A large number of women today are having difficulty trying to become pregnant. In fact, CDC research shows that 6.7 million women in the US are unable to have a child.
While nearly half of infertility cases in women can be attributed to physical causes such as not producing an egg or problems with the uterine lining, many cases are left unexplained. In the absence of a physical cause, female infertility may be explained by something as simple as a hormonal imbalance.
Common hormone-related causes of female infertility often involve the following scenarios:
Progesterone produced by the ovaries during the second half of the menstrual cycle is essential for preparing the uterus for implantation of the fertilized egg. In some women, ovulation and fertilization of the egg may occur normally but progesterone is not produced in sufficient amounts to sustain pregnancy.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
PCOS affects between 6% and 15% of women during their reproductive years. PCOS is a common cause of ovulation problems, weight issues and miscarriages. Once PCOS is recognized and treated, many women are able to become pregnant.
Low levels of thyroid hormones may prevent ovulation, which can be indicated by no periods or irregular cycles. Autoimmune thyroid issues, resulting in elevated levels of antibodies to the thyroid gland can increase the risk of miscarriages.
Low Egg Reserve
Declining egg production is the primary reason for the age-related decline in fertility. A low egg reserve can also be caused by premature ovarian failure.
Stress affects ovulation because of its impact on the endocrine system. High cortisol can inhibit ovulation, where low cortisol can affect the immune changes necessary for implantation to occur. Stress may also lead to the development of endometriosis, which is found in more than 50% of women with unexplained infertility.