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Monday, 24 February 2014

Prolactin and Thyroid Hormones

In my last several posts, I have been relating the various causes of subfertility in the female and with this I am coming to the end of the common causes. In this post, I am going to talk about abnormal Prolactin and Thyroid hormone levels causing subfertility. 

Prolactin is a hormone with a number of functions, the most important is the growth of milk glands in the breast and milk production after giving birth. Prolactin excess can lead to menstrual irregularities, secretion of milk (not associated with childbirth) or just infertility even in the absence of any symptoms. Pregnancy, breastfeeding and even the stress of blood test can increase Prolactin levels. Women with Polycystic ovary disease often have raised levels. Other causes are medications, tumours in pituitary, some brain diseases, chest wall injuries and decreased thyroid gland function. The good news is that most of the time the levels are only raised mildly and these can be easily reversed using medicines. In case of high levels of course, further tests and treatment may be required.

An overactive and underactive thyroid gland can also interfere with fertility and as such levels of TSH are usually checked in women trying to conceive. Underactive thyroid is quite common and often undiagnosed. It is extremely essential to achieve and manage  normal levels of thyroid hormones not just when trying to conceive but also during pregnancy with the help of an endocrine doctor in conjunction with your fertility doctor/gynaecologist. This is because thyroid hormone requirements increase during pregnancy and the unborn baby can be affected in case these requirements are not met.

Suggestions/Comments/Questions are welcome. 

Unexplained infertility in the next post.....

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