Starting a family can be a difficult process and understanding the medical factors is part of this process. It is helpful to learn more about your hormones and how they affect your body, your fertility, and your everyday life. When most people hear the word “hormones” they think of kids becoming adults, acne, moodiness, maybe even love-struck teenagers. One of the other most common subjects is the reproductive system. Red Rock Fertility Center is here to discuss and educate our readers on hormones and how they affect your fertility.
What Exactly Are Hormones & How Do They Affect My Body?
To start our journey of learning about how hormones affect fertility, we must first start with the main definition of hormones and the human body. Created by glands within the endocrine system, hormones are chemical messengers in your body that control some of your major bodily functions such as hunger, emotion, and our featured topic; reproduction.
Within the endocrine system, there are a variety of glands that make up your hormones. Understanding these major hormones and what they do will allow you to take your overall health into your own hands. Below are the major hormone-producing glands within the body:
- Pituitary: This is the “master” of the glands which controls the other glands and produces the hormones that trigger growth.
- Hypothalamus: Responsible for body temperature, hunger, moods, thirst, sleep, and the release of hormones from other glands and sex drive.
- Adrenal: Release hormones that control sex drive and stress.
- Ovaries: Only in women, ovaries produce the female sex hormones; estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone.
- Testes: Only in men, testes produce the male sex hormones; sperm and testosterone.
- Parathyroid: Control calcium in your body.
- Thymus: Helps the body when it comes to the immune system and producing T-cells.
- Pancreas: Produces insulin which helps control your body’s blood sugar levels.
- Thyroid: Hormones that are associated with calorie burning and heart rate.
- Pineal: Produces serotonin derivatives of melatonin, which affects sleep.
All 10 of these glands within the endocrine system work together to help create and manage the body’s major hormones. Now that you know a little more about these glands, it’s much easier to understand their role in pregnancy. Without hormones, some of the most important bodily processes would not be possible!
How do Hormones Play into My Pregnancy?
If you’re currently having complications conceiving a child, you may suspect that a hormone irregularity could be part of the problem. In our list of the major hormone producing glands mentioned above, some may sound like they have to do with pregnancy more than others, but in a lot of cases a wide variety of these hormones come into play.
With a long list of hormone imbalances to investigate, it becomes difficult to address these infertility challenges. However, Dr. Littman and the staff at Red Rock Fertility Center can help make the right adjustments to properly address the hormone problem at hand and find a proper hormonal imbalance treatment for you.
So, what exactly causes a hormonal imbalance? The two most common cases of causing a hormonal imbalance include a thyroid dysfunction or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). And how do these hormonal imbalances impact fertility? The two most common issues that are linked to imbalances of the hormones include:
- Ovulatory Dysfunction: A decrease or prevention of the regularity of the ovulation cycle. When ovulation is interrupted, pregnancy becomes difficult because there is no egg to fertilize.
- Short Luteal Phases: The luteal phase is the time period in your body that follows ovulation, with the average luteal phase ranging from 13 to 14 days. If your specific phase is shorter than 10 days, the fertilized embryo may not have enough time to implant which can cause a prevention when trying to get pregnant.
What are the Signs of Hormone Imbalance?
Although medical terms are helpful, it helps to know the easily-identified factors as well. Listed are some of the most common signs of hormonal imbalance to look out for in women when it comes to fertility:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Irregular bleeding
- New or worsening acne
- Production of facial hair
- Male-pattern body hair or hair loss
- Unexplainable weight gain
- Dramatic mood changes
- Unexplained fatigue
- Vaginal dryness/Low libido
- Reduced sex drive
Understanding the medical terminology of hormones along with the most common signs of hormonal imbalance are keys to getting your fertility on the right track. Whether you’re on the path to parenthood or are planning on starting a family soon, it’s important to know how your hormones affect fertility, what you can do to eliminate the issues, and when to seek out medical help.
Whether you’re looking to start a family right away or are planning for the future of a family, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor if you are experiencing common signs of a hormonal imbalance. Not only do hormones impact your reproductive system, but they also come into play when it comes to other functions of the body. Dr. Littman and the staff at Red Rock Fertility Center are happy to help explain additional information about your hormones, potential hormonal imbalance treatment, and how you can start growing your family today!