WOMEN'S HEALTH BLOG SERIES: Thyroid Health & Fertility
This blog post is perfectly appropriate because January is National THYROID Awareness Month!
Often overlooked, this tiny gland that sits at the base of the neck helps with cellular metabolism and division, SO MANY OTHER SYSTEMS rely on thyroid hormones for proper function.
Thyroid disorders are extremely common in the states- It is estimated that 30 million Americans suffer from thyroid disorders, and 1 in 8 women in the U.S. will develop hypothyroidism at some point in her life... And our thyroid health is HUGE when it comes to fertility and pregnancy.
Low thyroid function can itself be a cause of infertility, as it can lower overall basal body temperatures, delay ovulation, and cause irregular cycles and bleeding patterns.
During pregnancy, there is also a 30-40% increased need for thyroid hormones, and many women may need to increase their thyroid medication.
If untreated, hypothyroidism can cause higher rates of miscarriage, premature delivery, gestational diabetes, and low birth weight.
Thyroid disorders can be complex, and can occur from several different factors, such as nutrient deficiencies (such as zinc, iodine, selenium, iron, B vitamins), exposure to certain toxins or heavy metals, leaky gut syndrome, autoimmune disorders, immune infections, and long term use of hormonal birth control. So restoring normal thyroid function can involve several different treatments.
In Chinese Medicine, hypothyroidism is often seen as a form of YANG DEFICIENCY and other symptoms can include cold hands and feet/cold intolerance, weight gain, low energy, poor memory and concentration, depression/anxiety, hair loss, and constipation.
Dietary changes, supplementation, acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine are just some of the therapies we use to restore proper thyroid function.
For many women, thyroid health can be the missing link when treating infertility and menstrual issues.
Mallory recommends getting your thyroid levels checked by your OBGYN or PCP before starting your fertility journey, and getting regular acupuncture to support thyroid health and function during conception.