Thyroid disease & disorders are incredibly common, occurring far more frequently in women than men... at rates up to 10x more likely to get the disease than men. Your thyroid function is incredibly important... as it effects every cell in your body.
One reason for this is because hypothyroidism is most often caused by an autoimmune disorder, which is also more common in women. This is when the body's immune system incorrectly targets and identifies a part of the body as a threat and attacks it in efforts to destroy the "invader." Unfortunately, this often happens with the thyroid gland.
Women are more likely to get these diseases likely because of the differences with our immune responses in order to carry children. We tend to have stronger immune systems than men and new research actually indicates that we may have stronger immune systems because evolutionary we had many children and often at a younger age. Because your immune system gets turned down during pregnancy, if this happened very often and too much women could be left at risk... so our bodies are built to ramp up our immune system thru adulthood. (1)
Now this effect and disorders on the thyroid are shown to be a common influence on fertility. For over 20 years it has been shown that women that are at risk or already have a thyroid disorder are more likely to worsen or develop disease after giving birth.
Those that tested positive for thyroid antibodies also were found to have double the miscarriage rate. Research time and time again has shown this link and the rate of miscarriage in those with autoimmune thyroid disorder may be even higher at 36 % compared to women without thyroid disorders. (2,3)
Thyroid disorders are also related to unexplained infertility, ovulation disorders (such as PCOS), premature ovarian failure and male infertility.
But the good news is that these disorders can be HELPED, and they can be helped often naturally.
Thyroid disorders are very often a "secondary condition," meaning that it is not that there is something wrong with the thyroid itself, but something upstream that is causing stress on it.
We can work to identify what that is, how to remove/resolve it, and how to heal the body and the thyroid.
But you are saying "My doctor told me my thyroid is fine..."
So why are Doctors not identifying this issue and not helping?
Because it is very apparent that even a mild reduction, or "subclinical" reduction in thyroid activity can be a major contributor. Meaning it is not yet showing up on the "typical" test results.
So when you go to your Doctor to get your thyroid tested they will likely just order a TSH level test and that is it... if it is higher then you may have hypothyroidism, if it is lower you may have hyperthyroidism. The problem is that your TSH level is often the last of the thyroid hormones to budge, and it is giving you no sign of your antibody levels. In fact, you could have a thyroid issue for 10 years before your TSH level is "out of range," meaning you had a long time to prevent issues & heal before it got so bad that it showed up on your doctor's ordinary test.
Even further, when we look at test results they are often in a "normal" range or an "abnormal" range.. this being compared to the general public. Unfortunately, the general public is not a very healthy group to comparing your results too, so we can get results back that in the conventional medical model are seen as "normal" however, with further knowledge and understanding we know that they are far from "optimal." And optimal is the range we want to be in for our highest health and fertility.
Additionally, you may be getting other signs from your conventional testing that you need to have a more comprehensive look into your thyroid health. Low DHEA levels & testosterone are more likely to be low with thyroid autoimmunity. Which is critical for proper egg development.
What we want to test:
When I work with clients we are always looking for the complete, comprehensive view into the thyroid.
TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone): your TSH is the standard hormone that is tested in regards to your thyroid health, but as I stated there is SO much more to the picture than just it.
Your TSH is actually not made by your thyroid at all, but is produced by your pituitary gland to tell your thyroid what levels of hormones to make.
Free T3 & Free T4: Your thyroid then makes a small amount of T3, this is what is an "active" hormone. It makes a higher amount of T4 so that the hormone can be transported around the body for use while remaining dormant, T4 then must be converted into T3 in the tissue to be used.
Reverse T3: This is another important form of T3 that is made from T4
Thyroglobulin antibodies & Thyroglobulin stimulating immunoglobulins (TG ab & TSI): These are those important signs of autoimmunity that we discussed. Positive results of either of these would show up in an autoimmune response. These are one of the most overlooked factors affecting fertility & pregnancy
*contact me if you are interested in a comprehensive thyroid panel and review
What we can then do with your results:
- When we find that you have thyroid antibodies, abnormal results or even just subclinical result levels we can then look to identify and resolve factors that are affecting your thyroid health.
- We first start with your diet. Often a poor diet (or diet not right for your body), food sensitivities and inflammatory foods are main contributors that need to be removed.
- Secondly, we look towards external stress and lifestyle, do we need to adjust your physical activity, your environment or the way you are managing stress.
- Then we look at all of the other factors that often play a role in poor thyroid function, such as chronic infections, poor gut health/infections, heavy metals, nutritional deficiencies, or a sluggish liver
Risks and Signs of Thyroid Disorder
- You are pregnant or postpartum
- You have iodine deficiency
- You have a history of autoimmune disorders
- Someone in your family has an autoimmune disorder
- You have had radiation therapy
- You have type 1 diabetes
Signs & Symptoms
- Changes in weight
- poor appetite
- hair loss
- feeling cold
- history of miscarriage
- unexplained infertility
- diminished ovarian reserve
- poor sperm quality/count
- irregular menstrual cycles
- bags under eyes or face swelling
- dry, rough skin
- high cholesterol