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4 Unexpected Causes of Infertility

4 Unexpected Causes of Infertility

Although the population seems abundantly fertile — more than eight billion people live on our planet — about one in six adults is infertile. Infertility can stem from many factors, including structural or hormonal abnormalities, in both women and men.

However, about one in five infertile couples receive a diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” after undergoing fertility work-ups. Infertility can be devastating to both partners, especially if they’ve been trying to have a child for years without success.

At Enrich Family Practice, our expert nurse practitioners help you and your partner discover why you’re having trouble getting pregnant. Depending on your diagnosis, we may recommend therapies that address ovulation issues and sperm abnormalities at our clinic in Odessa, Texas.

Are you struggling with infertility? Here are four unexpected factors that may contribute to infertility.

1. You’re exposed to environmental toxins

Toxic chemicals fuel our modern world and affect everything from the air we breathe to the food we eat. In addition, you or your partner may be exposed to toxic chemicals at work. 

Even many of the products we use in the comfort and “safety” of our own homes are toxic enough to disrupt fertility. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), such as those found in plastic and other products, can cause ovarian dysfunction and sperm abnormalities. 

Heavy metals can be another culprit. Heavy metals and EDCs are found in a wide variety of products, including: 

Smoking is another toxin that can impair fertility in both women and men.

2. You’re overweight or underweight

Your body needs to feel safe and healthy to sustain a new life. Both being overweight and being underweight can impair your fertility. 

When you’re overweight or obese, your fat cells grow and release more of a hormone called estrogen. Hormonal birth control works by creating excess estrogen in your body, which makes it think it’s already pregnant and therefore holds off on ovulating. Too much estrogen from fat cells produces the same effect.

If you’re underweight, however, your body stops making estrogen altogether. You may stop ovulating or having menstrual periods. Excessive exercise can also create this effect.

3. You’re under too much stress

Infertility causes stress, and excess stress can exacerbate infertility. Stress may send signals to your body that you’re not in a safe enough position to have a baby. It can also cause low-grade inflammation that may affect fertility.

More likely, though, when you’re feeling stressed, you may find it difficult to relax enough to enjoy sex and have enough sex to get pregnant. You may also have more difficulty exploring reasons for your infertility and finding solutions that could work for you.

If you feel stressed — either from daily life or from the challenges of infertility — we can help you develop a self-care routine that mitigates its effects. We may recommend deep breathing, meditation, daily exercise, or therapy to help you and your body feel more relaxed.

4. You have unstable sleep or dietary patterns

If you work the night shift, you may find it more difficult to get pregnant than your friends who work day shifts. Your body is designed to respond to sunlight's presence or absence. The blue light of morning wakes us up; the black of night tells our body to sleep. 

However, that circadian rhythm gets disrupted when you work a night shift. Circadian disruptions affect the levels of hormones such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and prolactin. Disruptions could come in the form of:

In addition, your body responds to both the types of foods that you eat and when you eat them. If you struggle with infertility, we look at your lifestyle to determine what factors could be throwing off essential functions and sending your body signals that it’s not safe or healthy to get pregnant.

Are you puzzled by why you and your partner struggle with infertility? Call us at 432-200-9052 for an infertility consultation today. You can also use our convenient online form to schedule your appointment.

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