Infertility and the struggles of getting pregnant are usually not topics of discussion at parties. Many women and even men feel alone in the battle of not being able to conceive or reproduce because there is a stigma around the subject.
But 1 in 8 couples experiences difficulty in getting pregnant. Trying to get pregnant can send you and your partner on an emotional rollercoaster, which can make conceiving even more difficult. This is because certain environmental factors and lifestyle factors such as stress, toxins, and diet contribute to hormone imbalances in your body. And hormones are the “VIP” in helping you get pregnant.
The world we live in today is surrounded by endocrine disruptors. I don’t tell you this to scare you, but to bring your awareness to how common these hormone disruptors are – because it’s essential for your fertility health. Not only do pollutants, pesticides, and plastic throw a wrench in your hormones, but your lifestyle can also have a hand in off balancing your hormones as well.
You might feel alone in your battle with infertility, but I promise you, you aren’t. I am here to help get your hormones back on track.
Your Most Important Reproductive Hormones at a Glance
Nearly 50 different hormones are produced and secreted by your body. These hormones are like little messengers traveling throughout your body regulating growth, development, metabolism, electrolyte imbalance, and reproduction.
Your hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and gut microbiome are the control centers for these chemical messengers. They call the shots in the synthesis or inhibition of hormone production.
- Estrogen – For females, this fertility hormone is vital for a healthy menstrual cycle in women. Disruption of your menstrual cycle such as irregular periods can potentially affect your fertility health. Estrogen is also critical for males because it’s essential for increased libido and spermatogenesis – sperm production. Too much estrogen in men can also cause erectile dysfunction.
- Testosterone – Testosterone is thought of as the “male hormones”, but it’s just as important for women too. It creates a healthy libido in women while promoting follicle development and maturation, structures that contain and release eggs. Testosterone is essential for the development of testes and prostate in men. It also plays a major role in men’s libido, sexual arousal, erection, sexual function, and sperm count.
- DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) – DHEA is the precursor for estrogen and testosterone production. Decreased levels of DHEA can affect the production of necessary hormones for reproduction health in men and women.
- Progesterone – One of the main hormones regulating women’s menstrual cycle is progesterone. This female fertility hormone controls key female reproduction events, which include ovulation, implantation, maintenance of pregnancy, and breast development. For men, progesterone is responsible for capacitation and sperm motility. Capacitation is a functional step in the maturation process of a sperm and can only fertilize an egg after this step.
- Luteinizing Hormone – This hormone stimulates the ovaries to produce oestradiol, a form of estrogen. During your menstrual cycle, a surge of luteinizing hormones causes the ovaries to release an egg. If fertilization occurs between the egg and sperm luteinizing hormones then stimulate progesterone to help maintain the pregnancy. An excess of these hormones is also linked to PCOS in females, which is a main cause of infertility in women. In men, the luteinizing hormone is responsible for stimulating testosterone which affects sperm production.
- Follicle Stimulating Hormone – This hormone is important for stimulating the growth of ovarian follicles and it also increases oestradiol production. Follicle stimulating hormones acts on the Sertoli cells of the testes to stimulate spermatogenesis in males. A hormonal orchestra of these female and male fertility hormones all work together to interact harmoniously and improve your rates of conception. If there’s an imbalance in any of these hormones it can easily inhibit your ability to conceive.
Signs and Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
The reproduction process is reliant on women and men’s orchestrating hormones. Each hormone depends on the others and if one is out of tune it can cause major problems not only in your reproductive system but other areas in your body as well.
Signs and symptoms your hormones may be out of balance:
- Irregular periods or absent periods
- Breast tenderness, swelling, or enlargement
- Hair loss or facial hair growth
- Mood swings
- Weight gain
- Low sex drive
- Acne or dry skin
- GI issues (abdominal pain, diarrhea, bloating, constipation, vomiting, nausea)
- Vaginal dryness
- Erectile dysfunction
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- Recurrent miscarriage
Hormonal Causes of Infertility
Environmental, lifestyle factors, and natural processes of life such as menopause can all have a say in how your hormones are properly balanced.
Xenohormones are naturally occurring compounds or man-made chemicals that mimic your natural hormones blocking your real hormones from connecting to receptor sites. Xenohormones are endocrine disruptors – they disrupt the orchestra of your hormones. These alter the normal function of tissues and organs and have been linked with reproductive issues, infertility, and endometriosis.
Avoid the most common xenohormones:
- Phthalates in personal care products
- Atrazine, arsenic, and perchlorate in your drinking water
- Bisphenol-A (BPA) in canned foods and plastic bottles
- Pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides
- Hormonal birth control
- Antibiotics and hormones in non-organic meats
Perimenopause or menopause is a huge factor in hormonal balances, which naturally occurs between the ages of 40-60 in women. Andropause, male menopause is something less discussed but does happen in some men around the age of 50. Andropausal men can see a drop in testosterone levels.
Lifestyle factors including stress, diet, and weight are all contributing factors that can lead to imbalanced hormones and infertility.
Research shows increased stress levels boost your cortisol hormones. These hormones can cause certain hormonal imbalance suppressing ovulation, sexual activity, and sperm count.
Consuming too much sugar and not enough whole foods in your diet can lead to weight gain. This causes an increase in body fat cells which can actually produce estrogen in your body. Having too much body fat can cause an overproduction of estrogen leading to infertility. While having too little body fat doesn’t produce enough estrogen also resulting in infertility.
Fertility Hormone Testing in the Dallas/Fort Worth Area
The battle of conceiving can be exhausting. And with the constant attack of endocrine disruptors in our environment and your fast past lifestyle it can add to your struggle.
By reducing your exposure to some of the most common xenohormones, eating a healthy whole foods diet, lowering your stress and sugar intake can help you naturally balance your hormones.
You are not alone. At the Dynamic Life Health Center we offer fertility hormone tests to see which hormones are imbalanced. With the help of Dr. Lyn Berutti you can then start the processes of getting your hormones and fertility health back on track. Request an appointment today or call (817)-912-1600.