Imbalanced Hormones could be affecting your fertility

Author: Lia Pellizzeri   Date Posted:25 July 2016 

We all know that hormones have incredibly important functions in our bodies, moving in a perfectly synchronized harmony that allows for physiological processes to occur. It’s actually such a finely tuned process that a small hiccup in any other area can have a significant and detrimental effect on the systems they are working for.

If you’ve ever experienced constipation when travelling, loss of appetite when excited or emotional, or a skipped period in times of stress, you can see how our all-powerful hormones are sensitive little souls that respond to the slightest disturbance whether it be physical or emotional. Yes… they need lots of TLC!

What can contribute to impaired hormone synthesis?

  • Stress.
  • Alcohol.
  • Poor Nutrition.
  • Body Weight.
  • Exposure to environmental toxins.
  • Underlying Conditions.

So, seeing as our reproductive systems are at the mercy of our hormones, it goes without saying that this fact alone could be contributing to the dramatic rise in infertility rates we’ve seen over the past few decades, where approximately 1 in 6 couples have difficulty falling pregnant naturally in Australia alone.

In a series of posts we will be looking at various aspects of boosting fertility, for both men and women! Today, we want to examine some important factors contributing to imbalanced hormones in women.

Because, put simply… balanced hormones will equal better health and increased fertility!

ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS AND GET TO THE BOTTOM OF YOUR HORMONE IMBALANCE!

If you and your partner are having a hard time conceiving, asking the tough questions about your lifestyle could be a great way to suss out whether your body is simply telling you it’s not quite the ideal condition to support a growing baby. Ask the questions and listen to your body!

Am I stressed?

Chronic stress has become so integrated in our everyday lives, it can be difficult to even recognise it. As a result of our fast-paced living and increased demands and expectations, prolonged elevated cortisol (our main stress hormone) places the body under enormous physical strain and can adversely interfere with the menstrual cycle, thus affecting fertility. Be honest with yourself, and consider whether areas of your life could do with some changes… or even a major overhaul.

Do I have a nutritious diet?

So many variables in our diet can affect our ability to produce healthy hormones in adequate amounts. It is not only important to eat a varied, nutrient-dense diet high in vitamins and minerals – but also vital that the body is getting enough protein and healthy fats. Prolonged inadequate protein intake for instance can impact reproductive performance, as can over-eating the wrong types of foods which impairs the liver’s synthesis of oestrogen and progesterone.

Keeping a food diary for a week will provide insight and may even reveal some dietary indiscretions that have become more than just a one-off occurrence, plus writing down what you eat gives a level of awareness that can aid better food choices. Stay tuned for our nutrition for fertility posts in the coming weeks.

Am I drinking too much alcohol?

You may think that a glass of wine with dinner each night isn’t doing you any harm, and in most cases it’s not (whether it be for its antioxidant content or simply its relaxant qualities, we know wine and even some other forms of alcohol can be beneficial), however it has been shown that more than 4 drinks a week can impair oestrogen and progesterone levels – leading to impaired ovulation, implantation and fertilization - so it’s also something for men to be aware of. The key is balance and moderation, be mindful of your alcohol consumption and don’t overdo it.

Am I under or over-weight?

Being either under or over weight can be affecting your fertility by you guessed it, unbalancing your hormones. The most common factor in this scenario is the over-production of oestrogen by fat cells, and its poor clearance of it in the liver. This leads to free roaming oestrogen and inflammation that wreak havoc on ovulatory patterns.

The same goes for having too little body fat (under approximately 15% for most females), where a limited amount of flowing oestrogen signals the hypothalamus to literally shut down ovulation as it goes into survival mode.

Am I exposed to environmental toxins?

We are constantly surrounded by synthetic ingredients, pesticides, xeno-oestrogens and various other toxins whether it be through our cleaning products, drinking water, fruit and veg, even our skin, hair and hygiene products can be unfortunately choc-full of ingredients that are potential endocrine disruptors. These products and ingredients are by and large safe, but for a sensitive few they can have some real consequences on reproductive health due to that hormonal component.

Do I have an underlying condition?

At the end of the day, there is a myriad of possible hormonal disruptors that could be preventing you from falling pregnant. Asking these simple questions is merely the first step in getting to know your body and how generally healthy it really is…

Think of it as ticking off a check list, once these are checked and ticked you can start thinking about conditions that may be affecting your fertility, from Endometriosis to Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, to various anovulatory and thyroid disorders. These are best discussed with your health care professional for further investigation and appropriate treatment.

Written by Lia Pellizzeri
Emily Seddon

Lia is a qualified Naturopath who believes in the power of nature to heal many of today’s acute and chronic conditions. She’s not only passionate about living a healthy lifestyle, but about educating people on nutrition and the amazing benefits of herbs and supplements in addressing symptoms and their underlying issues. Lia loves to cook, bake and read… when she isn’t busy telling people to enjoy their egg yolks and other healthy fats, she can most likely be found on the lounge with a latte and a tattered copy of Lord of the Rings.


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