ESTIMATED READING TIME 5 MINUTES
Around one in seven couples in the UK today experience problems conceiving. In this blog you’ll learn why sometimes it can be hard to make babies. Plus, you’ll discover some natural solutions for supporting fertility in both men and women.
Infertility is defined as an inability to conceive following at least one year of unprotected sex. Most women with problems conceiving have an issue with ovulation. In the case of men, it’s problems with sperm quantity and quality.
Underlying the majority of issues relating to poor fertility are hormonal imbalances. In men, infertility is linked with low testosterone. This leads to reduced sperm volume, erectile dysfunction, and poor sex drive. At the same time oestrogen, more typically connected with women, climbs too high. This can block testosterone activity and reduce sperm production.
On the other hand, women’s fertility can be caused by either too much or too little oestrogen. Usually, at the same time, progesterone will be low. Unbalanced hormones fail to stimulate ovulation, so no egg is produced. Even if you do ovulate, if you don’t have sufficient progesterone a pregnancy may not develop. This is because you need progesterone to help the egg implant into your womb lining and remain there. This type of hormonal imbalance often also causes menstrual irregularities, particularly heavy or irregular periods.
Many women who experience problems conceiving have issues with their thyroid gland, preventing ovulation. Other conditions associated with poor fertility include polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis, both connected with hormone imbalances. Certain sexually transmitted diseases can cause infertility.
Many factors can potentially lie behind unbalanced hormones.
Your gut is incredibly important for hormone balance, as this is where excess oestrogen is detoxified. If your gut is sluggish, unwanted oestrogen will hang around in your body. Your gut is where nutrient absorption takes place, too. This means if it’s struggling it’s easy to become deficient in one or more nutrients important for fertility and hormone balance. Crucial nutrients for women include vitamins B12, D and E, plus folate, zinc and iron. For men, zinc, selenium and vitamins D and E are particularly important.
Chronic stress depletes progesterone, throwing a woman’s hormones out of balance. It’s nature’s way of ensuring you aren’t at your most fertile when conditions are hostile. Meanwhile, men don’t produce as much testosterone when they’re stressed.
The trouble is, unsuccessfully trying to conceive is a major stressor in itself, so you could end up in a vicious cycle. Although you probably won’t be able to take the stress away, you can learn techniques to help you manage stress, like yoga or deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness.
Certain nutrients are important to help your body manage stress, like B vitamins and Vitamin C. Don’t forget lack of sleep is a major source of stress, so give this priority. This is particularly important for men because most testosterone is produced during sleep. Studies found male shift workers who sleep irregular hours had lower sperm counts than those who did not work shifts.
A diet full of fibre-depleted carbohydrates, sugar and processed foods is linked with lower sperm counts 1. Alcohol consumption can lead to low testosterone and high oestrogen, causing problems with fertility for both men and women.
Some artificial chemicals in the environment can interfere with hormone balance because they mimic oestrogen. These include many plastics used by the food industry. Because of this, it’s best to store food and drinks in glass containers, not plastic.
Laundry, household cleaning and skincare products also contain chemicals linked to unbalanced hormone levels.
Pesticides found in non-organic foods can encourage high oestrogen in men and women, and low testosterone in men.
If you are exposed to a lot of toxins, your liver will be forced to work overtime removing these from your body. Because of this, your liver might not be so efficient at expelling oestrogen once it’s no longer needed. This means the hormone can build up in your body.
Supporting your liver with specific foods, herbs and nutrients will help excess oestrogen to be efficiently detoxified.
Functional medicine considers you as a whole person, every part of you interconnected. Any decline in fertility will have its roots in imbalances in one or more body systems.
We will examine your diet, nutrient status and lifestyle, and use functional testing where necessary to assess any hormone imbalances, nutrient deficiencies or toxins. Armed with this information, we’ll provide you with natural actionable strategies. These may include foods to enjoy, nutritional supplements and herbs along with lifestyle measures to naturally improve your fertility.
Understanding the root causes of your fertility issues means they can be addressed and lasting results obtained. Let us help you create a healthy baby. We’ll be with you every step of the way.
Start your journey of Natural Support for Fertility by contacting Embracing Nutrition Today
Do you need personalised natural support for fertility? Then book a free 15-minute discovery call to see if Functional Medicine is for you.
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