Infertility is a fairly common issue that affects one out of every ten couples. If you’re struggling to conceive, it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Fortunately, we’ve made great strides when it comes to identifying what causes infertility, which helps us overcome many challenges. One common cause is hormones. Our bodies are complex, especially when it comes to hormones. These chemical substances serve as messengers, coordinating different functions throughout the entire body. One of those is fertility and it can sometimes be difficult to get pregnant with low hormone levels. Here’s what you should know about low hormone levels and fertility.
What are hormonal causes of female infertility?
When we discuss fertility issues, hormonal causes of female infertility are often possible. If you’re experiencing irregular menstrual cycles, acne, and mood swings, your hormones could be to blame. The good news? Hormonal causes of female infertility can usually be corrected through medication, lifestyle changes, or a combination of both.
Conception is an intricate process. It relies on a variety of hormones to encourage ovulation and implantation. Too much or too little of these hormones can result in unpleasant symptoms, as well as fertility challenges. What causes hormones to become imbalanced in the first place? There are several different possibilities, including:
- Ovarian Failure: A condition in which the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods stop before age 40. This can cause premature menopause and cannot be overcome, often resulting in the need for donor eggs. AMH is a marker for ovarian reserve but significant values depend on patients age. Through an AMH test, a woman can find out if they have, or may soon develop ovarian failure. The Fertility Institute can help patients with egg donation who are suffering from ovarian failure as this is the only treatment.
- Hypothalamic dysfunction: The hypothalamus is a part of your brain that controls reproduction by producing the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRh). This hormone signals the production of the follicle stimulation hormone and the luteinizing hormone, both of which are necessary for egg production and ovulation. If it stops producing these necessary hormones, ovulation and menstruation may stop, resulting in infertility. Once a woman is diagnosed with this condition, it is treatable by administering FSH and LH in mitered doses by a Reproductive Endocrinologist. For some women, the uterus may need to be increased before undergoing this treatment. This is done by administering estrogen for 3 or more months.
- Lifestyle: High levels of stress, extreme levels of dieting or exercise, poor diet or sleep habits, and weight issues can all cause hormonal imbalances. Drug or alcohol abuse can also lead to low hormone levels and infertility.
By pinpointing the underlying cause of a hormonal imbalance, your fertility team can develop a unique treatment plan for you.
Can you get pregnant with low hormone levels?
In short, the answer is generally yes, even if there are challenges along the way. As mentioned, getting pregnant with low hormone levels depends on the cause of the imbalance.
Females should make an appointment with their physician if they have not had a period in several months. Men should track any symptoms they’re experiencing, such as decreased sex drive or issues with erections.
After, your doctor will likely conduct fertility tests, including a semen analysis. These will include blood work to measure hormone levels and sometimes an ultrasound for women. Through this type of imaging, your doctor can take a closer look at your ovaries and uterus. You can learn more about fertility tests here.
How to get pregnant with low hormone levels
There are many treatment options that can address the hormonal causes of female and male infertility. In some cases, this will involve drug or hormone therapy to regulate your ovulation patterns or hormonal levels. You can discuss these medications in greater detail with your fertility specialist, depending on the underlying cause of your low hormone levels.
For some patients, lifestyle changes may also be the key to balancing hormones and achieving pregnancy. Diet, exercise, and sleep are all important factors when it comes to fertility. Your doctor may recommend more whole grains, vegetables, and healthy fats. In combination with a prenatal vitamin and daily exercise, these simple changes can have an effect on your fertility.
For those who still have trouble conceiving, the primary treatment is ovulation induction with gonadotropins used in IVF followed by IUI. This should be done by a reproductive endocrinologist. In some cases, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is needed. IVF can be used in combination with other treatments, such as hormone therapy, egg donation, or a surrogate carrier. The latter is an especially important option if a woman runs the risk of a miscarriage by carrying a child to term.
The Fertility Institute has been helping our patients achieve pregnancy for more than thirty years. Our team can run fertility tests to diagnose the cause of your infertility and suggest treatment approaches that could help.
If you live in Louisiana or one of our neighboring states, we invite you to reach out to The Fertility Institute to learn more about your options. Our goal is to help you start the family of your dreams.