Fertility series: Thyroid dysfunction and how it affects female fertility

Amanda Roe: Acupuncture and Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Call 087 6331898
Email: amanda@marketstclinic.com

One of the leading causes for unexplained infertility is undiagnosed thyroid problems, especially undiagnosed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. 

Hashimoto’s is an autoimmune condition where your body’s immune system mistakes parts of your thyroid gland as foreign and starts to produce antibodies that attack it. You may suspect a thyroid problem because of your symptoms, however this often goes undetected as thyroid hormones can be within a normal range on a standard blood test from your GP even when your immune system is damaging part of it. 

Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck just in front of the windpipe that produces hormones responsible for metabolism, growth and development of the human body. 

Thyroid hormones known as T4 and T3 control your basal metabolic rate, or in other words how much energy is produced from the food, beverages and oxygen you consume. Low metabolic rate causes problems like constipation, hair loss, low energy, weight gain – high levels cause the opposite ie. an increase in heart rate, inability to relax, weight loss even though you are eating all around you. 

Women with Hashimoto’s can have symptoms from both the too high group and the too low group at the same time – for example they may be suffering with weight gain, hair loss and constipation and then have periods of time when they get heart palpitations or a sensation that is often described as inward trembling and increased anxiety. Women can feel frustrated and confused when they have symptoms yet a blood test comes back as normal and thyroid issues are dismissed. 

Your ovaries require a good balance of thyroid hormone in order to function properly and dysfunction is related to low ovarian reserve and low AMH levels. 

Thyroid dysfunction is also connected with miscarriage risk as the foetus does not have a thyroid and depends on the mother to produce adequate thyroid hormones to sustain a healthy pregnancy. 

Each person is unique and thyroid problems can be genetic however research has indicated that about 80 per cent of thyroid disease consists of thyroid-specific autoimmune disease Hashimoto’s disease and Grave’s disease and yet it is still not routinely checked.  

When women are feeling unwell for some time, they often turn to the internet for answers. A google search may identify potential thyroid problems and recommend supplementation of iodine, however I must warm you more current research shows that supplementation with iodine can actually be more harmful and trigger further autoimmunity. The advice to avoid cruciferous vegetables is also based on outdated information. 

All autoimmune conditions including Hashimoto’s thyroiditis have nutritional and environmental triggers. Gluten and gluten cross-reactive foods are problematic for most people with Hashimotos and often goes along with an IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Coeliac or NCGS (non coeliac gluten sensitivity) diagnosis. Therefore a personalised approach that looks at dietary changes is advantageous and can even help to manage the condition. 

So if you are exhausted and have any of the symptoms above or are trying for a baby then working with somebody who understands the complexities involved and will support you to work with your doctor and improve your health for fertility in a holistic manner is important.  

Acupuncture and Chinese medicine can support thyroid function, regulate your menstrual cycles  and are a well-regarded complementary therapy to support pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum recovery. 

Amanda Roe is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Acupuncturist. She uses a range of holistic therapies including guidance around food to improve fertility, emotional and mental health and support natural recover from trauma, eating disorders and other mind/body illness. For more information or to book a consultation visit www.roehealth.ie or call/text Amanda on: 087 633 1898.

WCP Staff

WCP Staff Writer

Next Post

Understanding autoimmunity

Tue Jun 6 , 2023
Autoimmune conditions are on the rise worldwide but particularly in developed countries for reasons that are not fully understood. They are complex and there are many triggers that can contribute to their manifestation and progression. At its most basic autoimmune conditions are caused by the immune system mistaking self- tissue […]