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Hyperthyroidism and Fertility*

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Across the United States, approximately 20 million people have some sort of thyroid disease, yet up to 60 percent remain unaware of their condition.1

Problems with your thyroid can lead to fertility issues, which is why it’s important that you’re aware of the potential warning signs. When left undiagnosed and untreated, thyroid disease not only impacts your ability to conceive but may also increase a pregnant woman’s risk of experiencing preterm delivery and miscarriage.

Whether you have been recently diagnosed or you suspect that something isn’t quite right in regards to your thyroid or fertility levels, here’s what you need to know about hyperthyroidism.

What Is Hyperthyroidism — and How Do I Know If I Have It?

Your thyroid is a small gland located in your neck, and since it is part of the endocrine system, it can dramatically impact your reproductive health. Thyroid hormone imbalances can also significantly affect your mood and weight.

If you have hyperthyroidism, it simply means that your thyroid is overactive, resulting in the presence of too much thyroid hormone. This can lead to a wide variety of warning signs. However, in some cases, patients with mild hyperthyroidism aren’t even aware that they have this condition, because there may be no symptoms at all.

Since your thyroid has a significant impact on your metabolic rate, and in turn, many bodily functions, symptoms are often wide-ranging.2 They include but are not limited to:

  • Mental health issues, including mood swings, irritability, nervousness, and decreased concentration
  • Swelling in your neck
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Muscle weakness
  • Fatigue and difficulty sleeping
  • Oversensitivity to heat and excessive sweating
  • Increased appetite
  • Changes in your menstrual cycle
  • Sudden changes in weight
  • Infertility

Although several factors can cause hyperthyroidism, the most common cause is Graves’ disease, accounting for more than 70 percent of cases.3 If left untreated, you may notice lighter, more irregular periods. Experts believe that there is a strong genetic basis for the development of this disease, and is most common in women aged 20 to 40. Those who smoke are particularly at risk. 

Other potential causes include:

  • Excessive intake of iodine
  • Some medications, including those used to treat heart problems and bipolar disorder
  • Thyroiditis, which is inflammation of the thyroid that often results from a viral infection
  • In rare cases, thyroid cancer is to blame
  • The development of nodules in the thyroid gland

Hyperthyroidism and Fertility — What You Need to Know

Research shows that thyroid trouble may impact women’s fertility. In one key study, it was found that 2.3 percent of women with fertility issues had hyperthyroidism, compared to 1.5 percent in the general population (an additional 0.5 percent of women of reproductive age had hypothyroidism).4 The researchers found that hyperthyroidism may also be linked to irregular menstrual cycles, reducing rates of conception. This study supports a growing body of research, linking thyroid issues with infertility.

Since the thyroid is critical for growth and development, it’s also important to note that thyroid disease has also been linked to issues during pregnancy, including preeclampsia, miscarriage, premature birth, and poor fetal growth.5

Although women are typically studied in relation to pregnancy, more and more researchers are now interested in the Male reproductive system. After all, as many as 35 percent of infertility cases involved both the female and male partner. Research shows that hyperthyroidism in men can impact sperm count, reducing overall fertility.6 However, once the thyroid condition is treated, sperm count typically returns to normal.

Hyperthyroidism can also lead to a reduction in:

  • Semen volume — or how much semen is ejaculated
  • Sperm density — or sperm count
  • Sperm motility — or how well sperm move
  • Sperm morphology — the size and shape of sperm

Conception is already a highly complex process, so if a man’s thyroid is causing any or even all of the above, it will become much more challenging to become pregnant.

How to Get Pregnant with Hyperthyroidism

If you discover that you currently have hyperthyroidism, you’ll need to work closely with your doctor to actively improve your symptoms and overall health. In the meantime, it’s imperative that you address your reproductive health, as there are many everyday steps you can take in terms of your diet and overall lifestyle.

Remember, regardless of whether or not you have an underlying condition, living a healthy lifestyle will support fertility. For example, if you are considered to be overweight or obese, this alone can throw off hormone levels. In addition to exercising and keeping stress levels low, as well as avoiding smoking and alcohol, you and your partner need to address your dietary needs.

Impryl offers a dietary supplement that will help you support your reproductive health based on eight key micronutrients, which are offered in physiologic amounts. Whether you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough folic acid, vitamin B12, zinc, or other key micronutrients, you can learn more here about what you and your partner require most when trying to conceive .

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*NOTICE: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only, and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a potential medical condition.