Approximately 200 million people worldwide have some form of thyroid disease, and it is more common in women. Most parts of thyroid disorders are treatable. However, untreated thyroid disease can have a severe impact on the health.
The thyroid gland itself is a small butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the neck, weighing only about 20 grams. However, the hormones it secretes are essential to all growth and metabolism. Hormones involved with thyroid function include Thyroid Releasing Hormone (TRH) released from the hypothalamus in the brain, which stimulates the pituitary gland at the base of the brain to release Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) which in turn stimulates the thyroid gland to produce Thyroxine (T4) &Triiodothyronine (T3).
The main common kinds of thyroid disease are hypothyroidism (thyroid under activity) and hyperthyroidism (thyroid overactivity).Signs and symptoms of hypothyroid and hyperthyroid conditions include:
Hypothyroidism: Weak slow heartbeat, muscular weakness and constant fatigue; sensitivity to cold; thick puffy skin and/or dry skin; slowed mental processes and poor memory; constipation; goitre (increased size of the thyroid);
Hyperthyroidism: Rapid forceful heartbeat; tremor; muscular weakness; weight loss in spite of increased appetite; restlessness, anxiety and sleeplessness; profuse sweating and heat intolerance; diarrhea; eye changes; goitre (increased size of the thyroid).
A healthy thyroid function is necessary to conceive and to maintain a pregnancy. An under/over functioning thyroid can prevent women from achieving the much-desired pregnancy. Additional, untreated or poorly treated thyroid dysfunction may cause serious complications in pregnancy, in both the mother and the baby. In the baby, it could have a negative impact on the baby′s growth and mental development.
Therefore, the evaluation of the thyroid function through blood tests is a vital part of the infertility workup.
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