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Effects of Thyroid Disease on Menstruation and Reproduction_Final

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>> Hey there, welcome back. Did you know that thyroid dysfunction can affect the menstrual cycle and reproduction? It might be surprising that the thyroid has so many effects on the body, but it's the regulator of all major physiological processes of the body. Think of it as the chief sailor of a boat. He receives executive orders from the captain, but when it comes down to the real work, he's the one telling all of the sailors what to do. Likewise, the thyroid takes the messages it receives and sends orders to all of the organs in the body. The hypothalamus-pituitary-thyroid axis or HPT axis is intimately related to the HPA axis. When one malfunctions, the other can't do its job as effectively. It's important to consider that the first two components, the hypothalamus and the pituitary, are in both systems. So it makes sense that they function as a team. When stress causes the HPA axis to malfunction, the thyroid is affected too. When the stress is relieved, the thyroid will usually go back to its normal function. For your clients what this will look like is that stress, and we're talking all forms of stress from radiation exposure to psychological stress to poor diet, can actually cause subclinical hypothyroidism. And then this gets really complicated because the ensuing symptoms make stress even more difficult to tolerate. This becomes a cycle with the HPA axis going into overdrive due to the stress caused by thyroid malfunction which further stresses the HPA axis. Yikes! The HPT also has a similar effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis. Yup, there is an axis for that too. This axis is known in women as the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Have I lost you yet? Really, it's probably easier to think of it as all one big axis, hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal -thyroid-gonadal axis. Each axis has a feedback system to all of the others, meaning that there's a lot of crosstalk going on. Over time, constant stress and the pressure to continually send out signals can fatigue the pituitary gland. Eventually, it gives up and stops sending out the signals to the thyroid to increase thyroid hormone as well as signals to the ovaries for normal reproductive cycles. Your clients may not realize that thyroid problems can interfere with their ability to have normal menstrual cycles. Again, the hypothalamus and the pituitary are the common links with the adrenals, the thyroid, and the gonads to set the stage for normal reproduction. And the thyroid is a regulator of all the major functions in the body including reproduction. When you do your Health Histories, ask clients about any thyroid problems they currently have or have had in the past. Additionally, we recommend enquiring about their reproductive history including any irregularity in their periods, premenstrual symptoms, difficulties getting pregnant, previous pregnancies, and miscarriages. So how exactly can thyroid dysfunction affect the reproductive system? Let's take a look. The five most common effects of thyroid dysfunction on the reproductive system are irregular periods, infertility, pregnancy complications, miscarriage, and postpartum thyroid dysfunction. Both hypo and hyperthyroidism can cause irregular ovulation and menstruation. This can happen through several possible mechanisms. First, let's talk about irregular periods. Hypothyroidism causes overproduction of prolactin. High prolactin levels decrease gonadotropin-releasing hormone so that FSH and LH production aren't stimulated. What does this mean? When FSH and LH aren't receiving the proper signals, ovulation can become sporadic and the period can become irregular. Frequently, women with hypothyroidism have longer and heavier periods. It's important to understand that good thyroid function and sufficient thyroid hormone are necessary for adequate progesterone production. This means that women who have subclinical or full-blown hypothyroidism may not produce enough progesterone. As a result, people with thyroid syndromes tend to have estrogen dominance which is linked to longer, heavier periods, irregular periods, hair loss, fertility troubles, and PMS. Another effect of hypothyroidism is that it can worsen cases of polycystic ovarian syndrome. This can further exacerbate estrogen dominance and progesterone deficiency and can therefore cause irregular menstruation. A third possibility is the fact hypothyroidism robs the entire body of energy which has an impact on the ovaries. The body can't put effort into reproduction when it feels as though it's struggling to survive. On the other hand, hyperthyroidism can result in lighter, shorter periods that are further apart. It can even progress to amenorrhea which is the absence of a period altogether. Persistent irregular periods may be one of the first signs of thyroid disease. So clients who complain of this should be checked by a healthcare practitioner for an underlying thyroid condition. Dietary and lifestyle interventions are the keys to helping women with a thyroid condition improve their menstrual cycle function. Progesterone cream or suppositories prescribed by a skilled practitioner may also help, but they should only be used once the client has tried dietary and lifestyle options for at least three months. Thyroid disease can affect a woman's ability to get pregnant. As we just discussed, hypothyroidism can interfere with ovulation through its effect on prolactin levels. This significantly decreases the chances of getting pregnant. Even women with subclinical hypothyroidism can run into fertility issues, although, the mechanism for this isn't totally understood. The theory is that because the thyroid isn't functioning optimally, the body's basal temperature, the temperature upon first waking, isn't high enough for an embryo to survive. This is why it's so crucial for clients who are trying to get pregnant to optimize their thyroid function while they should be under the care of a medical practitioner, it's not your role as their Health Coach to diagnose or treat, you can support these clients through targeted lifestyle and dietary interventions. It's also important to remember that the gut is a major site of thyroid hormone conversion, meaning it activates thyroid hormone for use in the body. So helping your clients improve their gut function in conjunction with their care from a doctor can help improve fertility. Thyroid dysfunction can have negative effects on pregnancy. Thyroid disorders are the second most common endocrine issues seen in pregnancy. In most women, it presents as hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is seen in about 0.5% of pregnancies, subclinical hypothyroidism appears to occur in 2% to 3%, and hyperthyroidism is present in 0.1% to 0.4%. If you have a pregnant client with a history of thyroid dysfunction, it's extremely important that a healthcare practitioner monitors her closely. Pay attention for signs in those without a formal diagnosis as well. If during your screening process you notice that a client has signs of hyperthyroidism, you'll want to refer them right away to a healthcare practitioner to ensure they're properly treated. There are a number of complications that can happen in pregnancy due to both hypo and hyperthyroidism. One of the biggest thyroid related risks in pregnancy is when levels of thyroid hormone become extremely elevated. The formal term for this is thyrotoxicosis. While this is usually related to Graves' disease, it can also happen when thyroid hormone replacement is overprescribed. This alarming condition can cause spontaneous abortion, congestive heart failure, thyroid storm, pre-eclampsia, pre-term delivery, low birth weight, and stillbirth. It's important to keep in mind that the same medications used to keep thyroid levels low in the mother can affect the fetus as well. So it's recommended to keep thyroid levels at a slightly high level in order to maintain growth of the fetus. A doctor will help to fine tune this, but it's useful for you to be aware of. It's also important to note that thyroid blocker medications that are used to treat hyperthyroidism have been shown to increase the risk of birth defects. Hypothyroidism is equally dangerous in pregnancy and is associated with pre-eclampsia, fetal loss, low birth weight, and heart and blood vessel malformations. Subclinical hypothyroidism can also be an issue with increased fetal distress, pre-term delivery, poor vision development, neurodevelopmental delay, and autism spectrum disorders. Due to the changes in the immune system that can happen during pregnancy, some women with previously normal thyroid function can develop autoimmune thyroid disease during this time. This may last only during the term of the pregnancy or it can become a more serious long-term thyroid issue. It can be difficult to separate the signs of thyroid dysfunction from the normal symptoms of pregnancy. For example, during pregnancy, it's normal for the metabolism to ramp up to allow the body to support new life. However, signs that are suspicious include tenderness or swelling over the thyroid, intolerance to heat or cold, and thin skin with a yellowish cast, especially around the eyes. If any of your clients notice these signs during pregnancy, refer them immediately to a healthcare practitioner. Dysregulated thyroid hormone levels can increase the rate of miscarriage. Unfortunately, women with high levels of thyroid hormone have been shown to be at an increased risk for miscarriage. Women with low levels, especially early in pregnancy, may also have an increased risk, although this is not as clearly established. As always, your supportive care as a Health Coach will give your clients the best opportunity to keep their thyroid in good condition and lower their risk of pregnancy loss. In the event of a miscarriage, be sure to use your coaching skills to help your client through this difficult time by listening deeply, creating space for them to release their emotions, demonstrating empathy, and giving them the permission to grieve openly and fully. An increasingly common condition these days is postpartum thyroiditis. This condition affects between 4% and 8% of postpartum women. It's an autoimmune reaction that occurs within the first year following delivery or abortion. The shift in hormones and the immune system both during and after pregnancy puts women at risk of developing a thyroid condition. In most women, postpartum thyroiditis occurs one to eight months after pregnancy and resolves within six months. Unfortunately, there are a small percentage of women for whom the damage is permanent. Postpartum thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease, so the cause is a combination of the stress of pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period, all combined with the usual causes of autoimmune disease. These usual causes include psychological stress, poor diet, environmental toxins, electromagnetic frequency exposure, leaky gut, eating too much sugar, infection, and gluten intolerance. Typically, there are three phases of postpartum thyroid malfunction, the hyperthyroid phase which occurs when thyroid hormones are being released because of thyroid destruction, the hypothyroid phase which occurs when thyroid hormone release slows because the thyroid has been damaged, and the resolution phase which occurs roughly around 12 to 18 months postpartum when the thyroid returns to normal function. Approximately 20% of women don't return to normal and remain hypothyroid. For some women, it can start with elevated thyroid hormone levels which then drop down to the hypothyroid level. This is important to note because these women are more likely to develop permanent hypothyroidism. Early symptoms can be confused with typical post pregnancy symptoms. They're similar to the signs of hyperthyroidism we discussed earlier. These signs may be easily missed, and as a result, postpartum thyroiditis may not be diagnosed until it has entered the hypothyroid phase. So what can you do? As a Health Coach, you can help your clients differentiate between what sounds like typical new mom symptoms and what could potentially be more serious thyroid symptoms. For example, most new moms report decreased energy, fatigue, muscle aches, and changes in their hair and nails. But when these are accompanied by troubling symptoms like a high heart rate, tremors, extreme or debilitating fatigue, and even joint pain, it's time to get to a doctor for testing and medical treatment. You can work in conjunction with your client's healthcare practitioner to provide support and help her make dietary and lifestyle modifications. These steps will go a long way toward making her life more bearable during this difficult postpartum complication. To recap, there are five major ways that thyroid disorders can negatively impact the reproductive system. They are irregular periods, infertility, pregnancy complications, miscarriage, and postpartum thyroid dysfunction. Your clients should always seek medical treatment for these conditions. But as their coach, you can help them navigate through these experiences and improve their health and functioning by providing support and suggesting lifestyle and dietary modifications. If you didn't know too much about the effects of thyroid disorders on menstruation and reproduction before this lecture, you're probably feeling like a pro by now. We've covered a lot of information. But remember, you don't have to memorize it all. Take notes, review them from time to time, and if it seems to you like a client has something going on that could be of note, take your time to do your research in between sessions. It's not your job to diagnose, so you don't need to know all the answers in session. Your support, referrals, and recommendations will greatly help your clients. Have you ever had experience with a thyroid condition or know someone who has? This is a great opportunity to share your experiences and support one another. So let's take this discussion over to the Facebook group and talk about your observations. See you there.

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Duration: 15 minutes and 5 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 5
Posted by: ninaz on Mar 31, 2018

Effects of Thyroid Disease on Menstruation and Reproduction_Final

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