A medical condition known as hyperthyroidism can impact a person’s fertility levels.
The thyroid is a small organ situated at the base of the neck and is considered among the body’s most important glands. This hormone-secreting structure creates and releases thyroxine and other vital chemicals that play a crucial role in fostering several functions paramount to survival, such as breathing, heart function, pulse rate, fat synthesis, weight control, temperature, nervous system function, menstrual cycles, the synthesis of cholesterol, and the body’s metabolic rate.
This potentially serious health malady, also referred to as Graves’ disease, occurs when the thyroid secretes excessive quantities of thyroxine and other hormones. A variety of physical manifestations can present as a result including involuntary weight loss, accelerated pulse rate, prominent external pulses, increased appetite, tremors, nervousness, increased frequency of bowel movements, skin maladies, insomnia, and increased perspiration.
The severity of the symptoms can range in intensity depending on how far above typical the organ’s hormonal output is.
Hyperthyroidism and Fertility
The hormonal disorder can have a profound influence on the fertility of both women and men.
The disorder is known to potentially lessen the frequency of women’s menstrual periods, which can lead to difficulties conceiving. Additionally, women stricken with hyperthyroidism who are fortunate enough to conceive must take added precautions. Excessive levels of thyroxine and certain hyperthyroid-fighting drugs could potentially harm an unborn child or lead to miscarriage. It is therefore imperative for women in these circumstances to be closely monitored by their obstetrician or family doctor.
Men are not immune to the potential fertility-suppressing capabilities precipitated by elevated systemic concentrations of thyroxine. Excessive quantities of this hormone have been found to diminish sperm count and health. Either issue could increase the difficulty of sperm to fertilize a woman’s egg.
In some instances, medications may be necessary to restore normal TSH levels. The specific drug and dosage will depend on the severity of the ailment. However, prescription medications should be used with extreme caution when administered to expecting women.
In cases where secretion of thyroxine is extremely high or other complications are present, surgical procedures to remove the entire organ or specific over-secreting nodules might be necessary.
Iodine can suppress the thyroid gland. This form of treatment can be administered through the execution of a medical procedure or the ingestion of iodine in tablet form.
Certain natural treatments might augment more conventional remedial endeavors. Specific recommendations include consuming a diet low in iodine (particularly for individuals undergoing iodine treatment), eating sea and green vegetables, supplementing one’s diet with nutrients like vitamin B-12 and selenium, not eating fast as a means of slowing one’s metabolic rate, and practicing relaxation techniques, such as yoga, which are believed to foster a healthier hormonal system.