There are no barriers to infertility. It can affect people of different races, socioeconomic status, or religion. Oftentimes, infertility is caused by an existing medical condition.
These conditions have a direct effect on one’s reproductive processes and cause disruption in the normal functioning of hormones not only in women but also in men as well. For couples who have been told they are infertile, it is natural for them to try and pinpoint a specific cause in the hope of treating it and improve fertility.
It is important then to correct the main problem so that ultimately, infertility issues can be resolved. The good news is that in majority of infertility cases, there is a specific medical cause for it that be resolved. Only 10% of infertility cases go unexplained.
Diabetes and insulin related infertility are common. In diabetes, the body becomes resistant to insulin. In response to high levels of sugar in the body, insulin is also significantly produced. This has a direct impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis of the brain which controls and regulates the production of hormones in the body.
Insulin is a hormone and all hormones in our body are interlinked in any way. Therefore, an imbalance in one hormone may cause imbalance in other hormones which includes reproductive hormones such as estrogen and progesterone. This imbalance can lead to undesired infertility. In addition, high sugar levels make the blood more viscous and may slow down the blood flow to the uterus. When inadequate circulation happens, the uterus fails to be properly nourished for possible implantation.
If you want to get pregnant, it is important to regulate your sugar levels. This means you need to monitor you insulin and blood sugar levels, as well as your weight. With adequate nutrition and dietary supplements, you can greatly improve your chances of conceiving.
Men with diabetes may also be affected with infertility. Nerve damage from diabetes, multiple sclerosis or a spinal cord injury can lead to retrograde ejaculation wherein the semen goes into the bladder. Semen will not be able to enter the vagina and fail to fertilize the awaiting egg. Likewise, erectile dysfunction caused by diabetes is another cause of infertility.
Thyroid diseases can cause fertility problems
Undiagnosed and untreated thyroid problems can cause infertility. The thyroid gland is responsible for the metabolic processes of our body. It is located in the front of your neck, just below the Adam’s apple. A major cause of thyroid problems comes from a pituitary gland disorder.
The pituitary gland tells the thyroid how much thyroid hormone should be produced. When the pituitary isn’t functioning properly, it also affects the production of other hormones especially estrogen and progesterone. In women, thyroid problems may cause anovulation and menstrual irregularities, luteal phase defect and hyperprolactinemia. In men, it can cause low sperm count or reduced sperm motility.
Thyroid dysfunction can halt ovulation by upsetting the balance of the body’s natural productive hormones. If there is too much or too little thyroid hormone, ovulation may not occur. With no egg to fertilize, conception is impossible. It is also believed that hypothyroidism can cause an increase in prolactin, the hormone produced by the pituitary gland that induces and maintains the production of breastmilk in women. Excess prolactin has a negative effect on fertility – sometimes preventing ovulation or causing irregular or absent monthly cycles.
While a thyroid condition can sometimes complicate the process of getting or staying pregnant, the good news is that when properly managed, most couples can proceed to have a safe, uneventful pregnancy.
Infertility risk factors
For both men and women, risk factors for infertility are the same.
Women’s fertility starts to decline at the age of 30. This may be due to a number of eggs being produced with more chromosomal abilities. Also, a girl is born with all the eggs she will ever have in a lifetime, and it is believed that the best eggs are released first during the earlier years. Thus, those eggs with defects come out only when the woman starts to age. Health problems that come with ageing also contribute to infertility. Likewise, men older than 40 may be less fertile than younger men.
Smoking decreases the circulation of blood into the reproductive organs. This sluggish flow of blood can cause infertility because if the failure to nourish and maintain healthy a healthy uterus capable of possible conception. Both men and women can greatly benefit from quitting smoking as they can have the chance to greatly improve their overall health and well-being.
Alcohol intake increases the risk of birth defects during pregnancy. Generally, there is no safe level of alcohol use in women who are pregnant. For those planning to conceive, try to refrain from alcohol three months prior to trying.
Being overweight or underweight
Among American women, infertility is often due to a sedentary lifestyle and being overweight. A man’s sperm may also be affected. Infertility in obese and overweight women is primarily related to ovulatory dysfunction. This causes irregularities in menstrual cycles and lead to other medical conditions which continue to affect fertility. Being underweight also pose the same risk, especially those with anorexia nervosa or bulimia or those who follow a restrictive or low calorie diet.
Too much exercise
Too much exercise can cause irregularities in menstruation. The effect of too much exercise is related to reduced progesterone production during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle in ovulatory women, alterations in GnRH production, and luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone production. It is advised that exercise should done three times a week for about 30 minutes each.
The inability to conceive and bear children can be a major life crisis. To make the situation worse, infertility is usually hidden in the society. This is unfortunate, as almost 80% of infertility cases can be treated successfully and almost one-third of these cases don’t require treatment at all other than just trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.