Between 10 and 15 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage among women who know they are pregnant and although the pain they endure is crystal clear, the cause of the miscarriage is not always known.
But experts warn that Western medicine is missing something: That the thyroid dysfunction, which is missed in 70% of the women, is one of the most common causes of miscarriage, said Dr. Prudence Hall, founder of The Hall Center in Santa Monica, California..
More about this…
“I have a disease that makes my thyroid go haywire’
In 4 steps you can take to avoid thyroid problems
Is a thyroid condition causing your hair loss?
Although all types of thyroid dysfunction may be to blame, hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid, is the most common and can be up to 3 percent of the pregnant women, studies show.
“We do not know exactly how many women go on to have a miscarriage as a result of low thyroid, but it is significant,” Hall said.
Auto-immune disease of the thyroid gland, which is the most common autoimmune disorder in women of childbearing age and affects between 5 and 15 percent of women, according to a study in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, may also be a cause of miscarriage.
Not only that, but “most of the thyroid dysfunction is auto-immune in nature,” said Dr. Amy Myers, author of “The Autoimmune Solution,” and “The Thyroid Connection.”
Thyroid antibodies, which develop when the immune system targets the thyroid-specific proteins, have shown to increase the risk for miscarriage and stillbirth as premature birth and low birth weight, Myers said.
Plus, women with mild hypothyroidism and thyroid auto-immunity are at increased risk of miscarriage, according to a study in the journal of the Thyroid.
What’s more, women with hypothyroidism who took thyroid hormone replacement therapy and who had thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels of 2.5 mU/L in early pregnancy had an increased risk of miscarriage, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.
A powerhouse gland
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the front of the neck that secretes thyroid hormones that circulate in the blood and affect almost every cell in the body. The thyroid gland is the command center of the body, regulating the metabolism and ensure that your organs run efficiently.
The thyroid gland is also important for the reproductive function, and can affect the production of eggs and the development of the fetus. It also helps the baby’s brain to develop and is responsible for the formation of the baby’s own thyroid gland.
Like the other hormones in the body, thyroid hormones do not work in isolation, so if the thyroid hormones are not in balance, the other hormones that are required for a healthy pregnancy will be too.
“All of our hormones work together,” Myers said.
A missed opportunity
If the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid dysfunction may be possible to prevent more miscarriages, it seems beneficial for more doctors to their patients before they become pregnant.
The problem, however, lies in how a diagnosis is in the first place.
“The thyroid is a very subtle diagnosis— it is not black and white,” Hall said.
For starters, between 40 and 50 percent of women who have been screened with only a blood test will not be adopted. Many doctors only test TSH, if it is necessary to also test the other thyroid hormones: free T3, free T4, and reverse T3 and the thyroid antibodies, thyroid peroxidase and thyroglobulin, Myers said.
Although there are reference ranges, the experts agree that what is considered normal, is not optimal.
Doctors should also ask women about their symptoms, which are just as important as the blood tests.
“The symptoms, in my opinion, should always outweigh the lab tests,” Myers said.
Women should also have their reflexes tested, because reflexes are very slow when the thyroid is underactive.
Hall recommends that every woman between the 5 and 10 milligrams of iodine before and during pregnancy. Not only is a deficiency of iodine is a cause of thyroid dysfunction, but it helps the thyroid to work better and studies show it can also increase the baby’s brain development and IQ.
Thyroid dysfunction can also be familial, as a result of heavy metal toxicity, an infection, leaky gut syndrome or gluten sensitivity.
Although the diagnosis of thyroid dysfunction may be the missing link when it comes to the prevention of a miscarriage, and treatment with medication is an option, finding the cause may reverse.
“This is certainly a piece of the puzzle, but why is the woman on the thyroid dysfunction in the first place?” Myers said.
Julie Relevant, is a health journalist and a consultant who provides content marketing and copywriting services for the health care. She is also a mother of two. More information about Julie at revelantwriting.com.