According to Dr. Shobha Gupta, Infertility Specialist, about 18-20% of couples in the reproductive age are infertile. The thyroid hormone
regulates cellular function; abnormal thyroid function can affect your fertility. Undiagnosed and untreated thyroid disease can be a cause for infertility or frequent miscarriage. According to Indian Thyroid Society, about 70 percent of women with PMS have low thyroid levels, which decreases the ability of the ovaries to produce progesterone leading to PMS symptoms. 25.6 percent of the Indian population have thyroid dysfunction and possibly resulted in infertility.
Facts about infertility
-About 18-20% of couples in reproductive age are infertile.
-According to the Indian Thyroid Society, about 70% of women with PMS have low thyroid levels, which make the ovaries less able to produce progesterone leading to PMS symptoms.
-25.6% of the Indian population have thyroid dysfunction and possibly resulted in infertility
-Women are four times more prone to thyroid disorders than men.
Having trouble getting pregnant?
Your thyroid could be the problem and your doctor may not even know it. According to Dr. Shobha Gupta, the IVF expert on thyroid issues, quoted that
“standard blood tests miss up to 80 per cent of cases in which low tissue thyroid levels are causing or contributing to infertility.”
Underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) is a condition in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones. For women, there is a link between hypothyroidism and infertility. Low levels of thyroid hormone can interfere with ovulation, which impairs fertility. In addition, some of the underlying causes of hypothyroidism — such as certain autoimmune
or pituitary disorders — impair fertility. Payal Mehra (name changed on request), 29, a working professional, her world came to an end when she got to know that she can’t be pregnant. As the thyroid is very much common in today’s lifestyle, Payal was diagnosed with thyroid but she ignored and avoided regular maintenance checkups. After one year when she underwent a TSH blood test, she got to know that she is suffering from hypothyroidism due to which she is now unable to conceive. Since standard thyroid blood tests are not sensitive enough to detect low ovarian tissue levels, the majority of the time, Dr Shobha Gupta advises, “Women must find a knowledgeable physician who understands that standard tests will often not be useful in detecting low ovarian thyroid levels.”
The symptoms of hypothyroidism can be of many types. Some patients show no symptoms, while others show some marked symptoms. The symptoms usually depend on the severity of the hormone deficiency and the rate at which it develops in the patient. The symptoms are usually milder at the beginning but develop gradually as the condition deteriorates.
The general symptoms are weight gain, fatigue, constipation, muscle and joint aches, sluggishness, and intolerance towards cold weather, abnormal and irregular periods, fatigue, and sleeplessness. The skin may turn dry and thick. The hair may become coarse or thin. At times eyebrows disappear and nails become brittle.
If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, immediately go for TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) test, Chest X-ray, T4 or thyroxin test. Hypothyroidism treatment. Hyperthyroidism can be treated in many ways. However, a doctor chooses the line of treatment on the basis of a number of variables like the underlying cause of hyperthyroidism, the age of the patient, the size of the thyroid gland and the presence of coexisting medical illnesses. If you are found to have hypothyroidism
, thyroid hormone replacement is very effective in restoring fertility. It may take one to two months to normalise your thyroid hormone levels with medication; and once you start medication, you must check your TSH levels to confirm they are in the normal range. You will usually need to continue the medicines for the rest of your life and recheck your thyroid function every six months or so.
A few infertility tips by Dr. Shobha Gupta:
- Get proper diagnosis
- Try to watch your weight
- Get adequate sleep and omit stress
- Go for regular, healthy, calming exercise
- Do not ignore early symptoms
- Have a balanced and adequate diet
Dr. Shobha Gupta said “Millions of people have an undiagnosed thyroid problem, and don’t realize that it is the source of the other health challenges they face. Infertility is a major health threat due to thyroid and many other conditions that are often the direct result of undiagnosed and untreated thyroid conditions. In order to lead a healthy life, I would recommend that all patients who recognize any of these symptoms should go for a TSH test.” (and full thyroid panel)
About the Author
Dr. Shobha Gupta, MBBS, (LHMC), DGO, (MAMC), MD in OBS & Gynecology, is trained in ART under Justus Leibig University (Germany). She’s a member of FOGSI, AOGD, IFS, IMA and a Consultant Infertility Specialist. Dr. Shobha Gupta is the backbone and CEO of their clinic. She completed her MBBS from the esteemed Lady Hardinge Medical College and PG from the notable Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC). She is one of the doctors in Delhi who has developed an impassioned pursuit of childlessness or infertility. Check out her website, DrShobhaGupta.com, follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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