When treating male factor infertility, we often treat female fertility also, this makes sense. Research and understandings of female infertility also help us better understand what to investigate when it comes to men. An area of female infertility that is generally overlooked, misunderstood, and treated poorly is issues of the thyroid. Since thyroid health is showing more and more importance in female infertility, it makes sense to start investigating its role in male factor as well. First off, we now know the ranges of TSH on lab reports are not specific enough when it comes to a woman wanting to conceive. Could this hold true for men also? Does TSH need to be ‘more’ specific for optimal sperm production and health?
As clinicians and patients, we should be looking for signs and symptoms of thyroid problems a little closer, and treating until we see them disappear, NOT just relying on TSH numbers. For those who are using synthetic medication to control their thyroid, this is particularly important, as normal TSH numbers often do not show a reduction/elimination of poor thyroid function signs and symptoms. This means your thyroid function is not optimal. For those who are not on thyroid medications and have shown TSH readings that are too high, please, hear my words, do not jump onto synthetic thyroid medications to make things better. Do ALL you can with alternative therapies to see if you can balance your health and lab results first. I say this because, the moment you start the thyroid medications, may be the start of a journey of taking medication for the rest of your life, as the medication can actually stop your thyroid from functioning over time, so you will then NEED the medications to keep TSH function normal, AND it may not even perform the function of making you feel better!
Hyperthyroid (grave’s): sudden weight loss, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, sweating, tremors, goiter, fatigue, difficult sleeping, changes testosterone/estrogen (free) ratio, and reduces forward progressive motility, erectile dysfunction: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1597395
Hypothyroid: fatigue, sluggishness, cold, constipation, pale dry skin, puffy face, weight gain, elevated cholesterol, painful stiff joints, brittle nails & hair, muscle weakness, depression, forgetful. Changes in sperm morphology, erectile dysfunction http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20573783