The thyroid is the butterfly shaped gland at the base of the throat. It is a part of the endocrine system and manages the anabolic and metabolic processes of the human body. When it is in healthy condition, it contributes to smoothly running hormonal processes, resulting in the promotion of overall health. However, when something has gone awry, it affects other processes in the body. The two most well-known thyroid conditions are hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.
Thyroid conditions can affect the menstrual cycle. Women who have hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone, can have periods that are heavier and more frequent. Hyperthyroidism is associated with periods that are lighter and less frequent. Regardless of the kind of thyroid conditions a woman has, she has a higher risk of developing PCOS, which is a painful ovarian condition often associated with infertility.
Thyroid issues can cause anovulatory menstrual cycles- a condition where the egg is not released during the menstruation cycle. If a woman does conceive with an untreated condition, she is more likely to miscarry during her first trimester of pregnancy. Finally, if a woman with a thyroid condition seeks assistance from a fertility specialist, her likeliness of having conception success is lower than if her thyroid issue were treated.
During pregnancy, it is important that the thyroid is treated to function optimally. Especially during the first trimester, it is vital the thyroid is healthy because the body requires its hormone production to increase dramatically for the development of the fetus to be supported. After the baby is born, if the thyroid isn’t treated, the mom is more likely to suffer from postpartum depression.
How do I know if I have a thyroid condition?
Common symptoms of hypothyroidism, a condition where the thyroid doesn’t produce enough T3 and T4, include difficulty losing weight, hair loss, low heart rate, temperature sensitivity and constipation.
Women who have hyperthyroidism, a condition where the thyroid produces too much T3 and T4, exhibit symptoms such as enlarged eyes, difficulty gaining weight, anxiety, having a hard time sleeping, brittle nails and mood swings.
If you suspect that you may have a thyroid condition, you can go to your primary physician to have your T3 and T4 levels tested. If your levels show as abnormal, they may then refer you to an endocrine system specialist known as an endocrinologist. Endocrinologists commonly work with patients who have diabetes and thyroid conditions.
What can I do to promote a healthy thyroid?
If you have a thyroid condition, follow your endocrinologist’s advice. From the nutritional perspective, they may suggest that you avoid eating cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, radishes, which inhibit the function of the thyroid. Soy foods should also be avoided because they inhibit the thyroid gland from producing hormones.
Foods that promote thyroid health include selenium-rich brazil nuts, foods that are rich in iron, iodine, potassium, vitamin k and magnesium. Additionally, lifestyle changes like getting enough sleep, moving through exercise and having enough relaxation during the day promotes healthy thyroid function.
If you feel that your thyroid has had a negative impact on your reproductive health, schedule an appointment with us today by calling South Bay Ob/Gyn at 631-203-8893.