Getting Pregnant: Hormonal Imbalances and Female Fertility Problems
Hormonal imbalances are one of the main causes of female fertility problems, which are in turn generally linked to ovulation problems. However, the diagnosis and treatment of hormonal imbalance in women is generally an efficient and effective process. But what exactly is a hormonal imbalance and how can hormonal imbalances in women lead to female fertility problems?
What is Hormonal Imbalance?
A hormonal imbalance is in fact an allergic reaction to the normal functioning of hormones in the body. Each month, the female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, vary in the amount that they are produced, depending on such factors such as diet, nutrition, stress and above all, ovulation.
Hormonal imbalances can be present in women of all ages, with symptoms usually becoming apparent in a womanï¿½s late twenties through to her forties. In addition, most women experience symptoms of a hormonal imbalance during the premenstrual stage of their monthly cycle.
Signs of A Hormonal Imbalance
Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women include the following:
- allergy symptoms
- decreased sex drive
- facial hair growth
- foggy thinking
- hair loss
- low sex drive
- premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- urinary incontinence
- urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- weight gain
- water retention
- wrinkly skin
In addition, more severe symptoms of hormonal imbalance include the following:
- anxiety attacks
- chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS)
- interstitial cystitis
- panic attacks
- premenstrual asthma
Diagnosis of Hormonal Imbalance
A hormonal imbalance can be diagnosed using a hormonal imbalance test, which can include either a blood test or a saliva test.
Hormonal Imbalance and Female Fertility
Many common conditions that can lead to female infertility are linked to hormonal imbalances.
Such conditions affecting female fertility include the following:
|Condition||Link to Hormonal Imbalance|
|Glandular Problems||Hormonal abnormalities that occur in the primary glands (hypothalamus, thyroid and pituitary) that are responsible for the production of reproductive hormones can cause fertility problems in women. The primary glands send signals during the reproductive processes that result in varying levels of hormone production. These glands can be affected by a variety of conditions and as such in turn lead to hormonal irregularities. The hypothalamus can be affected by stress, birth control pills, medication and disease while hypothyroidism affects the thyroid by increasing levels of prolactin, a milk-producing hormone that reduces ovulation. The pituitary gland can be affected by microscopic tumors known as prolactinomas, causing secretions of prolactin, thereby affecting ovulation.|
|Ovulation Disorders||Disorders relating to ovulation are usually caused by high levels of prolactin or high levels of androgens, a male sex hormone that includes testosterone, which promotes the development of male sex characteristics and which is also responsible for the development of pubic hair and sex drive. Androgen levels peak during puberty. Ovulation disorders cause 25% of all female fertility problems.|
|PCOS||Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects female fertility and is caused by abnormally high levels of male hormone, which in turn result in high levels of lutenizing hormones as well as low levels of follicle stimulating hormones (FSH).|
|Abnormal Cervical Mucus||Cervical mucus irregularities include cervical mucus that is either too thick in order to enable sperm penetration even during ovulation or a lack of sufficient cervical mucus production in the cervical glands. The fertility drug clomiphene citrate affects the production of cervical mucus by altering estrogen levels in the body.|
|Premature Menopause||Also referred to as Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), premature menopause occurs when women under the age of 40 lack the hormones required for ovulation and menstruation due to a depleted egg supply. It occurs in 1 to 4% of women.|
Treatment of Hormonal Imbalance in Women
Treatment options for hormonal imbalances depend on the type of imbalance and the resulting infertility condition.
For example, if you have cervical mucus irregularities, an estrogen cream may be prescribed. If you have PCOS, your health care provider will likely prescribe clomiphene (Clomid); a diet that is low in fat and high in fiber will also be recommended.
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