Functions of the Thyroid gland:
The thyroid gland is an endocrine gland situated in front of the neck which produces thyroid hormones to regulate the body’s metabolism. Imbalanced thyroid hormones can have a negative impact on reproductive health in both males and females, also it can affect the ongoing pregnancy.
Thyroid hormones include: Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) released from the brain, which stimulates the pituitary gland at the base of the brain to release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which in turn stimulates the thyroid gland to produce Thyroxine (T4) and Triiodothyronine (T3). Much of T4 is converted to T3 (the active form) in the liver.
- Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid): thyroid gland produces more thyroid hormones
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid): fewer thyroid hormones secretion
Imbalanced thyroid hormones and Female fertility:
- Menstrual irregularities (symptoms ranging from no bleeding to heavy bleeding)
- Anovulation (failure to release an egg)
- Unexplained infertility
- Luteal phase problems (the second half of the cycle after the release of an egg)
- Early pregnancy miscarriages
Imbalanced thyroid hormones and Male fertility:
- Affects the semen volume and motility of sperms
- Erectile dysfunction
- Ejaculatory delay
- Loss of libido
- Male breast enlargement
For any infertile couple thyroid hormones screening is a must. Once the underlying thyroid problems are treated with medications, and thyroid hormones return to adequate levels, many a times fertility may be restored.