The Link Between Hashimoto’s and Fertility

Today’s topic is “The Link Between Hashimoto’s and Fertility.” In this video, Martin Rutherford discusses how Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis can affect fertility. He highlights the connection between polycystic ovarian syndrome and Hashimoto’s, as well as the impact of hypothyroidism on the ability to conceive and carry a pregnancy to term. It is important to note that this video is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified health provider for personalized guidance on medical conditions.

The Link Between Hashimoto’s and Fertility

Introduction to Hashimoto’s and Fertility

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is a condition that affects the thyroid gland, leading to an underactive thyroid. It is a common autoimmune disorder that primarily affects women. One important aspect of Hashimoto’s that many people may not be aware of is its impact on fertility. Research has shown a significant connection between Hashimoto’s and fertility issues, particularly in relation to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), estrogen metabolism, progesterone levels, and the function of the pituitary gland. Understanding this link is crucial for individuals struggling with infertility who may also have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.

Understanding Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland, causing inflammation and damage. This inflammation leads to a decrease in thyroid hormone production, resulting in hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid, slows down various bodily functions, including metabolism, energy production, and reproductive system function. As a result, Hashimoto’s can affect fertility in several ways.

The Link Between Hashimotos and Fertility

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and Hashimoto’s

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder among women of reproductive age. PCOS is characterized by enlarged ovaries with small cysts and hormone imbalances. Research has found a significant overlap between Hashimoto’s and PCOS, suggesting a strong connection between the two conditions. Some studies have shown that young girls with Hashimoto’s may develop cysts, and treatment with medication can resolve these cysts. PCOS is a leading cause of infertility, and the connection between Hashimoto’s and PCOS may help explain the higher rates of infertility in individuals with Hashimoto’s.

The Effect of Hashimoto’s on Estrogen Metabolism

Estrogen is a crucial hormone for female reproductive system function. It plays a role in the development and maturation of eggs, the thickening of the uterine lining, and the regulation of the menstrual cycle. Hashimoto’s can disrupt estrogen metabolism, leading to imbalances in estrogen levels. This can result in irregular menstrual cycles, difficulty ovulating, and decreased fertility. Additionally, as thyroid function improves with treatment, estrogen production may increase, leading to symptoms of estrogen excess such as heavy periods.

The Link Between Hashimotos and Fertility

The Relationship between Progesterone and Thyroid Hormone

Progesterone is another essential hormone for fertility and pregnancy. It prepares the uterus for implantation and supports the early stages of pregnancy. Thyroid hormone plays a role in sensitizing the receptor sites on cells so that progesterone can enter and perform its functions effectively. In individuals with hypothyroidism, including those with Hashimoto’s, inadequate thyroid hormone production or conversion may impact the sensitivity of receptor sites to progesterone. This can lead to difficulties in maintaining pregnancy, resulting in an increased risk of miscarriage.

The Impact of Hashimoto’s on Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland, located at the base of the brain, plays a vital role in regulating hormone production throughout the body. It communicates with the thyroid gland and instructs it to produce thyroid hormone. Inflammation associated with Hashimoto’s can affect the pituitary gland, causing dysfunction and abnormal hormone production. One hormone that may be affected is prolactin, which is responsible for milk production in breastfeeding women. Elevated prolactin levels can interfere with the normal hormonal balance required for fertility, potentially leading to difficulties in conceiving.

The Link Between Hashimotos and Fertility

Thyroid Hormone and Prolactin Levels

As mentioned earlier, thyroid hormone levels can impact prolactin levels. When there is a decrease in thyroid hormone production, the pituitary gland may begin producing excess prolactin. Elevated prolactin levels signal to the body that breastfeeding is occurring, leading to a suppression of other reproductive functions. This can disrupt the menstrual cycle, prevent ovulation, and impair fertility.

The Influence of Birth Control Pills on Fertility

Birth control pills, commonly used for contraception, can also impact fertility in individuals with Hashimoto’s. Birth control pills contain estrogen, which can build up in the body if not properly metabolized and cleared out. This can lead to imbalances in hormones, including thyroid hormones. Estrogen excess can interfere with the proper functioning of thyroid hormone-binding globulin, a protein that transports thyroid hormone throughout the body. When there is an excessive amount of estrogen-bound proteins, there may be a reduced availability of thyroid hormone, impacting overall thyroid function and fertility.

The Role of Thyroid Hormone Binding Globulin

Thyroid hormone-binding globulin is a protein that helps transport thyroid hormone to various tissues and organs in the body. Hashimoto’s can disrupt the proper functioning of thyroid hormone-binding globulin, leading to imbalances in thyroid hormone availability. This can result in decreased thyroid hormone action, which further contributes to the overall slowing down of bodily functions associated with hypothyroidism. Disruptions in thyroid hormone-binding globulin can also impact reproductive system function, leading to fertility issues.

Managing Hormones and Thyroid Function for Fertility

For individuals with Hashimoto’s who are struggling with fertility issues, managing hormones and optimizing thyroid function is essential. This may involve working closely with healthcare professionals, including physicians and endocrinologists, to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Treatment for Hashimoto’s typically involves thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which helps normalize thyroid hormone levels. Achieving optimal thyroid function may help restore fertility by regulating hormone imbalances. Additionally, addressing lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress management, and sleep can also contribute to overall hormonal balance and support fertility.


Understanding the link between Hashimoto’s and fertility is crucial for individuals struggling with infertility. Hashimoto’s impacts fertility through its connections to conditions such as PCOS, estrogen metabolism, progesterone levels, pituitary gland function, and thyroid hormone-binding globulin. By addressing and managing these factors, individuals with Hashimoto’s can improve their chances of achieving successful pregnancies. It is important for individuals to seek professional medical advice and work closely with healthcare providers to develop a personalized treatment plan.

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