The thyroid gland is a small, butterfly-shaped organ located in our throat area just below the larynx. It releases hormones that are involved in numerous metabolic processes. For example, these thyroid hormones have an impact on our general energy level. Thus, the state and efficiency of the thyroid gland affects your body temperature. In addition, the amount of thyroid hormones secreted also affects sex hormones. These include estrogen, progesterone, prolactin and androgens.
How the thyroid gland affects your fertility
The thyroid gland therefore has a great influence on our well-being. If it produces too few hormones, processes in the body cannot be supported with sufficient energy, for example. In this case, we speak of an underactive thyroid. If, on the other hand, the thyroid gland secretes too many hormones, we will have difficulty relaxing, for example. This is called hyperthyroidism.
Ideally, the thyroid gland produces an appropriate amount of thyroid hormones. Thus, energy levels and recovery periods are in balance. Both shifts in thyroid function (hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism) can affect your fertility. Unfortunately, the typical symptoms of such a disorder are not always clearly attributable to an imbalance of thyroid hormones! It may take a long time before a clear diagnosis is made. If you suspect an imbalance of your thyroid gland, please consult a doctor or alternative practitioner to clarify this.
How are thyroid, Hashimoto’s and PCOS related?
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) occurs in about 5-10% of women of childbearing age. A frequent occurrence of PCO syndrome in women with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is discussed. This is an autoimmune chronic inflammation of the thyroid gland. Sooner or later, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis almost always leads to hypothyroidism with the typical effects.
Examination of thyroid hormones
Even preliminary stages of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism (latent hypo- or hyperthyroidism) can lead to profound disturbances of the menstrual cycle and fertility.
Therefore, the careful clarification of the function of the thyroid gland is part of the basic program of almost every gynecological diagnosis. Hyperthyroidism as well as hypothyroidism can negatively influence your cycle and your fertility! An imbalance of thyroid hormones can therefore be a reason for unwanted childlessness. This is because thyroid hormones control all important processes in the body. This naturally includes fertility and reproduction. Thyroid and sex hormones such as estrogen are closely related and influence each other. If the thyroid hormones get out of balance, this affects the development and maturation of the egg, for example. In addition, the rhythm of your menstrual cycle may shift unfavorably. Affected women become pregnant less often. If conception nevertheless occurs, hyperactivity in the first few months in particular can often lead to a miscarriage.
Thyroid related disorders
In this metabolic disorder, the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. This leads to an overactive metabolism, which can manifest itself, for example, in restlessness, nervousness, cycle disorders, infertility, sweating and weight loss.
In this case, the thyroid gland produces too few hormones. Those affected complain of fatigue, lack of drive, increased need for sleep and memory problems. They often freeze, suffer from constipation and significant weight gain. The skin is dry, cool and pale, hair and nails are brittle. In addition to water retention (e.g., on the eyelids), women often experience menstrual irregularities. The pulse is slow and muscle reflexes are weakened.
Influence on the sex hormones
Often it is because the hormone TRH not only promotes the release of TSH to stimulate the thyroid gland to produce thyroid hormones, but also stimulates the release of prolactin at the same time. Prolactin is a pregnancy hormone that stimulates milk production. In non-pregnant women, an excess of prolactin can lead to anovulatory cycles (no ovulation) and even the absence of menstruation. There is often pronounced discomfort around the breasts such as tightness, pain, swelling and even milk flow. This prolactin excess often normalizes when the hypo- or even hyperthyroidism is compensated with thyroid hormones. However, improvement in cycle disorders may lag several months behind thyroid hormone adjustment.
Estrogens & Progesterone
However, disorders of female hormones may also be present in regular bleeding. It may be that in anovulatory cycles there is an excess of estrogen and a simultaneous deficiency of progesterone. Estrogens and progesterone are antagonists. This imbalance of sex hormones in turn negatively affects the functioning of thyroid hormones. Too much estrogen increases the number of binding proteins, which causes the thyroid hormones to bind more and release less in the organs. Also, without enough progesterone, the thyroid hormones cannot work properly. Complaints triggered by disorders of the sex hormones may under certain circumstances be misinterpreted as cycle-dependent hypothyroidism. Very often, premenstrual syndrome develops with symptoms such as water retention, weight gain and feelings of tension in the breasts.
Hyperthyroidism also has a particular effect on androgens. SHBG (sex hormone binding globulin) is elevated and thus induces an increased conversion of androgens to estrogens. Through little researched, complicated feedback processes, an excess of androgens increases the secretion of LH and FSH, while an excess of estrogens has a negative effect on the natural counterpart hormone progesterone.
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