Just like India the number of women being diagnosed with hormonal problems is rising around the world, which has a direct bearing on their fertility as well. While lifestyle choices are no doubt a culprit, also compounding the problem are factors like environmental and food contamination. Timely diagnosis of hormonal problems can significantly lower the infertility and IVF treatment cost in India.
As to the all-important question of can hormonal imbalance affect pregnancy; yes it can and it often does. Hormonal imbalances and female infertility are directly related to each other. For example, a woman’s menstrual cycle, ovulation, egg development, libido, and pregnancy are all intricately linked to her hormonal balance. And any imbalance or disturbance is capable of denting her chances of getting pregnant, whereby only the best IVF clinic in India can be of any help.
Here we look at ways in which hormonal imbalances manifest in the female body and as a consequence, affect her fertility.
One of the most common and complicated issues that plagues reproductive age women in the modern era, PCOS has a wide variety of symptoms that include abnormal weight gain, polycystic ovaries, high androgen levels, insulin resistance, fertility problems, and irregular menstruation. Each of those symptoms has a direct bearing on a woman’s ability to get pregnant. The causes of PCOS are as wide-ranging as its symptoms and include abnormal levels of testosterone and androstenedione, obesity, insulin resistance, and chronic inflammation.
- Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are nothing but non-malignant tumors in a woman’s uterus. Although there is no consensus on why or how they form, uterine fibroids are a fairly common occurrence among reproductive age females. As they are benign, fibroids usually do not affect a woman’s fertility. However, the same cannot be said about abnormally large fibroids. Common causes of large fibroids include high levels of progesterone and estrogen.
- Anovulation Cycles
When there is no ovulation during a menstrual cycle, it is known as anovulation. There is no cause for concern when anovulation happens occasionally. But if it occurs with greater frequency, it points towards a deeper hormonal problem and affects fertility directly. Frequent anovulation is causes by hormone changes arising out of breastfeeding, rapid loss or gain of weight, too much stress, thyroid or pituitary problems, oral contraceptives, or PCOS.
Endometriosis is when the uterine lining starts growing outside the uterus. The endometrial tissue attaches itself to other areas and organs of the body and can lead to the formation of scar tissue or cysts around the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. This could subsequently lead to problems with fertility unless treated on time. The thickening of the uterine lining, which is the principal cause of endometriosis, is caused by excess levels of estrogen.
When a woman does not get her periods for three to six months during her reproductive years, she is said to be suffering from amenorrhea. The foremost cause of amenorrhea is too high or two low levels of estrogen. Other issues like PCOS, malfunctioning thyroid or pituitary glands, ovarian failure, and early menopause are known to play a role as well.
- Weight Gain
When a woman gains weight unexpectedly and without cause around her core, buttocks, hips and thighs, it indicates the possibility of a disturbed hormonal balance. Again, abnormal levels of estrogen are known to cause weight gain around the buttocks, hips and thighs. Weight gain around the stomach and the waist, on the other hand, is put down to high levels of cortisol.
- Changes in Hair
Loss of head hair or excessive growth of facial hair are classic signs of hormonal imbalance, which could also affect a woman’s ability to conceive a child through natural means. Higher than normal levels of testosterone, adrenal problems, and PCOS are known to disrupt the hair growing patterns among women apart from negatively affecting their fertility.
- Recurrent Miscarriage
Although a majority of miscarriages arise out of abnormalities at the chromosomal level, multiple miscarriages can be the result of hormonal imbalances. A prominent cause is low levels of progesterone and problems with the adrenal and thyroid glands.
How to Maintain Hormonal Balance?
Hormonal imbalances can affect anyone. However, by exercising a fair bit of dietary and lifestyle precaution, hormonal imbalances can be corrected or even avoided completely. These preventive measures include,
- Maintain a healthy weight as excess hormones tend to reside in body fat.
- Do not lose weight suddenly as it causes a fall in hormone production which could affect fertility.
- Consume organic foods as much as possible, specifically with respect to animal-based foods.
- Consume more estrogen-managing foods like legumes, cruciferous vegetables, and other high fiber foods.
Although damaging, hormonal imbalances can nevertheless be set right. While modern food processing methods have meant that completely avoiding foods containing estrogen-inducing chemicals is not possible, maintaining good health and leading a healthy lifestyle are very much within the realm of possibility.
|Dr. Pranay Shah is one of India’s leading names in the area of infertility treatments. An M.S. holder in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Dr. Shah is also a USA Cleveland Clinic certified ART specialist and has to his credit hundreds of successful IVF cases. In his spare time, Dr. Shah loves to drive and explore places and nurtures an abiding love for Scandinavian crime fiction.|