What is your thyroid?
So you’ve heard about your thyroid but you aren’t exactly sure what it really does. Well, simply put your thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland that sits just below your Adam’s apple. It is responsible for secreting hormones that regulate growth and development through your metabolism. The two hormones secreted from the thyroid are called T4 and T3. T3 is the active form of thyroid hormone and is responsible for majority of the actions on the body.
The health of your thyroid is extremely important when trying to conceive as the thyroid can have an impact on your hormones and stress.
The thyroid impacts ovulation, follicle development and hormone production of estrogen and progesterone. So ensuring your thyroid is functioning optimally is key!
Hypothyroidism, meaning your thyroid is underactive, is most commonly seen in women who are having difficulties conceiving. An autoimmune condition, known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is also important to investigate if you are having troubles conceiving.
What are the common signs of hypothyroid?
So what should you be looking out for? Here are the most common symptoms:
- Early morning fatigue
- Lack of motivation or drive
- Weight gain
- Intolerant to colder temperature
- Dry skin
- Hoarseness of voice
- Brittle nails
- Thinning of the eyebrows
- Brain fog
- Lack of memory
- Low mood
- Low sex drive
What lab tests should you ask your doctor about?
The most common test that doctors run is Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). TSH is released from the pituitary in the brain and sends a signal to the thyroid to secrete thyroid hormones.
Optimal levels of TSH are between 1-2 mU/L for those who are trying to conceive.
A full thyroid panel test to consider would include the following tests:
- Thyroglobulin Antibody (TgAb)
- Thyroid Peroxidase Antibody (TPOAb)
The last two antibodies will detect if there is any autoimmune disease going on with the thyroid. These tests are important to run since all other tests can come back normal but there may be an underlying autoimmune component that is missing.
What is conventional treatment?
Conventional medical of hypothyroidism typically involves prescribing Synthroid, also known as Levothyroxine sodium tablets, USP. Synthroid is known as synthetic thyroid hormone. It is essentially T4 thyroid hormone. However, while giving T4 is essential to help an underactive thyroid it still needs to be converted to T3, which improves your symptoms and maintains pregnancy.
What are some natural treatment options?
Thyroid and stress go hand in hand. The more cortisol (ie. stress) you have the more it prevents T3 from doing its job.
A key mineral known to assist the thyroid in converting T4 to T3 is selenium. A good source of selenium is brazil nuts! Herbal medicine has also been shown to help in the conversion from T4 to T3.
MOST IMPORTANT TAKE HOME MESSAGE:
If you feel as if you might have a thyroid problem that is preventing you from conceiving the first thing you should do is get a full thyroid lab test. If your levels are not optimal consider herbal supplementation to help your body form T3. OR if everything comes back normal and you still have symptoms that relate to hypothyroidism consider supplementing with the help of a Naturopath so that your thyroid is working optimally.
Please Share our blog if you know someone who would benefit from these messages, xo.
Your fertility friends,
Jodie and Samina