I am 28 years old and have just been put on medication for hypothyroidism (50 mg synthroid). I am not overweight and never had any symptoms until I have missed two periods recently. My husband and I have been trying to conceive for a year now. Could my inability to conceive be related to my thyroid problem? My gynecologist says not likely, but my primary care physician says it could be. What do you think?
Yes, thyroid problems can affect fertility. Abnormal thyroid function, whether it’s an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism); or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), can interfere with normal ovulation. Thyroid problems can lead to irregular ovulation (oligoovulation) and erratic periods. For some women, thyroid dysfunction blocks ovulation (anovulation) and stops their periods.
The strongest indicator of normal ovulation is a regular menstrual cycle. That means bleeding that occurs at a predictable interval, lasts a customary length of time and has a consistent amount of flow. Another sign of ovulation is the presence of moliminal symptoms, things like bloating, breast tenderness, mood changes and cramping with menstruation. Women who have predictable periods, with predictable moliminal symptoms, are generally ovulating.
It’s possible that while you have been having monthly bleeding until fairly recently, you might not have been ovulating each month. Do you remember having moliminal symptoms, the subtle signs of ovulation? Or did your periods seem surprisingly easy over the past year? No PMS symptoms, no cramping. If that’s the case, then it’s more likely that yes, your thyroid was affecting your ability to conceive.
The good news is that the thyroid gland usually returns to normal with replacement medication, such as synthroid. Proper thyroid function generally leads to ovulation and a quick return of menstrual cycles — or pregnancy!