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Thyroid Abnormalities Signal Immune Issues & Can Affect Fertility

The Center for Human Reproduction's Dr. David H. Barad discusses why normal thyroid function is important for normal ovulation, menstruation and healthy pregnancy, and how CHR physicians address thyroid problems in women attempting pregnancies.

Related Articles: Thyroid Disease and Infertility

When it’s hyperthyroid the TSH level ends up being very low. This is because your body doesn’t have to produce thyroid stimulating hormone because your thyroid is already over acting and producing too much. You also see that on women who were taking thyroid replacement, their TSH levels will be low because they don't have to make thyroid because their taking it by mouth to replace it. The third are area which is very interesting, is the area of the thyroid antibodies. There are different kinds of thyroid antibodies - there are antibodies to thyroid receptors which can actually induce hyperthyroid state - there are antibodies to the protein that carriers thyroid hormone in the blood called thyroid binding globulin - and there are antibodies to the thyroid gland itself called thyroid peroxidase antibodies. It's interesting that women who have thyroid antibodies are also at higher risk of having antibodies to their ovaries and adrenal glands. Because the tests for ovarian antibodies and adrenal antibodies are not as good as those for thyroid antibodies, some people use the antibodies sort of like the canary in the mine. They use it as an indicator that somebody has immunological problems and whenever we see the thyroid antibodies, we have to think “Is their an adrenal or ovarian problem as well”, so we look as that in addition.

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