Having Trouble Conceiving? A hormone imbalance may be affecting your success.
Fertility is an issue occupying women for a goodly portion of their lives. Getting pregnant and not getting pregnant is an important part of our relationship and our lifestyles.
Nearly 11% of women aged 15-44 have an impaired ability to achieve pregnancy and/or carry a baby to term.
Being aware of the effect of hormonal imbalance on your pregnancy is the first step to avoid complications. It's a miracle that women can even get pregnant considering the delicate harmony the body requires. One hormone out of balance can disrupt and prevent pregnancy.
Some of the symptoms of this challenge are:
- You feel moody, have gained or lost weight, breast tenderness
- You‘ve been trying to conceive for 6 months with no luck
- You are in your mid-30’s or older
- Have had difficulty sustain pregnancy in the past resulting in miscarriage
- Infertility runs in your family
Let's look at the phases of the women's cycle: the Follicular, Ovulation and Luteal Phases. This is where pregnancies have their most common complications, which result in no conception or miscarriages.
At its most simplified, pregnancy takes several steps over an approximate 28 day period. Hormones influence every phase, moving the body cycles forward.
Follicular Phase: Selecting an egg. All women are born with all the eggs that will use in their lifetimes. Isn’t that amazing?! Influenced by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) one egg is selected from thousands within the ovaries to be the "dominate" egg for that month.
Ovulation Phase: At 14 days, a spike in estradiol suppressed the release of luteinizing hormone (LH) causing this dominate egg to be released down the fallopian tube into the uterus.
Luteal Phase: This is where the egg is fertilized – or not. A surge of FSH and LH stimulates the release of the egg from the follicle and the tissue left behind becomes the corpus luteum. The primary job of the corpus luteum is to produce progesterone which acts on the growing endometrium to make it receptive to implantation should pregnancy occur. Eventually, during the 10th to 12th week of gestation, the placenta relieves the corpus luteum and begins to produce progesterone, which it continues to do throughout the pregnancy. Should the egg not be fertilized, menstruation begins.
How Do Hormones Affect My Cycle Function?
During this time of hormone stimulation, the ebb and flow of these chemicals are where conception can fail, so it is important to know. Our easy-to-use, at-home Fertility Hormone Test Panel is the best place to start. You will learn about which of the following hormone imbalances could be impeding your attempts to conceive.
Low Progesterone (Luteal Phase Failure): In some women, ovulation, and fertilization occurs, but with progesterone levels too low during the first 10-12 weeks of gestation, the pregnancy is not sustainable. A defective corpus luteum results in inadequate progesterone production and is one of the leading causes of early termination of pregnancy (miscarriage) and may also be involved in the failure of an embryo to implant in the first place.
Additionally, progesterone plays an important role in opening the cervix and cervical fluid. Without health in this area, the sperm struggles to get through to the uterus.
Estrogen Dominance: This is a general term for an underlying hormonal imbalance where the influence of estrogen is greater than the balancing effect of progesterone. This can result in endometriosis and uterine fibroids which can inhibit the proper implantation of an embryo.
Thyroid Disorders: Low levels of thyroid hormone can prevent ovulation all together which appears as no periods or irregular cycles. Autoimmune thyroid conditions can result in elevated levels of antibodies in the thyroid gland and can increase the risk of miscarriages.
Low Egg Reserve: Declining egg production is the primary reason for the age-related decline in fertility and can be caused by premature ovarian failure due to hormone imbalances.
Stress: Because stress affects the endocrine system, high cortisol levels can inhibit ovulation, where low cortisol can affect the immune changes necessary for implantation to occur.
Achieving and Maintaining a Pregnancy
Salivary progesterone levels during the mid-luteal phase are an effective and non-invasive way to analyze the patency of the corpus luteum and may provide invaluable information to a patient who is having difficulty achieving or maintaining pregnancy.
Luteal phase defect can be treated with nutritional and botanical therapies to enhance and support proper function, and/or with supplementation of bio-identical progesterone during the luteal phase.
Though there are many additional factors that can be involved with infertility, this simple intervention may be all that is needed to help you become pregnant. In many cases, identification and correction of hormone imbalances are sufficient to aid in the achievement and maintenance of a successful pregnancy. Take our easy to use, at-home fertility test today.
Additionally being healthy and fit, with good nutrition, is key to starting a family and having a pregnancy come to term for a joyous outcome