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Common Problems That May Delay Conception: Thyroid Imbalance

Common Problems That May Delay Conception: Thyroid Imbalance


The proper functioning of thyroid gland is important as it affects all organs of the body, especially the menstrual cycle. Both Hyperthyroidism and Hypothyroidism is bad as it speeds up and slows down the body processes. The Triiodothyronine (T3) and Thyroxin (T4) are released by the thyroid gland and are controlled by Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) released by Pituitary glands. Thyroid hormone plays a vital role maintaining the health of the baby and mother during pregnancy. By having proper medications and taking thyroid tests you can protect yourself and your baby from harm.


Patients with either hyper- or hypothyroidism can have fertility problems although it is certainly possible to have these diseases and still get pregnant. Once the diseases have been treated, it is important to recommence birth control (if desired), since fertility is restored quickly once the patient’s thyroid function is normal. Sub-clinical hypothyroidism can sometimes cause infertility and miscarriages and is, thus, usually treated in women of childbearing age that desire to become pregnant.

In addition, both men and women with untreated thyroid disease often have decreased sexual desire (libido). Hyper- or hypothyroidism is also a cause for male infertility since sperm development requires normal thyroid hormone levels.

Preferably, Graves’ disease should be treated with radioactive iodine or by surgery before pregnancy to avoid the use of antithyroid medication during pregnancy. It is generally recommended to wait six months after radioactive iodine treatment before becoming pregnant.

One other cause of infertility in patients with thyroid disease is the uncommon condition of primary ovary failure. This is an autoimmune disorder, like Graves’ disease and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, caused by proteins and white cells in the blood that attack proteins in the patient’s ovaries. This leads to the decreased size of the ovaries, the failure to ovulate, premature menopause, and infertility.

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