Having a low thyroid hormone level – hypothyroidism – can lead to risk before, during, and after pregnancy. Two to four percent of women in their prime reproductive years are suffering from infertility due to undiagnosed hypothyroidism. Low thyroid function can cause menstrual irregularity or absence of a period. Approximately 20 percent of women suffering from PCOS test positive for hypothyroidism. Thyroid medication can help these women ovulate with regularity and conceive.
Hypothyroidism & Infertility
Low thyroid hormone levels – thyroxine T4 – or elevated thyroid –releasing hormone – TRH – causes high levels of prolactin. This leads to either no egg release during ovulation – or – an irregular egg release. Both of these result in making it difficult for a woman to conceive.
Hypothyroidism can also cause a shortened second half of the menstrual cycle. This may not allow a fertilized egg enough time to attach to the womb.
Other infertility symptoms:
- Low basal body temperature
- High thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies
- Ovarian cysts – leading to pregnancy loss or an inability for an embryo to attach to the uterine wall
Hypothyroidism & Miscarriage
Maternal Hypothyroidism causes many pregnancy complications.
- Recurrent miscarriages
- Premature delivery
Maternal Hypothyroidism is defined by a TSH level of greater than 2.5. This supports the need for higher levels of thyroid hormone to support a pregnancy as well as the normal growth and development of the fetus.
Thyroid-Stimulating Hormone and T4 Levels
For a successful pregnancy and birth, TSH and T4 level testing is recommended when a woman is experiencing infertility – or – has suffered recurrent miscarriage.
Hypothyroidism & Pregnancy
Hypothyroidism and early pregnancy have similar symptoms.
- Extreme fatigue
- Weight gain
- Sensitivity to cold temperatures
- Muscle cramps
- Difficulty concentrating
If you are diagnosed with hypothyroidism during pregnancy, you must control the condition. If not properly treated, hypothyroidism during pregnancy can cause:
- Maternal anemia
- Increase in maternal blood pressure
- Premature birth
- Low infant birth weight
- Delayed infant growth and brain development
|– TSH||– Anti-Thyroid Antibodies|
|– Total and Free T3||– Anti-Thyroglobin Antibodies|
|– Total and Free T4||– Prolactin|
|– Reverse T3 (rT3)||– Vitamin B12/Vitamin D3|
Elevated TSH Level
Failure of the thyroid gland itself is diagnosed when the TSH level is elevated.
- Hypothyroidism resulting from autoimmune Thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s) is diagnosed when anti-thyroid antibodies are detected.
- When a patient has low TSH, T3, and T4 – possibly with an elevated prolactin level – the origin indicates Hypothyroidism of a Pituitary or Hypothalamic
- High levels of reverse T3 indicate an adrenal gland issue, which is a result of chronic stress
- When a symptomatic patient has low total T3 and vitamin B 12 levels, subclinical hypothyroidism exists
Thyroflex Nerve Conduction Velocity Testing
The speed of nerve conduction is a little known and underutilized method of testing and diagnosing hypothyroidism. Thyroflex testing is also optimal for determining thyroid medication dosage for symptomatic patients.
- A tendon reflex is a movement of a muscle caused by the stimulation of a nerve that controls the muscle and causes it to move involuntarily.
- The speed at which this reaction occurs is an indicator of cellular function.
- The lower the speed of conduction, the lower the cellular energy and function.
- Cellular function is ultimately controlled by T3, the most biologically active thyroid hormone.
- Low levels of T3 within the cells of the body result in diminished cellular function, which ultimately cause people to suffer with the clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism.
- A slow rate of nerve conduction demonstrates low cellular function and confirms a diagnosis of hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism & Infertility Expertise
Dr. Hugh Melnick pays close attention to the diagnosis and treatment of hypothyroidism – a common condition among women suffering from infertility.
Your initial consultation with the Doctor can be conducted via telephone, Skype or FaceTime.
Schedule your initial consultation with Dr. Hugh Melnick at Advanced Fertility Services by calling 212.369.8700 – or – post your comments and questions below.