Having a Baby is a Desire of Many,
But what happens with thyroid dysfunction and Infertility?
As described in previous two blogs, the Thyroid controls metabolism, Heart rate, Body Temperature, Sleep Cycles, and cognitive functions. In this final blog on thyroid, i want to talk about an issue that affects 13% of all couples annually.
This is defined by the CDC as trying for a period of 1 year to become pregnant without success, in women over the age of 35 it is a period of 6 months (3). It affects approximately 15% of women between the ages of 15-44. Interestingly, the CDC covers Thyroid, Hypothalamus and Pituitary dysfunction as causes of infertility for men, but not women. If you look at the previous sources sited from previous blogs, Thyroid function is basically essential for life to be sustained. If you can not sustain you, how do you expect to sustain growing another human inside of you?
In a blog from August of 2020, endocrine.web talks specifically about how a pregnancy may be difficult to obtain and sustain with thyroid dysfunction. This can happen because TSH is abnormal, thereby effecting the ovulation cycle. Without ovulation, there is not chance to fertilize an egg. It can also happen because there is a lack of luteal phase and, even if a woman has an egg fertilized, it will likely not implant in the uterus and be sloughed with menses. If it is not sloughed during the menstrual cycle, the likely hood for miscarriage is elevated due to improper implantation of the egg or developing placenta. (4)
Thyroid Dysfunction in Men
Men have thyroid issues too, and they go undetected typically longer than women. This is primarily because men visit the doctor less often between the ages of 18-35, when a thyroid condition is likely to develop. Many believe that if they have hair loss, it is a family trait, so they don’t look for it as a symptom. They also are less likely to think of brain fog, because we as women have always told them we are better multitaskers. We give men an out for their forgetfulness, lack of ability to complete a task without a list, etc. And Ladies, That is Our Fault! Thyroid Dysfunction in men can lead to oddly shaped sperm, decreased sperm motility and decreased sperm count. All of these things may cause your Man to have increased difficulty helping you to get your family started.
How do we decrease risk of infertility?
If you are considering family planning, and you are looking to conceive, Talk to your spouse/partner about getting a full physical. This is needed for BOTH of you. You should both be evaluated for a full thyroid panel. (see left insert on optimal versus normal ranges).
You should also consider testing for vitamin D3 as 25(OH)-VitD, Iodine, Zinc, selenium and B vitamins. Consider doing a full comprehensive hormone panel like the DUTCH test, which can also test how your adrenal glands are functioning. It will tell you which pathway your estrogen is going, testosterone total, testosterone Alpha and Beta. The Comprehensive Cycle Mapping test can also tell you best time during the cycle to try for a baby. This test is part of a DUTCH panel if requested.
Some of these tests will not be covered by insurance, but they are still less expensive than most fertility treatments. The rate of infertility and lost pregnancy due to thyroid dysfunction is reported by infertility.org to be as high as 5% of all persons trying to conceive
What Can I do about Thyroid Naturally? (1)
- Take a Quality Muti Vitamin
- Take Extra Vitamin D and Know your levels (25OH-VitD should be between 50-80, 30 is considered normal)
- Get 15 Veggies and 5 fruits Daily
- Get Enough Protein (1.9kg/pound females; 2.4g/pound males)
- Get some Protein from collagen
- Sleep 8-10 hours daily
- Eat iodized salt
- Eat crustaceans (selenium, iodine and zinc all support thyroid).
- Eat Brazil Nuts (4/day for selenium requirements)
- Get tested Early and Often.
- As young as 18 but before age 24. (normally recommended at age 32)
- Run a FULL Thyroid panel (most only run TSH and Total Thyroid)(2)