Can Thyroid Impact Fertility in Men? What You Need to Know

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Last Updated: January 21, 2023, 08:00 IST

Thyroid Awareness Month is observed during the month of January.

Some research indicate that the effects of thyroid on male fertility have only lately been recognized and are not fully understood

The month of January is celebrated as Thyroid Awareness Month. The thyroid, a butterfly-shaped gland in the neck region, is in charge of producing important hormones for our health and well-being. Thyroid disorders can occur when the thyroid gland produces too less or too many vital hormones. Now, medical professionals think that a thyroid disorder or a lack of thyroid hormone can lead to a variety of issues with male fertility.

Several studies have shown that thyroid dysfunction can impact fertility in men by affecting the production of hormones that regulate sperm production. Hypothyroidism (an underactive thyroid) can lead to decreased levels of testosterone and other hormones that are important for sperm production, which can result in decreased sperm count and/or decreased sperm motility.

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Hyperthyroidism (an overactive thyroid) can also affect fertility by causing an increase in the production of prolactin, a hormone that suppresses sperm production. In both cases, treating the underlying thyroid disorder can improve fertility. As per some studies, the effects of thyroid on male fertility have only recently been recognised and are not fully understood and some effects include:

  1. Low testosterone levels:
    Low testosterone levels in the body can impair sperm development. Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism affect the levels of testosterone in a male body.
  2. Imbalances in blood levels of sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG):
    The sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) is a protein, also known as testosterone-estrogen binding globulin (TeBG) and is made by the liver. It is essential for the movement of testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and estradiol. Men with hypothyroidism may have lower-than-normal SHBG levels, while men with hyperthyroidism may have too-high SHBG levels.
  3. Abnormalities of sperm and semen:
    According to the American Urological Association (AUA), hypothyroidism has been observed to affect semen volume, sperm morphology and sperm motility (the ability of sperm to move). Both sperm quantity and quality have been proven to be impacted by hyperthyroidism. This is significant because sperm motility, quantity and quality have an impact on male fertility.
  4. Reduced libido, erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation are just a few of the sexually dysfunctional effects of thyroid disorders, especially hyperthyroidism, in men. While none of these diseases makes a man infertile, they may make it more challenging for a couple to conceive. As per a report in Hindustan Times, Dr Anindita Singh, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility in Kolkata’s Uttam Kumar Sarani, suggested some tips to cope up with male fertility issues.
  5. Proper Diet:
    Although it can be difficult to determine the precise impacts of a person’s overall dietary intake, a diet high in lean meats, vegetables, legumes and grains has been shown to improve sperm motility.
  6. Sustain a healthy weight:
    According to Dr Singh, male infertility and being overweight have a rather substantial correlation. Maintaining a healthy weight through physical activities can help to regulate hormone levels which can also improve fertility.
  7. Physical activity:
    Physical activity has been shown to have a positive effect on male fertility. Regular exercise can improve sperm count, motility and overall semen quality.

ALSO READ: All You Need to Know About Male Fertility

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