The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism and other bodily functions and health experts believe that deficient thyroid hormones or a dysregulated thyroid can cause several different problems when it comes to male fertility. High levels of thyroid hormones can interfere with the production of gonadotropin hormones, which then affects testis function and sperm quality while abnormalities in sperm quality may also be linked to low levels of thyroid hormone, as well as an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Dr Sandeep Reddy, Senior Endocrinologist at Kamineni Hospitals in Hyderabad, explained, “The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate metabolism and other bodily functions. Deficient thyroid hormones or a dysregulated thyroid can cause several different problems when it comes to male fertility. High levels of thyroid hormones can interfere with the production of gonadotropin hormones, which then affects testis function and sperm quality. Abnormalities in sperm quality may also be linked to low levels of thyroid hormone, as well as an overactive or underactive thyroid gland.”
Pointing out that reduced sperm density, semen volume and sperm count have all been reported in men with hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, he said, “A marked reduction in semen volume is one of the most important parameters that can impact male fertility. Thyroid hormones play a role in spermatogenesis, and this could be a mechanism for reduced fertility seen with thyroid disorders. Lower testosterone and sperm production has been reported in hypothyroid men. It is important to assess thyroid function when evaluating male infertility. Treatment with medication is available for men with thyroid dysfunction and can improve fertility outcomes by restoring normal hormone levels and improving sperm parameters.”
Dr Sandeep Reddy cautioned, “An underactive thyroid is associated with lower levels of hormone production, including sex hormones. Hashimoto’s thyroiditis can cause erectile dysfunction, poor testicular function, and poor semen quality. Hyperthyroidism can lead to high levels of hormones and cause dysfunction in the reproductive system. This leads to issues such as low sperm count and poor semen quality, which can reduce fertility outcomes. In some cases, it may be necessary for men with thyroid disorders to receive additional medical treatment in order to address issues such as erectile dysfunction or low sperm count in order to improve their overall fertility outcomes. Ultimately, proper management of the underlying condition is essential for optimizing male fertility potential.”
He advised, “To restore male fertility potential, it is important to keep thyroid function within normal limits and maintain proper balance of reproductive hormones in order to facilitate healthy sperm development and production. With appropriate management of the underlying condition, men may be able to improve their fertility outlook and increase their chances of conceiving a child with their partner.”
According to Dr Anindita Singh, Fertility Consultant at Nova IVF Fertility in Kolkata’s Uttam Kumar Sarani, “Thyroid hormones either in excess or deficiency affect testis function, including sperm abnormalities, and have a variety of effects on the testis. An excess of thyroid hormone is often related to decreased sperm volume and density, morphology, and motility. Low sperm count, poor sperm quality, diminished testicular functioning, and erectile dysfunction may all be caused by underactive thyroid hormones. This is especially essential for males and impaired thyroid function can have severe consequences for fertility.”
Revealing how infertility can be impacted by both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, she shared:
- Hypothyroidism – Hypothyroidism is a disorder in which the thyroid gland’s function is underactive. Men with hypothyroidism frequently exhibit signs of a slowed metabolic rate, such as fatigue and weight gain. Hypothyroidism in males can result in a range of reproductive concerns, including decreased sperm volume and motility (motion), sperm defects, decreased libido, difficulties maintaining an erection, and decreased male fertility hormones like testosterone.
- Hyperthyroidism – Hyperthyroidism is another disorder of the thyroid that is characterized by an overactive thyroid gland. Common symptoms include weight loss, sweating, and heart palpitations. The cause of high thyroid hormone levels in hyperthyroidism must be examined. Thyroid tumours and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis are two possible causes that should be suspected. Hyperthyroidism is often treated with thyroid ablation therapy.
Dr Anindita Singh suggested some measures to cope up with male fertility issues. These include:
1. Proper Diet – In other words, eat less meat and eat more vegetables, although it is challenging to pinpoint the precise effects of total dietary consumption, sperm motility appears to be enhanced by a diet rich in lean meats, vegetables, legumes, and grains.
2. Sustain a healthy weight – The relationship between being overweight and male infertility is fairly strong.
3. Physical activity – Regular exercise will help to maintain sperm quality and also reduces tension
She concluded, “Although both hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can impair normal sperm production, thyroid issues are an uncommon cause of male infertility. Thyroid investigations in male fertility patients should be performed only if there are suspicious symptoms present, such as recent, considerable weight gain or loss, unusual fluctuations in energy levels, and sweating or palpitations. Male fertility is also impacted by thyroid conditions; men with an underactive thyroid may have low libido and sperm counts. Additionally, a male experiencing unexplained infertility should get his thyroid examined to determine where he stands and get any doubt pertaining to this condition eliminated.”