Hormonal Imbalance is the leading cause of female infertility. The woman’s inability to ovulate and regulate hormone levels cause a production of too much or too less of one particular hormone. This hormonal imbalance is manifested by symptoms that are easily detected allowing for treatment to begin as soon as possible. These symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, excessive bleeding or very little bleeding, abdominal and pelvic cramps, absence of menstrual period for stretches of time and excessive weight gain and loss. The following can result in hormonal imbalances:
- Glandular problems like thyroid, pituitary and hypothalamus glands problems
- These glands are the primary glands that are responsible in creation and production of reproductive hormones. They can be affected by birth-control pills intake, stress and diseases like hypothyroidism. Once problems are encountered in either of these glands, an imbalance will prevent complete ovulation process to take place, thus the difficulty in conception.
- Ovulatory disorder like overproduction of “Prolactin”
- Like glandular problems, overproduction of “Prolactin” leads to the disruption of hormonal levels. Prolactin is a milk-producing hormone that suppresses and interferes withovulation. The incomplete ovulation cycle called anovulation causes the over production of androgens. These androgens are termed as “male hormones”, overproduction of these, particularly testosterone, result in a lesser production of estrogen that marks and signals the ovulation process.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- This condition is marked by multiple growths of cysts in the ovaries, resulting in a hormonal imbalance and menstruation back flows. Less production of estrogen and progesterone necessary for ovulation results in lower egg quality and failure of eggs to mature. These failed to mature eggs become cysts and line the outer and inner ovaries.
Also, PCOS beckons the high production of insulin resulting in a type II diabetes condition and increased production of androgen.
- Premature Menopause and Abnormal Cervical Mucus
- Menopause in women often starts at the age of 40, if it comes earlier; it becomes a sure sign of infertility. Ovulating process goes well into the forties, POF or Premature Ovarian Failure accounts for about only 1% of female infertility. Apart from slowing down and cessation of ovulation process, menopause brings about a variety of bodily changes in women. Often, menopause is signaled by extreme mood swings, sleepiness, irregular menstruation and hot flashes.
- Abnormal Cervical Mucus is a condition wherein the mucus lining the cervix and the uterus is not quite as it should be; the change in mucus consistency throughout the ovulation process is engineered mainly to aid in sperm journey and egg fertilization. Alteration in mucus consistency, with which the normal is thin and watery, becomes an obstruction for the sperm to reach the egg to ensure conception. With the low production of estrogen, the mucus becomes thick for sperm to pass or swim through. Specific reproductive glands are responsible for the secretion of proper mucus to line the cervix, and repeated infections and presence of sexually transmitted diseases are the common culprits of abnormal cervical mucus production.
The above are endocrine and reproductive related ailments that cause significant disruption in normal hormonal levels and ovulation process. The presence of these irregularities accounts for about 25% of female infertility cases. Around 80% of these cases are caused by inherent biological irregularities and 20% of these hormonal imbalance cases are due to psychological and emotional stress.
As defined, stress is any event in the course of our existence that provides direct threat and pressure to our well-being. With stress often come changes in sleep pattern, diet and mood swings. Women undergoing extreme psychological and emotional stress tend to sink back and forth into depression, which in turn triggers a fluctuation of hormonal levels.
Hormonal Infertility is almost a household phrase in fertility clinics. Learn more about the symptoms and early signs of hormonal irregularity in order to spot infertility as early as possible. Once the irregularity is corrected and the hormones are regulated, it is highly likely that couples would be able to conceive. Speak with your fertility specialist and tackle hormonal infertility with utmost optimism.