How thyroid health impacts fertility and what to do about it - Fertile Body

How thyroid health impacts fertility and what to do about it

If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully for a while to fall pregnant, there are a few things you can look at before heading down the path of expensive and invasive IVF treatment – one of those things is to ensure your thyroid is functioning at its absolute best.

Thyroid function is vital to fertility and for carrying a pregnancy to term. The thyroid produces hormones that are responsible for the metabolism of every cell in the body, so your fertility hormones are dependent on it functioning optimally, as is the growing embryo.

If you’ve been struggling to fall pregnant or experiencing recurrent miscarriages it could be due to an underactive (hypo) or overactive (hyper) thyroid.

For female’s, poor thyroid function affects the balance of reproductive hormones including progesterone levels, as well as period regularity and libido. In men thyroid dysfunction can affect testosterone production and libido. It can also be involved in erectile dysfunction as well as negatively affecting sperm count and motility.

Unfortunately, many GP’s, and even fertility specialists, fail to undertake thyroid function tests that are comprehensive enough to diagnose any underlying thyroid issues. This is baffling given the prevalence of thyroid dysfunction in today’s society is high and even higher in those with a diagnosis of ‘unexplained’ infertility.

Our bodies are constantly working hard to heal and self-correct, but sometimes our system is too stressed or doesn’t have the right resources. Symptoms are the body’s way of telling us that something is “off”.

Traditional Chinese Medicine seeks to identify and treat the underlying causes that lead to ‘unexplained’ fertility diagnosis. When used on its own or alongside Western Medicine, acupuncture and Chinese herbs can greatly improve a couple’s chances of falling pregnant.

It does this by encouraging the body to perform optimally. Along with Chinese herbs, dietary improvements, and other lifestyle shifts, acupuncture can take the pressure off a stressed system and provide the building blocks for healing.

 

Thyroid issues can affect pregnancy in the following ways:

  • Iron deficiency during pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Preeclampsia
  • Postpartum haemorrhage
  • Decreased birth weight
  • Preterm birth
  • Stillbirths
  • Birth defects

 

In a complementary medicine approach, if we suspect a thyroid issue, the first thing an experienced practitioner will do is check hormone levels and thyroid antibodies to gain a full picture of how the thyroid is functioning.

Another tool we use to diagnose thyroid dysfunction is BBT charting. This involves keeping track of a woman’s body temperature throughout her menstrual cycle. Low BBT temps indicate poor thyroid function and high BBT temps can highlight hyperactive thyroid tendencies. BBT charting can also provide further useful information about ovulation and progesterone levels.

 

5 signs you should be asking for more thorough thyroid testing:

  • You’ve been trying to fall pregnant for more than 6 months
  • You’ve been given a diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility’
  • There’s a family history of thyroid issues
  • You’ve had two or more miscarriages
  • You have irregular menstrual cycles

 

So how do you improve thyroid function?

There are many things that can affect the overall healthy functioning of the thyroid, and ultimately fertility. Leaky gut, parasites, nutritional deficiencies, adrenal exhaustion or autoimmune issues can all contribute to thyroid dysfunction. The first step is to find an experienced Chinese Medicine practitioner who can help you uncover any underlying issues.

If you have a diagnosis of ‘unexplained’ fertility or you are struggling to fall pregnant, there are natural treatment options that can help you! If you are in or around the Northern Beaches of Sydney area and need support for your hormone health or fertility, contact us or schedule an appointment and we can work with you to develop a plan to help you manage your symptoms and meet your goals of conceiving.