A woman’s ability to conceive is influenced by a number of factors such as her age, quality of eggs, and reproductive health, to name just a few. In addition to these, the hormonal balance is a parameter that has direct bearing on female fertility. A number of reproductive hormones are synthesized in a woman’s body. These “female” hormones govern her reproductive function and even a minor imbalance in these can cause female infertility.
Hormonal diagnostic tests are amongst the first ones to be performed when a patient seeks treatment from an infertility clinic. If the problem lies therein, the specialist would recommend medications to restore the hormonal balance. Most of the times, the condition is treatable and conception is possible once the woman completes the treatment. It is, therefore, important to be aware of hormonal issues and get medical help in time.
Female Reproductive Hormones That Influence Fertility
When female reproductive hormones are mentioned, it is progesterone and estrogen which come to mind. But there are some other lesser known ones which have an equal impact on a woman’s ability to conceive. In fact, each of these is related with a key reproductive function. An imbalance in any of these poses a unique challenge for the patient and the infertility specialist. Getting rid of these challenges is as simple as making adjustment to create a balance in the hormonal levels. Let us know all about these key female reproductive hormones:
Progesterone is one of the most vital female hormones. It performs the significant function of thickening the endometrial lining to facilitate embryo implantation. Imbalance in progesterone manifests itself in the form of a short luteal phase, the time between ovulation and onset of menstrual period. This results in the uterine lining not getting mature enough to support the embryo. As a result, the woman will be unable to conceive and if she does, there are chances of miscarriage. Infertility induced by imbalance in progesterone levels is fairly easy to treat.
Estrogen imbalance is another common cause of hormone-related female infertility. This hormone is primarily responsible for regulation the ovulation function. Low estrogen levels prevent the thickening of endometrial lining. On the other hand, too much of the hormone can cause irregularity of menstrual cycle and hinder fertility. The condition can be treated with medication and alternative therapies too.
Another important female reproductive hormone is Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which carries out the function of regulating the ovulation and menstrual cycle. The hormone level surges during the luteal phase, just before ovulation. LH levels indicate the ovarian reserve (the number of viable eggs available) of a woman. A low level of LH translates into poor chances of conception as it indicates a poor ovarian reserve. It also means that the pituitary gland is not functioning properly. Conversely, a high LH level indicates the chances of PCOS, menopause or improper function of ovaries.
Prolactin is concerned with production of breast milk in women who just given birth. In others, it is responsible for triggering the hormones that bring about ovulation and help the egg to mature. An imbalance in prolactin too can cause female infertility issues, with irregular ovulation and erratic menstrual cycle. Timely treatment can restore the balance in no time and enable a woman to have a healthy pregnancy.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is another hormone linked with female fertility. As the name suggests, this hormone stimulates the follicle to produce viable eggs. A high level of FSH is found in women who have a compromised ovarian function (due to age or other factors). Pregnancy becomes difficult in such circumstances.
Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)
Another hormone which acts as a parameter of measuring a woman’s ovarian reserve is Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH). The hormone levels indicate the number of eggs that a woman still has left in her ovaries. A low AMH level mean that the chances of pregnancy are bleak as the woman lacks a sufficient number of viable eggs.
Besides the female reproductive hormones, the thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T4) and thyroxine (T3) are also linked with female fertility. An imbalance in these hormones can disrupt reproductive function and they must be brought to the right levels to yield a healthy pregnancy.
Common Symptoms of Hormonal Imbalance
When a woman experiences any of the following symptoms, she should seek medical guidance immediately. The common signs that give an indication of hormonal imbalance are as follows:
- Irregular menstrual cycle
- Severe acne
- Growth of facial hair and hair on other body parts
- Unexplained weight gain
- Mood swings
These warning symptoms should be taken seriously and diagnosis and treatment should be sought for them. It is important to get help in time, particularly if her biological clock is ticking. Additionally, if a woman does get pregnant despite the hormonal imbalance, she needs the doctor’s advice regarding handling it during pregnancy.
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