How Does a Hormone Imbalance Impact Fertility?

man sitting on couch with laptop next to woman looking at a pregnancy test with concerned expression

People sometimes spend years preventing pregnancy, so when it comes time to start a family, it might surprise some couples that getting pregnant is not always easy. Trying month after month without seeing that positive result on the pregnancy test can be discouraging and emotionally draining.

Most couples can achieve pregnancy within six months to a year, but if you have any symptoms of a hormonal imbalance, it is crucial to seek help sooner rather than later. After proper treatment, support, and information, most women will conceive. If you have asked yourself how a hormone imbalance could impact fertility, our staff is available and happy to answer your questions.

Hormone Imbalance and its Effects on Fertility

A hormone imbalance is characterized by too much, too little, or out-of-sync hormone production. The proper balance and interactions between hormones ensure appropriate cycles, timing, and ovulation in women. In men, hormones support appropriate sperm motility, morphology, and count. If an imbalance arises within the reproductive hormones of women or men, it can negatively impact fertility.

Importance of Reproductive Hormones in Women

A network of interactions between a women’s body and her hormones ensures a successful pregnancy. First, hormones must signal the ovaries to produce a female reproductive cell or egg. A different hormone triggers the ovaries to release the fully formed egg into the fallopian tubes, while another hormone instructs the walls of the uterus to thicken in support of the implantation of a fertilized egg. Impaired fertility can occur if any part of the process becomes imbalanced with inappropriate amounts of hormones or inaccurate timing.

Importance of Reproductive Hormones in Men

It is much less likely for men to suffer fertility issues as a result of hormone irregularities compared to women, but it can still occur. When male hormones are not at appropriate levels, sex drive, ability to achieve and sustain an erection, sperm production, and sperm health can all diminish.

Causes of Reproductive Hormonal Imbalance

In women, any hormone imbalance that impacts ovulation is going to also impact fertility. The most diagnosed conditions are anovulation, hyperprolactinemia, and polycystic ovary syndrome. Any of these conditions may cause infrequent ovulation or stop ovulation altogether.

While it is rare for men to experience hormone imbalances that impair fertility, excessive stress, poor diet, alcohol or steroid abuse, or chemicals in the environment can exacerbate the effects of hormonal irregularities. In rare cases, a pituitary tumor may be the cause of reproductive hormone failure.

Symptoms of Hormone Irregularity

Hormone imbalance is the number one cause of infertility among women. Less commonly, a hormone imbalance will affect the reproductive ability of men. Fortunately, lifestyle changes and medication will treat most cases of male reproductive hormone imbalances. Symptoms of reproductive hormone imbalances will look different in women versus men, although there may be some overlap like fatigue, brain fog, irritability, or hot flashes.

Symptoms of hormonal imbalance in women include:

  • Amenorrhea
  • Spotting between menstrual cycles
  • Heavy periods
  • Excess hair growth on the face or chest
  • Weight gain

Symptoms of hormone irregularities in men include:

  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Reduced sperm count
  • Reduced body hair
  • Breast tissue development or tenderness
  • Male pattern hair loss

Find out if a Hormone Imbalance is Impacting Your Fertility

When a hormonal imbalance is the suspected cause of infertility, a trusted healthcare practitioner’s first step is to perform a thorough evaluation. We can provide a comprehensive exam to check your and your partner’s reproductive hormones and overall health. You are not alone. We understand how exciting and challenging this journey can be, which is why we are here to increase excitement and decrease challenges.

If you’re wondering how a hormone imbalance could impact fertility, our skilled staff is available to answer all your questions and ensure you are comfortable and informed with each step of your treatment. Let us support you through the process.