Thyroid Problems and Infertility

Thyroid Problems and Infertility Thyroid Problems and Infertility

Thyroid issues can be linked to infertility. Many women may be unaware that they are experiencing thyroid-related fertility problems. Wondering if you are one of those women? If you are having trouble conceiving, check out these following two categories:

Category A (Hypothyroid):
- I have trouble losing weight or I gain weight easily.
- I am often constipated.
- I frequently feel sluggish or depressed.
- My joints and muscles ache.
- I hate winter and often feel cold, even when others don't.

Category B (Hyperthyroid):
- I can't keep weight on or I lose weight easily.
- I have trouble sleeping.
- I often feel moody, nervous, or irritable.
- My heart beats quickly or irregularly.
- I dread summer because I always feel so hot.

If you fit into one of these categories, and are having trouble getting pregnant, make an appointment with your doctor to see if your thyroid is affecting your fertility. Even if you don't have the symptoms listed above, a thyroid test may help your doctor identify or rule out possible causes of your infertility. Some people with thyroid disorders may have only a few symptoms, if any at all. On the other hand, many of us have symptoms like those listed above and do not have thyroid problems. Your doctor can tell you more.

Pass the Salt…
…If it's iodized, that is! The thyroid gland needs a certain amount of dietary iodine to keep your thyroid hormone levels healthy. On rare occasions, low iodine levels can cause hypothyroidism (Category A above). If you have hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor to see if you are getting enough iodine each day. Conversely, too much iodine can cause health problems. In addition to food sources, some medications and supplements contain iodine. If you consume too much iodine, you could be at risk for hyperthyroidism, which can lead to infertility. If you are experiencing fertility problems, it may be a good idea to have your thyroid function checked out.

Thyroid problems during pregnancy
If you become pregnant, and have a thyroid condition, enjoy your pregnancy, but stay safe. Make sure that your doctor monitors you closely, even in early pregnancy. If you have hypothyroidism you may have a higher risk of miscarrying. If you have hyperthyroidism, you may be at risk of having a low birth weight baby or problems with pre-term labor. Women with thyroid conditions need to see a doctor regularly to ensure a healthy pregnancy.

Click here to learn more about testing and treatment for thyroid-related fertility problems.

Medically reviewed by Kristen Wright, M.D. from Reproductive Science Center of New England, February 2011.