When it comes to your bodily metabolism, your thyroid gland is the key player. However, if you have hypothyroidism, the T3 and T4 hormones that control your metabolism are not sufficiently produced by your thyroid. This can result in various problems, including infertility.
Hypothyroidism can cause your body to produce less sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG). Your total serum testosterone, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone levels may also decrease as a result of hypothyroidism. Continue reading to find out what complications may arise due to hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism Leads To Infertility
Since your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate your sex hormones such as testosterone, anytime there’s a problem with your thyroid, the levels of your sex hormones are also affected.
In men who have had hypothyroidism prior to reaching puberty, their Leydig and Sertoli cells are not stimulated enough to become mature. In terms of reproductive function, the Leydig cells are the ones that are responsible for testosterone production. The Sertoli cells, on the other hand, are responsible for nourishing the developing sperms.
Hence, when you have hypothyroidism, your sperm production will suffer. When you don’t produce enough sperm cells, your sperm count will be low. In addition, hypothyroidism also leads to low sperm volume and poor sperm motility.
When you combine low sperm count, low semen volume, and poor sperm motility, your chances of successfully impregnating your partner are very low. In short, you will become infertile.
Moreover, when the levels of your thyroid hormones are low due to hypothyroidism, it can also lead to decreased libido and erectile dysfunction. This is mainly because hypothyroidism causes your testosterone levels to drop.
Causes Of Hypothyroidism
There are actually three types of hypothyroidism. When you have primary hypothyroidism, it means that your thyroid gland is the main problem. In primary hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland actually receives sufficient stimulation from the pituitary gland. Nevertheless, the thyroid is still unable to sufficiently produce thyroid hormones.
In secondary and tertiary hypothyroidism, the problem lies with the pituitary gland. This gland is supposed to produce hormones to stimulate the thyroid. However, if the pituitary gland isn’t doing its job properly, the thyroid gland will also not be able to do its job of producing thyroid hormones properly.
Primary hypothyroidism is often caused by an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s disease, wherein the immune system is attacking the thyroid gland. Viral thyroiditis is another cause of primary hypothyroidism.
Vital thyroiditis is a condition wherein a virus infection causes your thyroid gland to become inflamed. Congenital disease and insufficient iodine intake can also lead to primary hypothyroidism.
Symptoms Of Hypothyroidism
Depending on the cause and which type of hypothyroidism you develop, your symptoms may vary. The symptoms of hypothyroidism typically develop gradually, so you may not notice it right away.
Lethargy and fatigue are some of the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. You may also develop muscle weakness, especially if your testosterone levels are already low because of hypothyroidism.
One distinctive symptom of hypothyroidism is that you become extremely sensitive to cold. In addition, you may also gain weight since the thyroid hormones are the ones responsible for controlling your metabolism and your thyroid doesn’t produce enough of these hormones.
In some cases, hypothyroidism may also cause your hair and nails to become brittle. You may suffer from constipation, muscles and joint pain, and voice hoarseness. Aside from physical symptoms, hypothyroidism may also cause mood and behavioral changes. For instance, you may develop depression.
Complications That May Arise Due To Hypothyroidism
Infertility isn’t the only complication caused by hypothyroidism. Because your thyroid gland plays a very important role, when your thyroid malfunctions, your overall health also becomes affected.
For instance, hypothyroidism can cause various cardiovascular problems, negatively impacting your cardiovascular health. Having a slow and weakened pulse as well as abnormal heartbeats are common results of hypothyroidism.
In addition, when you have hypothyroidism, your blood may pump less blood per heartbeat. When this happens, your erectile function will also be affected since your penis is dependent on proper blood supply in order for it to become erect.
When you have a severe case of hypothyroidism, it can also negatively affect your kidneys. This is especially true if your kidneys aren’t receiving enough blood supply since your heart is pumping blood in lesser volumes.
The hormones that your thyroid produces actually influence the development and structure of your kidneys. Your kidneys are supposed to process blood and filter out the waste materials in the blood. However, hypothyroidism can impair the filter function of your kidneys.
In truth, hypothyroidism can actually cause various forms of renal damage such as proteinuria, nephrotic syndrome, and microscopic hematuria. Proteinuria is a condition wherein your urine contains abnormally high levels of proteins.
Your kidneys are supposed to filter the proteins so that they get retained by your body. However, when your kidneys aren’t functioning properly due to hypothyroidism, your kidneys may leak proteins from your blood to your urine.
Microscopic hematuria simply means that your blood is getting mixed in your urine. Since the filter functions of your kidneys are impaired, some of your red blood cells pass through the filters of your kidneys and get mixed with your urine. Nephrotic syndrome occurs when you show various symptoms such as low blood albumin levels due to kidney damage.
Aside from negatively affecting your heart and kidneys, hypothyroidism can also damage your nervous system. You may actually suffer from nerve injuries when you have hypothyroidism. This can then result in difficulties when you’re talking or walking. You may even experience breathing difficulties.
Treatment Options For Hypothyroidism
If you notice any symptoms of hypothyroidism, you should go for a medical check-up right away. Various complications can occur when hypothyroidism is left untreated for a long time. There are even instances when untreated hypothyroidism has led to death.
Medications are standard treatments for hypothyroidism. Your doctor will prescribe these medications which act as replacements for the thyroid hormones that you lack. In short, thyroid medications don’t actually fix your thyroid gland.
Unfortunately, you will need to continue taking your thyroid medication for the rest of your life. If you quit taking your medication, you will once again experience the symptoms of hypothyroidism.