Is There a Connection Between Hypothyroidism and Female Infertility?
Posted on 09 May 2020
Female infertility is a rising problem and has become a very common health issue among women. Though there can be several reasons leading to infertility in women, such as low sex hormones, malfunctioning reproductive system, structural problems in the reproductive organs, etc., hypothyroidism may be one of them. It has been seen that many women belonging to the childbearing age suffer from hypothyroidism. There is a definite connection between female fertility problems and low levels of thyroid hormone in the body. Here is all you need to know about it.
Process of Normal Functioning of The Female Reproductive System
To understand the effects of hypothyroidism on fertility, we must first understand the process of the working of the reproductive system. The main organs of the female reproductive system are the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and the uterus. The pituitary gland releases the luteinizing hormone in the body which stimulates the ovaries to secrete two female sex hormones called estrogen and progesterone. These two hormones make the ovaries release mature eggs each month. They are responsible for the maturation of the eggs to make them ready to fertilize and release them timely from the ovaries. The eggs then travel through the fallopian tubes and may get fertilized by a sperm in case of sexual intercourse. Meanwhile, progesterone keeps the uterine wall ready to receive the fertilized egg by thickening it with blood. If the egg has been fertilized, it travels through the fallopian tubes and reaches the uterus to get implanted in the wall. The progesterone also helps in maintaining the lining of the wall and protecting the fertilized egg in its place. This is in gist the entire process of conception in females. However, if the egg fails to get fertilized by a sperm, the blood lining of the uterine wall breaks due to drop in progesterone levels and it is shed through the flow of menstrual blood. This maintains the cycle every month and is the normal procedure in which the female reproductive system functions. Any abnormality in any of the steps can lead to irregular menstrual cycle and fertility problems in women.
How Does Hypothyroidism Lead to Fertility Problems in Women?
Here we shall know the several ways in which hypothyroidism and malfunctioning of the thyroid gland can also impact your inability to conceive. The earlier you seek treatment to handle the issue, the sooner you can get over the fertility problems.
- Drop in levels of female reproductive hormones
Hypothyroidism also causes the pituitary gland to release less of luteinizing hormones. This hormone particularly ensures the release of the other two reproductive hormones, progesterone and oestrogen. Both of them are responsible for timely ovulation, regularity of the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and maintenance of the egg during pregnancy. Due to the lack of luteinizing hormone to stimulate the ovaries to produce the sex hormones, there can be definite issues of infertility. Pregnancy is not possible in case of lack of proper reproductive hormones in the body.
- Lack of ovulation
Low levels of thyroid hormone have several direct and indirect effects on the working of the reproductive system. Hypothyroidism can hugely affect the menstrual cycle and process of ovulation. When levels of T4 and thyroxine are low, or when the levels of Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) are high, there may be irregular ovulation or complete absence of it due to increase in the level of prolactin hormones. Since prolactin is a hormone that is responsible for milk production in females during pregnancy, it interferes with the process of ovulation and either prevents the release or causes it to release at irregular intervals. This can result in failure to conceive and is one of the primary reasons of fertility problems in females. Moreover, another cause for fertility problems in women because of rise in prolactin is a major drop in the levels of gonadotrophin releasing hormone that produce lesser reproductive hormones. This causes lack in sexual drive as well as severe fertility problems.
- Irregular menstrual cycle
Hypothyroidism can largely impact the menstrual cycle and cause major irregularities which can also result in fertility problems in women. Often, women may altogether skip periods or have abnormally long or short periods. There may also be a reduction in the length of the second half of the cycle which is detrimental if the egg has been fertilized. In such cases the egg does not get time to attach to the wall of the uterus. This leads to failure to get pregnant and is another of the several fertility problems in women. Also, there may be reduction in the basal temperature of the body, presence of ovarian cysts and large number of Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies in case of hypothyroidism which too contribute in fertility problems like inability to conceive and miscarriages.
- Failure to conceive and miscarriages
As already mentioned, lack of the presence of the sex hormones and lack of ovulation causes fertility problems like inability to get pregnant. Moreover, even if in some cases the person conceives, there may be major difficulty in maintaining the pregnancy and carrying it for the entire term. Lack of sex hormones like progesterone will lead to contraction of the uterine wall causing the implanted fertilized egg to displace. In such cases miscarriage is very common in the first trimester. This is another pertinent fertility problem in case of women suffering from hypothyroidism during or before pregnancy.
Therefore, women in the childbearing age should definitely get their T4 and TSH levels checked before trying to get pregnant. Also, they must seek immediate treatment and lead a healthy life in case they are diagnosed with hypothyroidism. This would definitely lessen complications in pregnancy and in fact, help them to easily conceive. Explain all your symptoms and problems to the doctor for better diagnosis and ask for the right diet along with medicines to check all imbalances in the body. Women who have failed to conceive in the past or have had miscarriages due to hypothyroidism should definitely not worry at all. This is perfectly curable and controllable if you follow the combination of taking thyroid hormone enhancing medicines and including the right herbs and food products that will help the body to balance the hormones and restore normal functioning of the organs. The best tea for thyroid is Teatox Life’s Thyroid support tea that blends the goodness of nettle, lemon balm, echinacea, ashwagandha, flaxseed and tulsi. This herbal tea helps in restoring hormonal imbalance and reduces stress and anxiety.