Infertility is very common, it affects approximately 1 out of every 6 couples. Infertility refers to couples that have been unsuccessful in efforts to conceive over the course of one full year. Infertility has increased just like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity has. Excess sugar and subsequent belly fat create hormonal imbalances which can lead to infertility for both men and women.

The causes of infertility are varied, and range from the relatively simple (allergies, hormonal imbalance, etc) to the complex (tubal blockage). A fertility specialist will need to run a series of tests on both partners before deciding which course of treatment to recommend.

Specialists typically divide the causes of infertility into three categories:

Female infertility– failure to ovulate properly (hormonal, age-related, stress-related); cervical infertility (hostile mucus, cervical narrowing); pelvic problems (such as endometriosis or fallopian tube damage); and uterine factors (fibroids, misformed uterus). According to the Mayo Clinic, 40-50% of infertility cases are due to female causes.

In women, excess sugar and belly fat can cause imbalances the physically manifest as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In the most simplest terms, polycystic ovarian syndrome is a nutritional and metabolic problem that negatively affects insulin and other hormones. Polycystic ovarian syndrome affects 8-12% of all women.

Symptoms include:

  • irregular or heavy periods
  • acne
  • facial hair
  • scalp hair loss
  • increased belly fat, and increased levels of testosterone

Ovulation problems are also caused by:

Fallopian tubes or uterus malfunctions can be caused by:

  • pelvic inflammatory disease
  • a previous infection
  • polyps in the uterus
  • endometriosis or fibroids
  • scar tissue or adhesions
  • chronic medical illness
  • a previous ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
  • a birth defect
  • DES syndrome (The medication DES, given to women to prevent miscarriage or premature birth can result in fertility problems for their children.)

Male infertility– lower testosterone, sperm abnormalities (low sperm count, poor motility, misshapen sperm);  decreased sex drive, over-sized breasts, testicular (resulting from infection or injury); or blockage. The Mayo Clinic estimates 20% of cases are due to male factors. Low testosterone levels indicates insulin and other hormone imbalances. It is often caused by excess sugar and belly fat. Lo

Unexplained infertility – may affect one or both partners. This is when all tests return with normal results yet there is still difficulty conceiving. 30-40% of cases are due to both male and female or unexplained factors.

Age, STDs, lifestyle, and environmental factors can contribute to all infertility. Pollution, chemicals in cleaning solutions, pesticides, and some forms of radiation are all examples of environmental factors that scientists suspected may lead to reproductive problems. While exposure to some of these can be limited, others are unavoidable.

Ultimately, regardless of the cause, infertility is a couple’s problem. It will be necessary for both partners to work together with their doctor in finding a solution. The sooner a cause is identified, the sooner treatment can begin.

Chlamydia and Infertility

If left untreated, chlamydia can cause fertility problems in women. This occurs when the chlamydia infection spreads into the fallopian tubes and cause the tubes to become blocked at the ends. Infections can also cause scar tissue around the fallopian tubes which makes it more difficult for the tube to “pick up” the egg at the time of ovulation.

Secondary infertility is the inability conceive or have a full-term pregnancy after having had children without difficulty. It affects more than 3 million women in the U.S.

Common causes are:

  • Advanced Reproductive Age: Women are born with all of the eggs (oocytes) they will ever have. As women age the number and quality of their egg reserve diminishes.
  • Complications of the Reproductive System: Preexisting issues like pelvic adhesions, endometriosis, intrauterine adhesions, and/or fallopian tube abnormalities can cause fertility problems.
  • Male Factor Infertility: Sperm number and quantity decreases in men as they age. Health or medication usage may also affect male fertility.
  • Weight gain: Weight gain can cause ovulatory problems in women and decrease sperm production in men.

Balance your hormones with these tips:

  • Repopulate your gut bacteria
    • Gut microbes from fermented foods, fiber, and probiotics will help repopulate your gut bacteria and can decrease your risk of obesity, PCOS, and hormonal imbalances.
  • Take supplements
    • A boost of nutrients (vitamins D, fish oil, B vitamins, zinc, Coenzyme Q10, Vitamins C and E) can help increase sperm count and otherwise decreasing infertility risk.
  • Exercise consistently
    • Consistent exercise can help balance hormones, reduce sugar cravings, and otherwise improving fertility.
  • Go low-glycemic.
    • Limit your intake of processed and sugary foods and replace them with a low-sugar diet that includes plenty of good fats and lean animal protein. Processed foods usually are packaged in a box and contain several ingredients on the labels(crackers, cereals, pastas, chips, cookies). Processed foods often contain several chemical additives designed to make them last longer and taste better.