Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)

Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) is used to check whether there is a problem with thyroid function. The thyroid is the largest endocrine gland in the body and produces thyroid hormones that regulate protein, carbohydrate and fat metabolism. These hormones play an important role in the availability of energy throughout the body. They also affect growth and neuronal development.

The pituitary gland in the brain signals to the thyroid to produce TSH and this in-turn regulates the production of thyroid hormones. When TSH levels are higher than they should be, it can mean that more of this hormone is needed in order to stimulate an underactive thyroid, to produce essential thyroid hormones such as T4 and T3.

An underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism can significantly impact a woman's reproductive health. Hypothyroidism has been linked to menstrual disturbances due to ovulatory dysfunction, miscarriage and obstetrical complications such as preterm birth, low birth weight, placental abruption and impaired fetal brain development. Subclinical or milder hypothyroidism has also been linked with infertility and poor obstetrical outcomes (Michalakis et al., 2012).

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