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Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism, and Fertility: What's the Connection?

What is a hyperactive thyroid or a hypoactive thyroid (thyroid disease)?
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the lower-front part of a person’s neck. A person’s thyroid secretes hormones called thyroid hormones, which are then distributed throughout the body. These hormones play a role in growth and development, metabolism and body temperature. When a person’s thyroid is hyperactive, it means that it is producing and secreting more hormones than the body needs. Women are more likely to have a hyperactive thyroid than men. Adversely, when a person’s body is not producing enough thyroid hormones, they have a hypoactive thyroid.

What are the symptoms of a hyperactive thyroid?
• Changes in menstruation
• Muscle weakness (arms and legs)
• Rapid heartbeat
• Sweating
• Anxiety
• Weight loss and/or low appetite
• Changes in hair (texture, hair loss)
• Double vision
• Trouble sleeping
• Changes in bowel movements
• Loss of libido

What are the symptoms of a hypoactive thyroid?

• Changes in menstruation
• Constipation
• Changes in hair (texture, hair loss)
• Fatigue
• Dry skin
• A slow heart rate
• Unexpected weight gain
• Loss of libido

How does thyroid disease relate to fertility?
Patients should note that having a hyperactive or hypoactive thyroid does not automatically mean that pregnancy and fertility are affected. However, patients who have thyroid disease can experience fertility issues, including difficulty maintaining a healthy pregnancy. Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can impact a woman’s menstrual cycle by making her period lighter and less frequent. Changes in menstruation can potentially affect a woman’s ability to conceive if not addressed through treatment for the hormonal imbalance caused by thyroid disease.

If you are thinking of starting a family, it is important to speak with your provider about thyroid disease if you have experienced the symptoms listed above. Your provider will be able to provide a diagnosis and determine if treatment for a hyperactive or hypoactive thyroid is needed and whether or not your ability to conceive is affected by the condition.

Related Topics: Hyperthyroidism, Hypothyroidism