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Hormone Level Imbalance

Hormones play a significant role in human health. Hormonal imbalance can cause several medical conditions, including infertility. Hypo and hyperthyroidism (high or low thyroid function), hyperprolactinemia (increased levels of the milk-producing hormone prolactin), hypertestosteronemia (high male hormone levels), and luteal phase defect (low progesterone levels in the second half of the cycle) are few examples of hormonal imbalance

What are the important female hormones and their functions in fertility?

Estrogen, progesterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) play a key role in female fertility.

  • Estrogen: It is released from growing follicles in the ovaries. It helps in bone formation, maintains cholesterol levels, and forms secondary sexual characteristics such as pubic hair, breast, etc. An optimal level of estrogen in the body helps to maintain optimal fertility. Low estrogen levels can prevent ovulation and will not produce a follicle. Estrogen causes the thickening of the uterus lining and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. However, the uterus lining remains thin due to a lack of estrogen and unable to support a pregnancy.

  • Progesterone: It has a crucial role in reproduction. Progesterone deficiency in women can have trouble with premenstrual spotting and conceiving. Progesterone is involved in various functions in the body during ovulation, conception, and pregnancy. It also supports the development of an embryo.

  • LH: It is released from the pituitary gland and regulates the menstrual cycle and ovulation. High estrogen levels stimulate the production of LH.

  • FSH: It regulates the growth and development of the human body and controls reproductive processes. FSH stimulates follicles in the ovary to grow and prepares for ovulation.

What are the important male hormones and their functions in fertility?

Testosterone, estrogen, LH and FSH play a significant role in male fertility. 

  • Testosterone: It is released from testicles and essential for developing the testis, prostate, and secondary sexual characteristics of a man. It has a crucial role in libido, sexual arousal, erection, etc.
  • Estrogen: Low level of estrogen is responsible for reduced sexual function. Excess estrogen can cause erectile dysfunction, low or lack of libido, low sperm count and lowered seminal fluid production.
  • LH: It triggers the production of testosterone and important for sperm production.
  • FSH: It is vital for the initiation of spermatogenesis.

What are the causes of hormonal imbalance?

There are various causes of hormonal imbalance. They are mostly associated with depression, sedentary lifestyle, sleep disturbance, obesity, alcoholic drinks, smoking, etc. Studies reported that an increased level of stress hormones inhibits the body's primary sex hormone and suppresses ovulation, sperm count and sexual activity. Severe stress results in a lack of libido and lowers general fertility.              

Hormonal imbalance can also occur due to inherited links to obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and cardiovascular disease, etc.

Obese women may experience period irregularities, anovulation, and infertility problems. Obesity in men reduces the levels of testosterone that have an impact on testis function.

How to treat hormonal imbalance?

Various treatment options are offered to an infertile couple based on the cause of hormonal imbalance. A balanced diet helps to maintain the balance in hormone levels. Food high in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids such as fish oil, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils create healthy cell membranes and help hormones to reach their target locations in the body. Limited caffeine and alcohol intake helps regulate hormones. Regular physical activity helps to release chemicals that improve mood. It also enhances testosterone production. Consult with a doctor before taking any medication for hormonal imbalance.

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