Thyroid Disorders and Fertility


As promised, each Thursday, we will now offer you a piece of educational, science, or research related information. The purpose of our #ThursdayThoughts post is to share with you fact-based content that can enlighten and assist you on your fertility journey. Enjoy our post! Helping to Create New Beginnings….

Thyroid Disorders and Fertility

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the base of the neck.  It plays an important role in the body’s endocrine system by controlling metabolism through specific hormones that are released.  Metabolism is the process by which the body converts what is consumed into energy.  The thyroid receives messages from the pituitary gland in the brain through thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), and releases triiodothyronine (t3) and thyroxine (T4). Any disruption of this cycle can affect the menstrual cycle and fertility.

Thyroid disorders occur 5-8 times more in women compared to men, and can result in anovulatory cycles, luteal phase defect, high prolactin levels, and sex-hormone imbalances. Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too much hormone, and hypothyroidism occurs when the gland is underactive or absent.

Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism include unexplained weight loss, increased appetite, feeling nervous and anxious, and heat intolerance.  It can lead to infrequent periods or interfere with ovulation in women, and can cause low sperm count in men.  Symptoms of hypothyroidism include weight gain, fatigue, cold intolerance, and thinning hair. Having frequent, heavy periods is also associated with being hypothyroid.  Hypothyroidism can also increase risk of miscarriage, pre-eclampsia, or poor fetal growth when pregnant. Thyroid hormone is also exceptionally important for fetal brain development. Thyroid disorders can be treated with medication and monitored with bloodwork.  TSH is routinely monitored when undergoing any type of fertility treatment here at Fertility Institute of Hawaii.  For more information regarding common fertility-related issues and treatments, please visit our website at, or call 808-545-2800 to set up a consultation with one of our physicians.

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