The Role Of Hormones In Infertility: How Fertility Medications Can Help

Trouble Getting Pregnant?

Infertility is the inability of a woman or couple to conceive children naturally after trying for at least 1 year. The signs of infertility are different in both men and women, but both genders can suffer from the condition. A reproductive endocrinologist can help determine if hormones are playing a role in the inability to conceive and provide treatment options.

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How do hormones affect fertility?

Acting as messengers that relay information to different organs in the body, hormones prompt the body to perform certain functions. When hormones are imbalanced, producing too much or too little, then fertility issues may occur. In regards to reproduction, the female hormones control ovulation and menstruation. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries into the uterus. Some of the main female reproductive hormones are progesterone, estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), and luteinizing hormone (LH). In men, the main hormones involved in sperm production and function are LH, FSH, and testosterone.

Imbalanced hormones

A variety of internal and external factors can cause hormone imbalances. Natural bodily events like puberty, menstruation, and menopause will cause hormonal fluctuations. These occurrences are considered internal factors. Other internal factors like tumors, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune disease can also lead to hormone imbalances. External factors, including stress, poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, and certain medications can also cause hormonal imbalances.

Identifying the issue

To fix hormonal imbalances, the doctor must first identify the root cause. The healthcare provider will perform blood tests to check FSH, LH, and other values. A physical examination should also be performed to check the body for any significant changes. Once the problem is identified, the doctor will work with the patient to develop a treatment plan. For couples interested in conceiving, this plan can include taking fertility medications.

The purpose of fertility medication

For women, fertility medications can help regulate ovulation. The medications can be taken orally or injected directly into the body. Some of these medications stimulate the production of reproductive hormones, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which regulate egg production. Ovulation-inducing medications work by sending messages to the pituitary gland, a major organ involved in the reproductive process. Other medications can replace the hormones the body is unable to reproduce. These drugs are called synthetic hormones. Dosage varies based on the doctor’s recommendation.

Possible side effects

The patient will be monitored closely while on fertility medications so any concerns can be addressed directly with the physician. In some instances, taking fertility medication can lead to multiple births, such as twins or triplets. Other side effects may include nausea, stomach pain, and dizziness. Some patients may develop other health conditions while taking fertility medications, so working with a fertility specialist is key to ensuring the patient’s overall health.

Balanced for baby

Patients struggling with conception should consult a physician. A referral to a fertility specialist can be made if hormonal imbalances are suspected. These experts will work with patients to understand the medical history, conduct appropriate testing, and explore different treatment options. Thanks to medication, balanced hormones and a healthy pregnancy are both possible.

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