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The Secret Immune Disorder That Destroys Fertility

MSN Health,  Feb 2, 2011

If you place your fingers gently around the base of your throat, you will find your thyroid—a small, butterfly-shaped gland that quietly lies near the bottom of your windpipe.

As silent as it may be, however, the thyroid plays a very important role in not only your fertility but also your overall health. Primarily, it secretes the hormones thyroxine (T4) and triodothyronine (T3). Together, they direct many metabolic functions, including some involved in the production of fertility hormones.

When your body functions as it should, both T3 and T4 are produced on a regular basis. Stimulated by the secretion of a hormone from the pituitary gland called TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), it hums along without any problems.

When, however, something goes awry, causing your thyroid to produce either too much hormone (called hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism), a variety of problems—including infertility—can result. But what causes these malfunctions to occur in the first place? The latest research reveals it may be a glitch in your immune system. For reasons we don't yet understand, some women begin producing antibodies against their own thyroid hormones.

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