Autoimmune thyroid disease increases female infertility

Autoimmune thyroid disease, whether it increases or decreases thyroid hormone, can affect fertility in women.

Autoimmune thyroid disease or autoimmune thyroiditis is a fairly common disease. The disease occurs when the immune system produces antibodies that gradually destroy the thyroid gland and affect its functioning. If antibodies cause chronic damage, reducing the ability of the thyroid gland to produce hormones, the patient will have hypothyroidism. Conversely, if antibodies stimulate the thyroid gland to produce too much hormone, it will cause hyperthyroidism. Whether hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, thyroid hormone disorders affect fertility in women.

Accordingly, thyroid diseases can shorten the luteal phase. This phase begins after ovulation until the first day of the next menstrual period. When the luteal phase is shortened, the fertilized egg is likely to be ejected from the body during menstruation before it has a chance to implant on the uterine wall, thereby reducing the chances of conception. Thyroid hormone imbalance also leads to an imbalance of sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone), which directly affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant.

Autoimmune thyroid disease disrupts thyroid hormones and affects fertility in women. Photo: Freepik.

In addition, depending on its ability to affect thyroid hormone levels, each condition will have different effects on fertility. A deficiency of thyroid hormone interferes with ovulation and causes an anovulatory cycle. In the absence of ovulation, the patient will not be able to conceive despite having a normal period. Hypothyroidism can also lead to irregular periods with periods more than 35 days apart.

There is also evidence that hypothyroidism can cause cyst formation in the ovaries and reduce fertility in women. In addition, this condition also stimulates the body to produce prolactin (the hormone that controls milk production). High levels of prolactin in the body will affect the ability to ovulate.

Evidence for a link between hyperthyroidism and female infertility is often less. However, according to experts, excess thyroid hormone in the blood is associated with amenorrhea (short menstrual period with low menstrual blood volume) or polymenorrhea (menstrual cycle less than 21 days). These conditions all cause menstrual disorders and make it difficult for women to get pregnant.

Although it has many effects on female fertility, if the patient successfully controls these conditions, the chances of pregnancy will be significantly improved. Hypothyroidism is often treated with hormone replacement therapy, which helps supply the body with deficient thyroid hormone. Meanwhile, hyperthyroidism can be treated with antithyroid drugs, radioactive iodine, beta-blockers, or surgery. Patients with autoimmune thyroid diseases need to keep their condition under control and work with their doctor to develop a pregnancy plan that’s right for them.

Phuong Quynh
(According to Verywellhealth, Mayo Clinic, Everydayhealth)


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