Fertility And Thyroid Disorders
The thyroid’s main function is to regulate the body’s hormones.
That is why thyroid disorders directly affect many bodily functions that are dependent on hormones.
Some of the body’s functions that undergo adverse changes brought on by thyroid disorders include changes in menstrual cycle, fluctuating levels of estrogen and progesterone, the onset of menopause, and breastfeeding.
A woman’s fertility is the most commonly affected by a malfunctioning thyroid, more specifically, a woman’s ability to get pregnant and the pregnancy itself.
Pre-Existing Thyroid Conditions
With thyroid problems, the main goal is get the thyroid hormone back to normal levels before a woman conceives. There are two thyroid disorders that occur most commonly and which greatly contribute to fertility problems:
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which a person has an underactive thyroid. Women with this condition have more difficulties regarding fertility. Proper and immediate medical treatment is important when a woman has plans of conceiving. Extreme hypothyroidism in women, if not treated, results in higher risks of developmental problems in babies. Lower I.Q. levels and cretinism, which can cause mental retardation, are attributed to hypothyroid mothers. Women whose hypothyroidism is left untreated have a greater risk of having miscarriages or stillbirths.
Hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, is a condition in which the thyroid is overactive. Compared to women with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroid women, more often than not, have fewer difficulties. Becoming pregnant is more difficult, however, and the risk of a miscarriage is also increased. If an endocrinologist has determined that a woman’s condition is mild to moderate, the health risk to the mother or the baby are less. Severe or unregulated hyperthyroidism, on the other hand, increases the risk of anemia, high blood pressure, and infection. There is also a higher chance that the condition will be passed on to the baby.
Thyroid Disease Post-Partum
Post-partum thyroiditis can occur in many women who were healthy prior to giving birth. This condition may be temporary, from a few months to a year, or may signal the beginning of another disorder. Tests can be done to determine if a woman risks developing a thyroid disorder after giving birth. The presence of a certain thyroid antibody in her system and the levels of an antithyroid antibody prior to or during pregnancy can be tested by a doctor. It is very important that a woman who has plans of conceiving discuss any concerns she may have with her doctor. These disorders, once diagnosed, can be treated immediately and successfully.
It is of greater importance for a conceiving woman who suspects that they may have a thyroid problem to get screened right away and seek immediate treatment once diagnosed. During the first half of a woman’s pregnancy, the developing fetus depends completely on the mother for its thyroid hormones.
Pregnant women should be more aware of their bodies and discuss any and all concerns they may have with their doctor. A healthy lifestyle for the mother also means a healthy lifestyle for the baby.