14 Factors that can negatively affect ovulation and your fertility

Take a read of the most common factors that affect ovulation and your fertility..................

 

Age

It is a well-known fact that the older you are the more difficult it is to conceive. The average age of the menopause and the end of a woman’s reproductive life is around 52 years of age. However even a decade or so before she may experience fertility problems, as her cycles become less regular and the quality of her eggs decline. Tragically, some women experience a premature menopause as early as their 30’s or 40’s.

There is no definitive age when fertility starts to decline and every woman is different, however it’s important for women of any age who are struggling to conceive to get advice sooner rather than later.

Hereditary factors

Women will generally experience the menopause around the same time that their mother did. So, ask your mother how old she was when she went through the menopause. This will give you a good idea of when it may happen for you so you can make decisions on when to start a family or to seek help if time is running out.

Smoking

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t smoke when you are pregnant, but few women realise the impact that smoking can have on your fertility. The shocking facts are that smoking ages your ovaries by 10 years and smoking can adversely affect the ease in which the egg travels down the fallopian tubes to meet the sperm.

Alcohol

In an ideal world it would be preferable not to drink alcohol at all when trying to conceive. However, it is advisable for women not to drink more than 4 units of alcohol a week (a couple of glasses of wine) and less if you can. Alcohol is incredibly damaging to ovarian health and research has shown that women who drink more than the recommend amount are more likely to need fertility treatments. Binge drinking is an absolute ‘no no’ and is thought that this may increase your risks of developing PCOS, for example.

Toxins

Exposure to pollutants, pesticides and industrial compounds found in the work place can have a significant affect on your ability to conceive. However there is concern that even everyday chemicals found in the home may also have a direct effect on your fertility. PCB’s found in plastics such as plastic cups and plates and cling film and phthalates, parabens and phenoxyethanol found in both beauty and cleaning products are the ones to avoid. Do a toxin cleanse and throw out any product made with these chemicals and switch to natural beauty and cleaning products.

Obesity

If you are very overweight it is very likely that your cycle will be or become irregular. The delicate balance of your hormones is affected when you are overweight and this in turn decreases ovarian function, meaning that you are likely to experience irregular ovulation. However the good news is that by making some lifestyle changes and effective weight loss, a woman will begin to ovulate more frequently and so restore her fertility.

Low body weight

As well as being overweight, a very low body weight can affect your ability to conceive. In this situation ovulation can be completely turned off. A healthy body max index (BMI) is required to optimise your ability to conceive and should be between 18-24.

Excessive exercise

Whilst maintaining a good body weight and enjoying exercising is important to help you conceive, exercising too much can have a negative impact on ovulation. This is common in female athletes but research has shown that normal weight women who exercised vigorously for more than 5 hours per week found it more difficult to conceive.

Hormonal Contraception

Some methods of birth control may delay the return of your fertility for a short while. For example after stopping the combined contraceptive pill or the injection it can take a few months for ovulation to return and for your fertility to get back to normal.

Thyroid disease

A recent research study supported the belief that thyroid disorders can contribute to ovulation problems as well as increasing the risk of miscarriage. Whilst women with known thyroid problems will be managed by their doctor and taking the appropriate medication, even women with mild and undiagnosed hypothyroidism may find problems conceiving. Ask your doctor for a thyroid check to make sure that this is not the case for you.

Caffeine

Over the last few years there has been a great deal of interest in to the affects caffeine may have on fertility. One study even revealed that drinking 5 or more cups of coffee a day reduce the chances of successful IVF by half. Take a look at your caffeine intake (and this includes tea, carbonated drinks and chocolate) and reduce down to 1 or 2 cups per day, substituting for more healthy options.

Medical conditions

Certain medical conditions such as PCOS, endometriosis, fibroids and autoimmune disorders such as lupus can make it more difficult to conceive. The key is getting a diagnosis and the right treatment. If you are trying to conceive for a while and are concerned that you may have a medical condition that is contributing to your problems, see your doctor to discuss this early.

Sexual Health

Certain sexually transmitted infections can impact on your fertility and it’s a good idea to get your sexual health checked. If necessarily infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhoea can be treated before they affect your ability to conceive.

Stress

In many ways, a little bit of stress is good for us. It motivates us to make changes and move forward. However excessive and prolonged stress is counter-productive and can have a very negative effect on fertility. Our bodies are actually conditioned to prevent conception occurring at the time of chronic stress, allowing our bodily reserves to concentrate on more immediate survival. Recent research shows that stress increases the levels of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. This in turn inhibits the release of gonadotropin releasing hormone, which is responsible for the release of the female sex hormones. Subsequently this may suppress ovulation.

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