An optimal thyroid function is necessary for a healthy reproductive system. It is essential for your ability to conceive successfully, have a healthy pregnancy and to deliver a baby without complications.
Here are 5 ways in which thyroid problems may affect your fertility and your ability to have a baby:
- Lack of Ovulation
A poorly treated thyroid condition, or an undiagnosed one, can leave you at a greater risk of experiencing an “anovulatory cycle”, a cycle when you don’t release an egg. When the egg does not release, there is no chance of conception and pregnancy. Even if you have a menstrual cycle, you still can’t become pregnant if you have anovulatory cycles. Proper treatment may reduce the risk of infertility. However, apart from thyroid problems, there may be other potential reasons for anovulatory cycles which include perimenopausal changes, adrenal dysfunction, anorexia, ovarian issues and PCOS etc. Discuss these with your doctor if you’re trying to get pregnant.
- Luteal Phase Defects
Luteal phase is the second half of your menstrual cycle. It is during the luteal phase that the egg is released and begins its journey through the fallopian tube, where it may be fertilized by a sperm to begin pregnancy. It takes 13 to 15 days for the egg to implant on the uterine lining. If the luteal phase is too short, it does not give enough time for successful implantation and the fertilized egg may be expelled along with menstrual blood. Proper diagnosis of thyroid and treatment may help resolve luteal phase defects.
- Pregnenolone Conversion Issues
One of the most important functions of thyroid is to convert cholesterol into the hormone pregnenolone. It is a precursor hormone which is converted into progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and DHEA. Deficient thyroid hormone may lead to deficiencies in other key hormones and can disrupt menstrual cycle. This may impair fertility and lead to problems in conceiving. Proper treatment and hormone replacement may help.
- Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG) Imbalance
Thyroid problems may reduce the levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), which is a protein that attaches to estrogen. Low SHBG can lead to high estrogen which can interfere with the growth and development of your follicles, FSH and LH surges associated with ovulation. SHBG can be measured by blood test, to evaluate whether a deficiency or excess is affecting your fertility.
- Early Perimenopause / Menopause
Thyroid conditions put you at an increased risk of having an early onset of menopause. Perimenopause refers to the timeframe when hormonal levels shift and decline and may last for as long as 10 years prior to menopause. Untreated or undiagnosed thyroid conditions may lead to perimenopause and menopause beginning early, thereby shortening childbearing years and causing reduced fertility at an earlier age. A full fertility evaluation needs to be performed by your doctor to know more and suggest the course of action.
When you’re trying to conceive, make sure that your doctor knows about your thyroid condition. This will help them chart out steps to ensure optimal thyroid health and increase your chances of conceiving. To know more, visit our team of gynecologists at KIMS Cuddles.
*Information shared here is for general purpose. Please take doctors’ advice before taking any decision.