Fertility is a natural capability to produce offspring. Reproduction is very important to the human race. At some point in time, everybody in the human race thinks about starting a family and having children. Naturally, most of us can produce offspring but there are cases when somebody lacks this ability from birth. That subject is for another type of article needing invasive medical procedures for treatment. But what about fertility that is fixable and attainable?
What about the fertility issues which develop over time due to environment and lifestyle.
Human fertility depends on factors of nutrition, sexual behavior, consanguinity, culture, instinct, endocrinology, timing, economics, way of life, and emotions.
We’ll hereby discuss 7 most important factors that are known to harm human fertility and ways to fix them.
1. Medical Problems
Men and Women have certain issues that lead to infertility. Let’s take a peek by gender.
Fertility issues in Women:
- Age is a big factor affecting women’s fertility. Females planning on a family are advised to have their children before the age of 40 because complications can occur after that. Though not impossible, it can be much more challenging.
- Ovulation disorders resulting in infrequent and abrupt ovulatory routine account for infertility in about 1 in 4 infertile couples.
- Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes keep sperm from getting to the egg.
- Endometriosis; the growing of uterus tissue in other locations is a painfully serious concern. This extra tissue keeps an egg and sperm from uniting, among other things.
Fertility issues in Men:
- Below par sperm count is the main reason for infertility in men.
- Problems with sperm delivery due to sexual problems, such as premature ejaculation; genetic diseases, blockage in the testicles; or damage or injury to the reproductive organs.
- Frequent exposure to heat, such as in saunas can raise body temperature, thus affecting sperm production.
- Certain treatments involving radiation. Treatment for cancer can impair sperm production, sometimes severely. Even mumps as a child.
How to Fix:
These issues can be treated, often in a short time, once they are identified. The following are considered first line of attack for many:
- The couples are advised to consult naturopathic doctors, specializing in simpler herbal remedies but when the natural route doesn’t work outpatient procedures might be enough. A female hormone balance combination or natural progesterone can do wonders if just a little tweaking is necessary.
- Acupuncture has been a proven effective means of treatment for men and women.
- A laparoscopy can identify if endometriosis is the culprit.
2. Nutrition – You are what you eat
Certain vitamins and nutrients are considered very important for fertility. Their absence stops the reproductive organs from working normally, thus causing complications. The following vitamins and nutrients are known to have very positive effects on fertility in women:
- Folic acid – for neurological aspects
- Vitamin B12 – better quality of egg
- Omega-3 fatty acids – brain and neurological functions as well as hormone production
Trans fats and “unhealthy diets” (those “rich in red and processed meats, potatoes, sweets, and sweetened beverages”) were found to have negative effects on both men and women. Nutritional studies on men have found that a healthy diet helps improve semen quality. Foods that affect glucose metabolism can certainly impede other hormones, heart and liver functions as well.
How to avoid the negative impact of malnutrition:
Couples aspiring to start their family must follow a well-crafted diet plan by a nutritionist or a gynecologist to meet the body needs during these conditions. A diet high in plant fiber, low sugar, low fat and high usable protein will give you the nutrition necessary for baby and parents.
3. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
STDs might be more common than what we think. According to a survey, more than 65 million U.S residents including teenagers are infected with at least one STDs. That sounds ridiculously high but certain STDs are asymptomatic and lie unnoticed in women. (For example, 70 percent of women having chlamydia show no symptoms and therefore don’t seek treatment.) We need to take this seriously since STDs can lead to tubal scarring, ectopic pregnancy, other reproductive problems, and ultimately infertility if left untreated.
For Preventing STDs:
- Avoid unsafe sexual activity and always use latex condoms to stop diseases from spreading.
- Try to stick to your partners since people with multiple partners have a higher susceptibility to STDs.
- Immediately seek medical treatment in case of symptoms (both partners should be treated if either has an infection). Regular check ups are also a great defense.
4. Having a Hormonal Imbalance or Autoimmune Disorder
Abnormalities in the hormonal system are a major factor in infertility. These are indicated by irregular menstrual cycles or short, long, or heavy periods and results in affecting ovulation. Men with hormonal problems have much lesser sperm count. This is a very common issue and almost 40% infertility cases list abnormal sperm count as the main problem.
Autoimmune diseases like thyroid diseases, lupus, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis can interfere with fertility in a negative way for both men and women.
How to Avoid:
Couples are advised to consult their midwives or doctors before pregnancy planning and run the essential tests for diseases so that the problem is sorted out first.
For a more natural course, try saliva testing at home and read up on books like Taking Charge Of Your Fertility to learn how your body works, what are signs of fertility and infertility etc.
Patients with autoimmune diseases are often able to keep their symptoms controlled by medications. Be aware of choices. Often times diet can make the difference, rather than expensive or unnecessary chemical intervention. Early detection is a great defense.
5. Being Over or Underweight
Weight is also a significant factor in maintaining the overall health of the body. Fertility is certainly enhanced by a well-balanced body weight. According to the studies, body fat levels above 10 to 15% normal can overload the body with estrogen resulting in disturbances in the reproductive cycle. Similarly, body fat levels that are 10 to 15 percent below normal can completely shut down the reproductive process and since good fat is converted to hormones not enough is as bad as too much. Overweight men may have suboptimal sperm and therefore reduced fertility. Too much body fat in men can convert to estrogen, leading to lower testosterone.
Weight must be controlled when you’re planning for a child and fast foods or diet with trans fat are recommended to be avoided to keep the balance. A low glycemic diet brings balance to weight and hormones.
6. Taking Medication or Using Drugs
Men and especially women’s bodies are pretty sensitive to changes during the reproduction process so any medications must be taken with the doctor’s consultancy. Antidepressants, antibiotics, painkillers, and other drugs used to treat chronic disorders may cause temporary infertility.
Drugs are also known to affect fertility in men and women. Smoking may increase the risk of infertility in women, and even moderate alcohol consumption (as few as five drinks a week) can impair conception.
How to be Safe:
Medications must be taken according to doctor’s advice and smoking and drinking is recommended to be avoided. Weigh the possibility of baby over substances. A desire for a baby will soon outweigh any cravings for anything that impedes progress.
7. Being Exposed to Occupational or Environmental Hazards
Exposure to radiation can affect reproductive health greatly. Cancer patients are suggested not to try for a baby unless they are done with their chemotherapy. Make sense right? Similarly, prolonged exposure to high mental stress, high temperatures, chemicals, radiation, or heavy electromagnetic or microwave emissions may reduce a woman’s fertility and men’s sperm count. We don’t need to go looking for monsters under the bed but all within reason.
How to avoid:
Use all the safety precautions when you are exposed to harmful radiation or emissions. Ask your doctor how long you should wait. Consider a nutritional stamina building protocol. Detoxing heavy metals and chemicals is a good way to start fresh with a healthier body. Eating lots of greens, fiber and drinking plenty of water will help purge chemicals from the body and build a better liver.
There are so many other influencers and inhibitors to fertility. Most importantly, let us leave you with the most important thing on the list. Eat healthy for yourselves and a better lifetime for baby. Detox away anything lingering that may cause harm. Love the one you are with. The best thing you can do for your baby is to love each other and create a stress-free, love filled environment for all before and after conception.