Marie found out that thyroid health is a key player in fertility!! (This in her blog entry, and she graciously allowed it to be here.)
‘Roid Rage: Thyroid is a Key Player in Fertility
Are your hands cold all the time? Do you have a low body temperature (just take it right now, is it is lower than 98 F?) Hair falling out? Dry skin?
I used to show up for my yearly physical, and the nurse would always look at the thermometer and go, “Hm….96…did you just drink something cold?” When I’d say no, they’d shrug and say, “Well, maybe because it’s cold outside.”
Of course, when I started having my miscarriages, I started doing some research which suggested that it was possible, given my below-normal body temps, that my thyroid was involved, and when the ol’ thyroid’s off, all the other hormones get a little wacky as well. What a surprise (not!) to badger them into testing me and for the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)) results to come back and a whopping 9-point something (normal lab range is about 4, for someone trying to conceive, more like 2 or 1). My hands and feet have been cold practically all my life–who knows how long my dumb thyroid had been out of whack.
Even with my numbers clearly out of range, my primary care physician, my OB, and the endocrinologist I’d been referred to all hemmed and hawed about actually treating me. I procured copies of their correspondence, and while they all call me some version of a “delightful young lady,” they all pondered whether, it’s “worthwhile” to treat–to replenish my body with something in which it’s deficient. My husband, on the other hand, went into our primary care guy complaining about something or other (sleep problems?) and he walked away with a script for Zoloft with the admonition to return for Viagra if the Zoloft causes “erectile” problems, and, similarly, for sleeping meds if the Zoloft causes more sleep problems–and, of course, to come back in for MORE ZOLOFT if he becomes more depressed when he can no longer sleep or do the you-know-what.
So why was I put off like I was some kind of Munchausen Syndrome harpie? I wasn’t asking for Demerol…only thyroid hormones!
So the endo, sort of bored by my droning voice, put me on Synthroid (synthetic thyroid hormone–get it?), which in short order gave me heart palpitations, but did (coincidentally?) allow me to conceive and carry my son to term. Of course, I spent much of my time wacked-out and feeling hyper and strange on the Synthroid–so much so that I couldn’t sleep when my son was born and thus my milk didn’t come in.
It wasn’t until I had a casual conversation with one of my son’s excellent doctors who suggested something called Armour, a natural hormone made from porcine thyroid. The doc suggested that a naturally based thryoid hormone product has all sorts of thyroidy things we might not even know about, while Synthroid is is just a single hormone, levothyroxine, also known as T4). The funky smelling Armour pills plus my yoga and some major acupuncture action finally got me feeling better: warm hands, warm heart, no more of my husband screaming when I climb in bed with him at night. But talk about having ‘Roid Rage.
Unofficial estimates suggest that up to 20% of women might have thyroid problems. Physicians vary WIDELY on how they treat. My friend who’s an astute doc says she puts people on the hormones even if their clinical labs don’t show anything, just to see. On the other end of the scale is my doctor who could hardly be prodded to write me a script, and then, he just put me on the most “popular” hormone–I had no idea there were others.
Educate yourself. Mary Shomon’s Thryoid site (and she wrote a book and several guides) at About.com rocks: http://thyroid.about.com/blthyroid.htm (And now Marie knows about here, too, and asks us to keep up the good work! We will, Marie!)
P.S. Dr. Beer and some other fertility docs feel that a TSH of 1 is just about right. And other people I respect also seem to think the clinical “normal” level of 4 is too high. Go by how you feel. You know you the best.