Thyroid & fertility: Acupuncture for Hashimoto's disease
Thyroid hormones play vital roles for fertility. Which is why at taproot, all our fertility patients are asked to get a thyroid panel before starting fertility treatments.
Surveys have shown that the prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity is 6% to 20% among reproductive-aged women.
In this article, we will shed some light on the role of the thyroid for fertility, and talk about how acupuncture & Chinese herbs can help you balance your thyroid hormones for improved fertility.
The role of the thyroid for fertility
Your thyroid gland is the butterfly-shaped organ in the front of your neck that produces hormones that regulate your body's metabolism and affect vital functions. When it is too active, we call it hyperthyroidism, when it is not active enough, it is called hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can each negatively impact fertility—both the ability to become pregnant and the ability to carry a fetus to term. The presence of autoimmune antibodies, with or without hyper or hypothyroidism, can also impact fertility.
Most cases of Hashimoto thyroiditis are considered to be the early stage of hypothyroidism.
Too little thyroid hormone can impact fertility in the following ways:
Disruption of the menstrual cycle, making it harder to conceive.
Interference with the release of an egg from the ovaries (ovulation)
Increased risk of miscarriage
Increased risk of premature birth
Hypothyroidism is more common among women and can often be detected with a simple blood test of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).
Still, many women remain undiagnosed, especially women with ill-defined, subclinical hypothyroidism. Common symptoms of hypothyroidism include:
Frequent & heavy menstrual cycles
Fatigue, muscle soreness
Dry skin & hair, hair loss
Weight gain, edema
Intolerance to cold
Goiter (swollen neck)
Lifestyle for a healthy thyroid
Autoimmune diet protocol
There are a few different diets that are anti-inflammatory & useful for autoimmune conditions. You can choose one that works best for you. Avoiding artificial additives and processed food is one of the most important thing.
can also play a role in keeping your thyroid healthy. Some recent studies show promising results that vitamin D may also help to lower thyroid antibodies. Vitamin D is easy to find in supplement form (if you aren’t getting enough from the sun).
is another important nutrient for thyroid health. Supplementing with selenium can be a bit trickier, and Christofides recommends getting the nutrient from your diet. Macadamia nuts are an excellent source.
Acupuncture for your Thyroid
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), acupuncture can be used to treat thyroid diseases.
Acupuncture can reduce symptoms and improve relevant biomarkers of thyroid disease patients.[link]
Acupuncture can regulate the indexes related to immune function and correct the immune dysfunction to some extent, which is possibly the action mechanism of acupuncture-moxibustion in treating HT.[link]
Electroacupuncture (EA) intervention can regulate the thyroid hormone.[link]
Acupuncture from Renying (ST9) to Shuitu (ST10) can regulate neuro-immune-endocrine system to return thyroid hormone levels to normal and reduce the titer of antithyroid antibody.[link]
The conception (Ren) meridian
The thyroid gland is closely related to the Ren meridian because it is located in the anterior neck, on the center line of the body.
Ren is often translated as conception meridian or conception vessel. One can see the link with fertility right away.
Acupuncture the points on Ren meridian can regulate the qi to treat thyroid diseases and improve fertility.
Several studies also suggest that thyroid disorders, especially hypothyroidism, are closely related to a deficiency in kidney energy.
One study from Shanghai Medical University found improvements among hypothyroid patients treated for one year with herbal medicine & acupuncture which stimulated the kidney meridians.
Though TCM is an effective way to treat thyroid disorders, you have to remember that there are specific herbal formulas or pressure points you need to use or stimulate to rebalance the abnormal level of thyroxine in your body. It is best to get herbal medicine and acupuncture from a trusted provider in the Pasadena area.
No matter where you are in your
women's health, fertility, pregnancy & mothering journey,
if you need support, we can help.
In addition to our own team of fertility & women's health acupuncturists, we are well-connected within the Los Angeles- Pasadena area community to help you find the right integrative and holistic care for you.
On our website, you can learn more about our services, and book an appointment.
If you have more questions please call our front desk, at 626-841-2991, or email us.