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Endocr Rev. 2010 Oct;31(5):702-55. doi: 10.1210/er.2009-0041. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

Thyroid function and human reproductive health.

Author information

1
Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism, Panagia General Hospital, N. Plastira 22, N. Krini, 55132 Thessaloniki, Greece. krassas@the.forthnet.gr

Abstract

Via its interaction in several pathways, normal thyroid function is important to maintain normal reproduction. In both genders, changes in SHBG and sex steroids are a consistent feature associated with hyper- and hypothyroidism and were already reported many years ago. Male reproduction is adversely affected by both thyrotoxicosis and hypothyroidism. Erectile abnormalities have been reported. Thyrotoxicosis induces abnormalities in sperm motility, whereas hypothyroidism is associated with abnormalities in sperm morphology; the latter normalize when euthyroidism is reached. In females, thyrotoxicosis and hypothyroidism can cause menstrual disturbances. Thyrotoxicosis is associated mainly with hypomenorrhea and polymenorrhea, whereas hypothyroidism is associated mainly with oligomenorrhea. Thyroid dysfunction has also been linked to reduced fertility. Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation leads to important increases in estradiol, which in turn may have an adverse effect on thyroid hormones and TSH. When autoimmune thyroid disease is present, the impact of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation may become more severe, depending on preexisting thyroid abnormalities. Autoimmune thyroid disease is present in 5-20% of unselected pregnant women. Isolated hypothyroxinemia has been described in approximately 2% of pregnancies, without serum TSH elevation and in the absence of thyroid autoantibodies. Overt hypothyroidism has been associated with increased rates of spontaneous abortion, premature delivery and/or low birth weight, fetal distress in labor, and perhaps gestation-induced hypertension and placental abruption. The links between such obstetrical complications and subclinical hypothyroidism are less evident. Thyrotoxicosis during pregnancy is due to Graves' disease and gestational transient thyrotoxicosis. All antithyroid drugs cross the placenta and may potentially affect fetal thyroid function.

PMID:
20573783
DOI:
10.1210/er.2009-0041
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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