According to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12 percent of Americans will develop a thyroid condition at some point in their life. One such condition is known as hyperthyroidism, and it could potentially impact your fertility and your ability to carry a pregnancy all the way to term.
Dr. Sonja Kristiansen has treated many women who’ve experienced fertility concerns as a result of hyperthyroidism. The team at our Houston, TX fertility center would like to go over the basics of hyperthyroidism, with a focus on how the condition can impact a woman’s fertility.
Hyperthyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland (located in the neck) produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. This can lead to major changes in your metabolism, affecting your heart rate, body mass, and other aspects of health and wellness.
This is different from hypothyroidism, in which the thyroid is not as active and does not produce enough hormones for crucial functions of the body.
Common Signs and Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism
Some of the most common signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:
- Swelling at the base of the neck
- Rapid heartbeat
- Prominent or protruding eyes
- Brittle hair
- Hair thinning/hair loss
- Weakness in the muscles
- Excessive sweating
- Pronounced weight loss
- Mood swings
- Trouble sleeping or staying asleep
Since hyperthyroidism is associated with Graves' disease, autoimmune disorders, and other serious medical conditions, it’s important to speak with a doctor as soon as you notice any of the above signs and symptoms.
Hyperthyroidism and Its Impact on Fertility
As we stress to all patients at Houston Fertility Center, any changes in hormone levels can result in changes to a person’s fertility. Women who experience hyperthyroidism may experience fewer menstrual cycles or lighter menstrual cycles. This can throw off timing when trying to conceive. An altered cycle could also mean that parts of the normal cycle are being disrupted, such as ovulation.
Hyperthyroidism and the Risk of Pregnancy Loss
Even more important than infertility, women with hyperthyroidism who do conceive must be wary of pregnancy loss. Pregnant women with hyperthyroidism are more likely to have a miscarriage during the first trimester. Getting the condition treated prior to pregnancy is essential for the health of the mother and the baby.
Treatments for Hyperthyroidism
When it comes to treating hyperthyroidism, there are a few options worth considering.
One of the most common treatments for hyperthyroidism involves the use of radioactive iodine. The injection of iodine into the thyroid helps shrink the gland down. This reduction in size also slows hormone production release.
Anti-thyroid drugs such as methimazole (Tapazole) and propylithiouracil may also be considered. These drugs will help regulate the thyroid gland and limit the production of hormones. The use of anti-thyroid medications is months long, sometimes lasting a year or more.
Thyroid Removal Surgery (Thyroidectomy)
If no other treatments are viable, a doctor may recommend the removal of the overactive thyroid. Patients will need continued medical treatment and medication use to address the loss of thyroid hormones.
Contact Dr. Sonja Kristiansen
For more information about hyperthyroidism and its effects on your wellness, be sure to contact a skilled fertility specialist. The team at Houston Fertility Center can be reached by phone at (713) 862-6181. We look forward to hearing from you and offering our insight and expertise.