The complexity of female reproductive system can be judged from the fact that even the slightest imbalance in the hormones can result in difficulty in conception and even female infertility. Estrogen and progesterone are the hormones which play a key role in the reproductive functioning of women, as these a direct bearing on ovulation and embryo implantation. Estrogen, in particular, has far reaching influence on fertility and even minute variations in the levels of the hormone can make the all difference in the result of an attempt to conceive naturally or by IVF. Let us know all about the hormone and the way it influences the ability to conceive.
The Role of Estrogen
Primarily, estrogen is concerned with making the uterus receptive for the embryo to be implanted therein. It makes the endometrial tissue thicker so that it can support the embryo for pregnancy to take place. Too much or too little of the hormone can have a negative impact on the window of opportunity during which the embryo implantation takes place and thus can reduce the chances of pregnancy.
Estrogen Dominance and Female Infertility
As the name suggests, estrogen dominance is a condition which is characterized by higher level of estrogen in comparison with progesterone. The female reproductive functioning is all about the timing as well as efficiency of each hormone as they perform their respective roles. As the menstrual cycle commences and progresses towards its first half, the levels of estrogen are high and reach their peak when ovulation takes place. After this, the hormone levels start declining while progesterone takes over and goes on increasing during the subsequent part of the cycle.
When a woman comes across estrogen dominance, she can come across symptoms such as irregularity of menstrual cycle, unprecedented weight gain, water retention, headache, depression and anxiety. It could also cause serious complications such as endometriosis, PCOS, fibroids, amenorrhea (absence of periods), hypermenorrhea (excessive bleeding during periods) and uterine cancer, which could result in female infertility. Additionally, estrogen dominance has been linked by reduced libido which can be a key cause of inability to conceive.
Causes of Estrogen Dominance
A variety of factors can contribute to estrogen dominance in a woman’s body. These include:
Obesity and intake of high fat foods increases the risk of estrogen imbalance as fat contains an enzyme which converts adrenal steroids into estrogen.
Stress also elevates estrogen levels as well as lowers progesterone levels as it exhausts the adrenal glands and makes them work an extra bit to regulate the hormone levels.
Unhealthy dietary habits such as consumption of caffeine and sugar-laden foods can again increase the estrogen levels in the body. At the same time, deficiency of vitamin B6 and magnesium can have a baneful impact on the hormonal balance.
Exposure to environmental xenoestrogens is another widely prevalent cause of estrogen dominance as these substances replicate natural estrogen and elevate the level of the hormone in the woman’s body. Human exposure to pesticides, pollutants and growth hormones through food sources puts them at high risk of xenoestrogen intake.
Hormone replacement therapy can be another cause of high estrogen levels as these drugs can cause hormonal imbalance, being high in estrogen and low in progesterone.
The exact cause of estrogen imbalance needs to be established by the specialist to follow the right line of treatment for treating the resulting female infertility.
Dealing with Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance is a condition that is better dealt with by following natural treatments and remedies to restore the delicate hormonal balance. The best way is to adopt the right diet which can lower the natural estrogen levels in the body. Increasing fiber intake and consumption of diet low in caffeine, fat and sugar can be effective for the same. Foods high in phytoestrogens such as soy products and cereals are also useful.
A healthy lifestyle with weight control measures is effective for lowering the risk of estrogen dominance. It is equally vital to minimize the exposure to environmental xenoestrogens in pesticides and pollutants. Raw foods should be washed well before cooking or consuming. Similarly, it is important to avoid stress and anxiety to maintain the hormonal balance.
While estrogen dominance influences female fertility by shortening the fertility window, its deficiency can also compromise with the same. Too little estrogen can interfere with ovulation as well as disable the uterine lining from reaching the desired thickness that can support embryo implantation. It can result in symptoms such as reduced libido, migraine, vaginal dresses and hot flashes. The most common cause of deficiency of the hormone is the improper functioning of the pituitary gland. The hormone’s production is regulated by Luteinizing Hormone and too little of that can influence the estrogen levels in the body. The doctor may recommend medication to make up for this deficiency, while certain herbs and supplements are effective for this purpose.
As it has been seen, estrogen levels need to be balanced to maintain fertility of a woman. Too much or too little of the hormone can hamper the ability to conceive. Therefore, this is one of the parameters to be evaluated while diagnosing the reason of infertility and treating it accordingly.
Gaudium IVF is one of the top infertility clinics in Delhi and it offers comprehensive infertility treatment and gynecological care to its patients. Visit Gaudium IVF for free second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, the leading infertility specialist in Delhi.