Key Lifestyle Causes of Infertility in Women
The human body is a fascinating organism that mystifies and continues to boggle scientists and medical experts. The sheer complexity of the circulatory system, for example, is something that is still unable to be replicated in an artificial setting to better understand. While the human body still has many mysteries that remain yet to be solved, there are some facts that we do understand, particularly as they relate to lifestyle causes of infertility in women (and men, too!).
To make the most of your short ovulation window, you’ll want to alter certain lifestyle habits in order to enhance your chances of getting pregnant. Odds are you already know these are bad habits for your health, and hopefully, this article encourages you to finally take action!
What Affects Fertility?
Smoking is bad for your health, and so it should come as no surprise that when it comes to the question “Does smoking cause infertility in females?” the answer is a pretty resounding “Yes!” Tobacco smoke contains thousands of harmful carcinogens that contaminate the human body, and that can mar and harm fetal health. Smoking has also been linked to infertility in women over countless years and in countless studies. If you are trying to have a baby, the cigarettes simply must go.
Alcohol is another of the major lifestyle causes of infertility in women. Even just a drink or two per day can decrease your chances of conception. Alcohol, like tobacco smoke, is laden with toxins that hamper the body’s ability to regulate itself and that tax the internal organs. Among the many issues that can arise from the use of alcohol include:
- Hormonal Imbalances
- Ovulatory Disorders
- Egg Health
- Uterine Effects
- Increased Risk of Miscarriage
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
- Impact on Body Weight
- Decreased Absorption of Nutrients
- Behavioral Factors
Complete cessation of drinking while trying to get pregnant is your best bet.
Obesity and malnourishment are two more lifestyle factors affecting fertility in women. More specifically, in terms of what affects fertility in relation to weight, Women who are 30 pounds or more overweight typically have higher hormonal output than women who are in good shape, thus reducing chances of conception. An imbalanced diet can also contribute to this because the body is deprived of the key nutrients necessary for conception.
Exposure to Toxins
Many toxins, like pesticides, plastics, and industrial chemicals, can act as endocrine disruptors, meaning they can interfere with the normal functioning of hormones, which play a critical role in ovulation, menstrual cycles, and pregnancy. Some toxins can also affect the uterine lining and may even cause DNA damage that can lead to miscarriages and birth defects.
While it’s imperative to get some exercise to increase fertility chances, over-exercising can have negative effects, like causing an energy deficit that can lead to amenorrhea (absence of menstruation). Physical stress associated with intense exercise can also lead to hormonal imbalances, as well as a very low body fat percentage that may interfere with menstrual cycles and ovulation.
Not Getting Good Sleep
It might seem surprising, but getting good sound sleep, consistently, can actually optimize your body for conceiving. The body’s internal clock (or circadian rhythm) regulates many physiological processes, including hormone release. Disrupted sleep patterns can throw off this rhythm and affect hormones like progesterone, estrogen, and luteinizing hormone (LH), all of which are vital for reproduction.
In addition, a lack of good sleep can increase levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and can lead to problems with insulin sensitivity, both of which can potentially interfere with the hormonal balance necessary for ovulation and implantation.
Too Much Stress
Excessive and prolonged stress leads to increased cortisol levels, which again disrupts a woman’s delicate hormonal balance. Elevated cortisol essentially suppresses the hypothalamus from releasing a certain hormone (GnRH) that is crucial for the release of both LH and follicle-stimulating hormones. These hormones are essential for triggering ovulation and stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs.
Chronic stress might also lead to irregular menstrual cycles or anovulation, as well as reducing blood flow to the uterus, making it less receptive to embryo implantation.
As you can see, in terms of what affects fertility, the body’s reproductive system is sensitive to both external and internal conditions, and it can be greatly impacted by certain lifestyle factors. In order to ensure optimal health and to increase your odds of getting pregnant, it’s highly recommended that you address any lifestyle causes of infertility that are within your control.
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