If your thyroid gland is underactive, you may have a condition called hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, is a common clinical issue that can sometimes be linked with fertility problems.
Your doctor may recommend thyroid testing to evaluate the main two hormones produced by the thyroid: thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
Many patients with hypothyroidism, or low thyroid function, take a thyroid supplement or replacement medicine known as Levothyroxine (T4). Common brand names for Levothyroxine include Synthroid, Levoxyl and Levothyroid. Other forms of thyroid replacement medications may include Cytomel (T3) or Thyrolar and Euthroid (T3 and T4).
Like with your other medications, including fertility drugs, you want to take your thyroid medication the right way to optimize the drug’s effectiveness. Here are 10 of the most common recommendations for taking thyroid medication:
- Take your thyroid medicine alone.
- Take your thyroid medication with at least eight ounces of water.
- Take the medicine once daily, as a single dose, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
- Take your thyroid medicine at the same time daily.
- Thyroid medication absorption is increased on an empty stomach (no food), so take the tablet on an empty stomach, one-half to one hour before a meal. Typically, we tell patients to take their thyroid medicine before breakfast. Taking thyroid medication at bedtime instead of in the morning is a good alternative.
- A number of foods may affect thyroid drug absorption, including dietary fiber, soy products, cottonseed meal, and walnuts. If these foods are a regular part of your diet, check with your doctor.
- Caffeinated products such as coffee have been found to interfere with absorption of thyroid medications. It appears best to wait a least an hour after taking your thyroid medicine before you have coffee.
- Do not take your thyroid medicine within three to four hours of taking other medications.
- Pay special attention to other drugs that you take, especially: antacids (containing calcium or aluminum), iron (often in a prenatal or multiple vitamin), calcium supplements, and cholesterol lowering drugs.
- Make sure your doctor and pharmacist are aware of all of the medications you are taking, including your fertility drugs. Many drugs may affect how your thyroid medications work.
If you have other questions about taking thyroid medications or fertility drugs, always check with your doctor or pharmacist.
Dr. Carmelo Sgarlata is a leading reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist at the Reproductive Science Center of the San Francisco Bay Area. With over 25 years of experience and well over 1,000 babies born through his guidance, Dr. Sgarlata has become well known in the community where he lives and practices. His areas of special interest include operative laproscopy and hysteroscopy, ovulation disorders including diminished ovarian reserve, and recurrent pregnancy loss.