aspects of the body, including fertility and since it’s so commonly undiagnosed, it’s important for anyone struggling to conceive to consider meeting with a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) to learn more about any underlying conditions that may be contributing to their issues conceiving.

The initial consultation with an RE includes a thorough walk-through of the patient’s medical history, along with the doctor requesting diagnostic testing to investigate the possible cause of fertility issues further. This testing often starts with bloodwork that includes testing for Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) that can help the RE understand if thyroid issues may be contributing to a couple's fertility issues. 

How Does Thyroid Dysfunction Impact Fertility

When thyroid levels are abnormal, they can negatively impact fertility for both men and women. Women dealing with thyroid issues may have issues ovulating, or luteal phase dysfunction, making it more challenging to become pregnant. For women who do not ovulate or ovulate irregularly, it decreases the number of opportunities to conceive. At the same time, the disruption to the luteal phase can lead to implantation issues. 

For men, abnormal thyroid levels can contribute to poor sperm quality or motility issues. These issues may be visible during a semen analysis and can be looked at further to see if thyroid issues are also present. 

Common Signs of Thyroid Dysfunction

There are several signs and symptoms that may be associated with thyroid dysfunction. These can include frequent menstrual cycles, heavy menstruation, fatigue, weight gain, muscle soreness, and dry skin and hair. 

Many common signs associated with thyroid dysfunction can also indicate other possible causes for fertility issues, so the blood test to check TSH levels is essential to get a correct diagnosis. Thyroid dysfunction can also be completely without symptoms, which is why TSH levels are routinely checked in any couple trying to conceive. 

Treatment of Thyroid Dysfunction

Thyroid dysfunction is treatable with thyroid medication prescribed by a physician to help regulate the thyroid hormone levels in the body. This medication can be prescribed by your RE or through an endocrinologist who can work with your RE to ensure your levels are within range for a potentially successful pregnancy. 

Thyroid hormone levels fluctuate, so it’s important to monitor levels during fertility treatment and even once treatment has ceased to ensure you are at your healthiest. 

Known Thyroid Issues and Fertility Treatment

While many people have undiagnosed thyroid issues, plenty of people are aware of them. If you have concerns about your thyroid levels impacting your chances of conceiving, we’re here to help you navigate your fertility journey.

From the moment you arrive at Nova IVF, we take our time to learn about your medical history and how that can impact your fertility. For our patients with known thyroid issues, we take immediate care to ensure that your levels are ideal for the treatment you are receiving. We encourage our patients to continue monitoring their levels as thyroid function affects many parts of the body. 

To set up your initial consultation with one of our highly trained doctors, please call us at 650-325-6682.

Author
Dr. Meera Shah of Nova IVF Dr. Meera Shah Meera Shah, MD, FACOG, is a reproductive endocrinology and fertility specialist at NOVA IVF in Mountain View, California. Double board-certified in obstetrics and gynecology, as well as reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Shah is committed to providing the highest level of patient-centered care by combining the latest research in the field with compassionate care that allows patients to navigate through a very difficult time in their lives.

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