Planning for Pregnancy? Get Thyroid Dysfunction Out of Your Way!
The miracle of life brings joy to many expecting parents when they welcome a new child into the world. But for some couples who are trying to conceive, they find that the going may not be as easy as it seems. Amongst the many reasons of delayed pregnancy, thyroid dysfunction could be one of them. Before you panic, the good news is that thyroid dysfunction can be managed and there is nothing to fear if we instil some discipline in managing it.
What is Thyroid?
The thyroid gland is a small gland located in front of the neck, responsible for making thyroid hormones that help regulate metabolism. In general, there are two forms of dysfunction- decreased thyroid hormone production (hypothyroidism) and increased thyroid hormone production (hyperthyroidism). Thyroid dysfunction is very common, affecting up to 10 percent of the population. Within that, hypothyroidism, affects 2-10 percent of individuals, and occurs five to eight times as often in women than men.
The dysfunction of the thyroid can affect a woman's ability to ovulate, thus making it harder to get pregnant. When the thyroid gland either produces too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism), it can interrupt a woman's natural menstrual cycle. This in turn affects her ovulation cycle and can impede her ability to get pregnant.
How to Identify Signs of Thyroid Dysfunction?
Observe for some common symptoms to see if thyroid dysfunction is affecting your pregnancy plans! Symptoms of Hyperthyroidism include body being in a state of over activity, anxiety, increased perspiration, increased heart rate tiredness and weakness in muscles. All of this activity may result in an unintentional weight loss.
On the other hand, symptoms of Hypothyroidism include dry skin, depression, constipation, sensitivity to cold temperatures and unintentional weight gain.
Keeping Thyroid Dysfunction at Bay!
If you are planning for pregnancy, reach out to your clinician for a simple physical exam and a blood test to ensure thyroid levels are in control. In the case of any discrepancy, please mention to your clinician about your plans for pregnancy, so they are able to prescribe suitable medications keeping in mind impending requirements.
Diet and lifestyle management is critical in thyroid Management. Simple changes in your diet can go a long way! For example, cutting down foods high in fat and sugar such as red meat, bakery products, jams and jellies, soft drinks, fried foods. Regular exercise is an important antidote, not just to thyroid, but many aspects of physical and mental health. Exercise not only enables weight-loss but also releases ‘happy hormones’ (Dopamine, Endorphins, Oxytocin, Serotonin) in the body, thus reducing stress and helping you cope with low moods and depression. An under-active thyroid may respond well to yoga.
You can also benefit from taking flaxseed oil, zinc and multi-vitamins to balance thyroid levels. Iodine is crucial for production of thyroid hormones in case of hypothyroidism. Iodized salt is a good source of iodine and an average recommended daily level of iodine to meet the nutrient requirement is 150 mcg, and recommended intake for pregnant women is 220 mcg iodine per day which can come from approximately ¼ tsp of iodised salt and other natural sources include eggs, cow’s milk, cheese, yogurt. Certain food that has goitrogens which can interfere with the uptake of iodine in the thyroid can exacerbate iodine deficiency are cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables. But also remember excessive iodine can also create thyroid problem.
Mantra for all you women bogged down by thyroid dysfunction- Good Diet, Good Exercise, Medication Adherence! NanoHealth helps several women manage their thyroid levels through a combination of Health Coach- who comes to your doorstep and technology to help you monitor your levels continuously.