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Fertility, Me and My Thyroid

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It wasn't a fertility test that gave me a fright this time -- it was my thyroid!

Julia Childless
: It's day 61 of my cycle. When I first went to see the Reproductive Endocrinologist 42 days ago, I assumed all the scary-sounding fertility tests she'd spewed out would have been done by this point. But since I can't take them until I menstruate, I'm undergoing all kinds of other tests instead.

distraught woman

My health insurance doesn't cover fertility testing, but it does cover amenorrhea. So I have been going to see my gynecologist for that (I'll call her Dr. G). Dr. G ordered a bunch of tests, all of which came back normal -- except for one. Low thyroid levels.

Dr. G had scribbled a note at the bottom -- "Come in again to retest TSH." The letter came in the mail, right before the three-day weekend began, so I had 72 hours to obsess over what this could mean.

I remembered Oprah having had an issue with her thyroid. Why oh why hadn't I paid attention to that episode?! She had talked about its connection with her weight gain, and sure enough, that was what came up over and over again when I looked up low thyroid. But wait a second -- I haven't been GAINING weight. I've been losing it, steadily, for the last six months! That has a lot to do with my change in diet (I stopped my binge eating disorder) but perhaps it had something to do with hypothyroidism? I recognized some of the other symptoms -- depression, nausea, lethargy, moodiness, cold temperatures -- but my hair wasn't falling out, I wasn't constipated -- how could this tiny gland be causing so many problems and I wasn't aware of it?

I should've listened to Oprah last year and requested a thyroid test!!!

This is when I had to take a deep breath and close the computer. No site was going to give me a satisfactory answer. What I needed to do was relax -- after all, stress can also cause low thyroid levels -- and talk to my doctor. Discussing it with my girl friends, I realized just how common a problem this is, and how easily it can be fixed.

I did manage to contact my Reproductive Endocrinologist (Dr. R.E.) via email, and she answered a few questions. No, the low thyroid levels had nothing to do with me being on Clomid or hormones the last few months. No, weight loss was not a common characteristic. Yes, hypothyroidism can lead to infertility problems with implantation and cycles. No, all of this did not mean for certain that I had it.

So now I'm going back for more tests, to make sure. In addition to the TSH tests, Dr. R.E.'s also ordering a slew of others, since it's all covered under amenorrhea. In the meantime, my job is to practice a little patience and stay off the Internet.

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7 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sameer Gupta February 20, 2010, 11:57 AM

Please take care of yourself - and be positive about everything. My brother’s wife has thyroid… they have two kids, a boy and a girl… I learnt that her mom also has the same health issues. This is good news for you, if she can conceive so can you!

It is well know that the major cause of thyroid is lack of iodized salt intake in foods. So, pls check on this and add salt in your/family meals - its a lovely flavor.

Read: ( this page also talks about mental retardation in kids. It also says: “Insufficient iodine is, in fact, considered is the most common — yet also most preventable — cause of brain damage throughout the world, with 1.6 billion people at risk. “

I guess - and its only a guess - that this can be passed genetically - again I am not sure, I am not an expert. I say this and I must inform you that my nephew has mental/concentration issues - he is not perfect, but improving and learning very quickly which I attribute to the way both parents are taking care of him.

So, it could be hard for you as well to conceive and to bring up kids, but its certainly possible.

My good wishes are with you.

Now, I don’t mean to lecture anybody anytime, but generally, we should make sure that we eat a lot of different vegetables and fruits. Too much obsession on protien is what is taking us down. I don’t know what your diet includes but now your doctor will let you know what should be in your meal.

Be obsessed about fruits because that’s what a homosapiens’ dentures are made for. Its simple biology, you see. Ask yourself, were you eating those foods that homosapiens are actually supposed to? Or do you have teeth like a tiger to chew raw/boiled chicken without adding salt? There are millions who spend their day counting protiens and they keep repeating that for years with no real health benefit. The fake benefit is toned muscles you gain with protien and working out. When they stop such high protien intake they again look ugly self. Protien is good but should never be your obsession.

People are choosing such food and lifestyle that can make kids and grand kids suffer. This may be a “common issue”, but this is serious because it involves small kids.

Krista February 20, 2010, 6:53 PM

I have the opposite hyperthyroid and all I had to do was take antithyroid medication and got pregnant the 1st month on them though it took 3 years before a dr finally checked my thyroid. I would only get a 1 day very light period every 70-80 days. I now have 2 healthy children.

Gigohead  February 22, 2010, 8:57 AM

While it may be strange to hear this, but your diagnosis is actually good news. Seems you are gaining traction on what is wrong with why you are not conceiving on your own. The body is such a precise machine, one squeaky wheel and the production is affected. Hopefully there is treatment and it can be addressed on hopefully it will result in a BFP!

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