The effect of hormones on fertility

The endocrine system and the hormones production and secretion play a significant role not only in the health of our entire body, but the ability to achieve and sustain pregnancy. Our reproductive system relies on a proper hormonal balance to function properly. Hormonal imbalance directly results in ovulation problems in women, which in turn severely increases their risk for infertility. In the case of men hormonal imbalances affect both the quality and quantity of their sperm cells as well as their sexual function and libido.

What are some of the causes of hormonal imbalance?

Stress: Research shows that stress boosts levels of stress hormones such as cortisol, which inhibits the body’s main sex hormones GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) and subsequently suppresses ovulation, sexual activity and sperm count. GnRH is responsible for the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone by (FSH) the pituitary gland, the suppression of testosterone, estrogens, and sexual behavior. Chronic stress may cause lack of libido as well as a decrease in general fertility. Chronic stress may also cause adrenal fatigue and thyroid problems.
Poor nutrition: The body is extremely sensitive to vitamin, mineral and fluid levels. If you are not eating healthy whole foods daily, your body cannot function properly. In addition, if you are eating foods that are unhealthy, full of preservatives, dyes and other human-made processed chemicals, you may be damaging your endocrine glands, thus causing a hormonal imbalance. Our bodies need whole foods, in their natural state to support hormonal balance. We also need clean filtered drinking water to sustain fluid levels and flush toxins.
Xenohormones: Xenohormones are human-made chemicals. These chemicals have the ability to interfere with the natural functions and development of our bodies. Not only can they mimic our natural hormones, but they can block other hormones from binding to receptor sites. All xenohormones are endocrine disruptors. They can alter how natural hormones are produced, metabolized and eliminated.

Common Sources of Xenohormones:

  • Solvents & Adhesives (paint, nail polish, household cleaners)
  • Plastics
  • Non-organic meats (animals are given hormones to fatten them up or to grow quicker)
  • Pesticides, herbicides, fungicides
  • Emulsifiers in soap and cosmetics
  • PCBs (Polychlorinated Biphenyl) from industrial waste
  • Hormonal birth control (pill, shot, ring, implant)
You can absorb xenohormones by ingestion, inhalation and direct skin contact.
Lifestyle Choices: People that lead high-stress lives, are sedentary, have sleep disturbance or who choose to regularly consume too much sugar, alcoholic beverages, smoke or take drugs, including many medications, may be causing hormonal imbalance in the body.
Genetics: Scientific researchers are working on the connection to genetic predisposition in regard to hormonal imbalances. They do know that there are genetic links to obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease just to name a few, which may be caused by hormonal imbalance or cause hormonal imbalances.
Body Fat: Body fat cells, called adipocytes produce and store estrogen. Women who do not have adequate amounts of body fat may have menstrual cycle irregularities, anovulation and infertility problems. Low body fat may cause ovulation to stop. People with a BMI greater than 30 may have elevated levels of estrogen in the body due to greater body fat content which may also contribute to infertility. This is known as estrogen dominance. Obesity in men lowers testosterone levels. Chronic low levels of testosterone affect how the testis function, which causes all hormones produced by them, to be out of balance. Research shows elevated levels of estrogen in obese men. The sperm of obese men are often abnormal, this increases the risk for miscarriage and chromosomal defects in a developing embryo. Obese men also often have sexual dysfunction.
Tumor (rare): A tumor on one of the endocrine glands can impair the proper release of hormones. A benign pituitary tumor is the most common type of tumor causing hormonal imbalance.
Menopause: Huge hormone changes begin to take place as a woman ages. Between the ages of 40-60 hormone levels begin to change in preparation for menopause and to allow the body to go through menopause. Although this process takes many years, perimenopause and menopause hormone changes are completely normal, despite making the body feel out of sorts.