Can An Underactive Thyroid Cause Infertility? Treatment Options For Hypothyroidism

An Underactive Thyroid

Hypothyroidism is an autoimmune condition that is represented by low thyroid hormone levels. A low thyroid level means an individual has high thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and low thyroxine or T4. This autoimmune condition presents with various symptoms and can negatively affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Normalizing hormone levels is essential for both the mother’s health and fertility.


Hypothyroidism and pregnancy

When a woman’s thyroid gland is not making enough thyroid hormone, the ability to conceive becomes much more difficult. Hypothyroidism interferes with a woman’s ovulation which is necessary to become pregnant. If an individual is having trouble getting pregnant, screening for thyroid conditions is essential in diagnosing the reason for infertility.

Symptoms of an underactive thyroid

A low thyroid hormone level presents with a variety of symptoms which may range from mild to severe. These signs and symptoms include constipation, fatigue, weight gain, hair loss, dry and itchy skin, cold intolerance, and learning difficulty. Reproductive signs and symptoms include irregular periods, infertility, miscarriage, and reduced libido. If symptoms occur, a blood test can confirm hypothyroidism.

Treatment options for hypothyroidism

If a patient is diagnosed with hypothyroidism, thyroid replacement therapy will be prescribed. Take the recommended hormone medication as the healthcare provider directs for optimal results. Once a patient starts the medication, the doctor will follow up every 4-6 weeks to check the hormone level. Changing the thyroid hormone level to normal can take 6 weeks or more, depending on the patient. Once the thyroid levels are within the normal range again, conception should be much easier for many patients.

Monitor levels closely

Treating hypothyroidism before pregnancy decreases the risk of miscarriage. Once pregnancy is achieved, the doctor will monitor the patient’s thyroid levels. Additionally, the dose of the hormone medications should be monitored as too much can lead to a woman developing hyperthyroidism. Slight dose adjustments may be necessary as the pregnancy progresses.

Making use of fertility treatments

In more complicated cases of hypothyroidism, doctors may recommend other treatment options to patients. Certain fertility treatments, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), can help women with hypothyroidism conceive if natural attempts are unsuccessful.

Hope for pregnancy

Women with low thyroid hormone levels can still achieve pregnancy with proper management and, in some cases, fertility treatments. Hypothyroidism can be managed with thyroid hormone therapy before pregnancy. During pregnancy, the levels will continue to be monitored to ensure the health of both mom and baby. In some cases, doctors may suggest fertility treatments to achieve pregnancy. Even with a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, building a family is possible.

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