Your thyroid health is quite important when it comes to your fertility. The thyroid is a small gland in your neck that produces hormones that influence every cell in your body (each cell has a receptor for thyroid hormone). Much of your body, including your mood, menstruation, metabolism, and digestion, relies on the health of your thyroid to function optimally.
It is estimated that 1 in 8 women will have thyroid issues in their lifetime. Normal thyroid function is important for ovarian function and hormone production. Poor or subclinical hypothyroidism (low active thyroid hormone) can affect fertility by impacting estrogen, progesterone, and prolactin. Estrogen and progesterone balance are needed for optimal fertility and adequate progesterone decrease your chance of a miscarriage. As prolactin increases, your menstrual cycles and ovulation may become more irregular or stop altogether.
Common Causes of Thyroid Imbalance:
- Nutrient depletion: low levels of nutrients such as vitamin D, iodine, selenium, iron, and vitamin A
- Inflammatory diet/lifestyle
- Blood sugar imbalances/insulin resistance
- Gut disruption — leaky gut can lead to autoimmune Hashimoto’s (low thyroid)
- Stress / poor adrenal health
- Environmental toxins
Thyroid Testing for Fertility:
It’s important to test more than just TSH when looking at thyroid function. TSH can be a good indicator of overt thyroid dysfunction, but not of subclinical issues. TSH is measuring what your brain is telling your thyroid to do, not what your thyroid is actually doing.
TSH: optimal range 1-2uIU/ml — if TSH is in the upper half of the reference range (>2.5) it is suspicious for thyroid dysfunction.
If you want to get a better picture of actual thyroid function for fertility, consider getting these labs checked as well:
- Free T3 (3-3.5 pg/mL)
- Free T4 (1-1.5 ng/dL)
- Thyroid Antibodies (TPO & TG)
- Reverse T3 (10-25 ng/dL)
It’s important to actually look at the numbers, not just assume you are fine because you are within the range from the lab!
Treating Thyroid Imbalances for Fertility:
- Consider talking to your doctor about thyroid medication to optimize thyroid function. There are some more natural thyroid hormone options.
- Address your diet: eliminate any food sensitivities, gluten, and dairy. Balance your blood sugars.
- Replete nutrients: consider a micronutrient test (iodine, selenium, myo-inositol, vitamin D, iron, zinc…)
- Manages stress and support your adrenals through adaptogenic herbs, good sleep, blood sugar balance, and self care
- Heal your gut
- Support detoxification and elimination (gut and liver health are a big piece of this)
- Support your immune system through adequate sleep, decreased stress, anti-inflammatory diet, gut health, adequate nutrients
Have you tested more than just TSH for thyroid function?
If you want to dig in to your potential fertility issues, contact me for a free consult to see if we’d be a good fit!