Holy Hormones – How the thyroid affects your sex drive and fertility
Stress affects all of us. It has many impacts on our bodies, not the least of which is on our hormones.
When stress causes imbalance in our hormone levels, it can lead to low energy, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, weight gain, low body temperature, low sex drive, and even infertility.
Your Thyroid Sets the Tone
Your thyroid gland sets your rate of metabolism, that is, how fast everything runs in your body. It does this by producing thyroid hormones, which tell the cells of your body to burn fuel. This allows the cells to carry out their functions. If your thyroid slows down, so will the rest of your body. People with sluggish thyroid systems tend have low mood and low sex drive. Because your cells run more slowly, it can affect the cells involved in reproduction. In some cases, this can lead to infertility.
Pay Attention to Your Adrenal Glands
Stress has a negative effect on your thyroid. When you are under unmanaged stress, your adrenal glands tend to produce excessive amounts a hormone called cortisol. This hormone interferes with the conversion of T4 thyroid hormone into T3 thyroid hormone. T3 hormone is four to five times more active than T4 hormone in stimulating your body’s metabolism. When you can’t make enough T3, everything slows down. This can lead to the issues of low libido and infertility that I mentioned earlier.
How Do I Balance My Hormones?
The good news is that there are some great natural options to support hormonal health. Vitamin C, vitamin B5, zinc, and manganese provide nutrition to the adrenal glands, while herbs like Siberian ginseng, Fo Ti, and Rhodiola provide additional support. The thyroid gland requires adequate levels of iodine and selenium for optimal function. Blue flag (Iris versicolor) is an herb that has been used traditionally to balance both hypo- and hyper-thyroid conditions. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a south Asian herb that supports both adrenal and thyroid health.
Managing stress is critical to optimizing thyroid function. Optimal thyroid health supports optimal fertility and a healthy sex life.
Dr. Pat Nardini, MSc, ND – Naturopathic Doctor
Dr. Nardini is a graduate of the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine and has over twelve years of clinical experience. He has a special interest in thyroid health, with certification in the diagnosis and treatment of Wilson’s Temperature Syndrome.