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12 Factors Affecting Female Fertility You Didn’t Even Know

Most people are already aware that a woman’s fertility declines as she gets older. That way, those who want to get pregnant “first time”, if possible, should avoid leaving it too late.

Ana Paula Aquino, a specialist in human reproduction at the Huntington Group, explains that women are born with a certain number of eggs, reaching puberty with an average of 300,000 eggs available in their ovaries. “Every menstrual cycle a few hundred eggs are recruited, so that only one reaches maturation and subsequent ovulation. Unfortunately, there is no way to regenerate the amount of eggs over a lifetime. Therefore, a woman’s fertility is proportional to her age. Until the age of 30, a healthy woman has a considerably good ovulation quantity and quality and tends to have fewer problems getting pregnant,” she says.

From the age of 35, highlights the specialist, a woman’s egg reserve starts to decrease considerably, with the natural drop in fertility, and this becomes more visible after 40. eggs prone to errors in their cell division, producing more embryos with genetic alterations, which are impediments to generating a healthy pregnancy, thus increasing the rate of miscarriage”, he explains.

However, what not everyone knows is that, even during the most fertile years, some lifestyle choices and external factors can affect a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. Below you know factors – some even unusual – that can negatively affect a woman’s fertility.

1. Obesity

Ana Paula explains that obese women have an altered metabolism of sex steroid hormones. “Like, for example, the increase in estrogen production, produced both by the ovary and by adipose tissue. This can trigger ovulatory changes such as menstrual irregularity, absence of menstruation (amenorrhea), change in endometrial receptivity – which makes it difficult for the embryo to implant – or increasing the chance of miscarriages,” she says.

The main causes of infertility in obese patients, according to the specialist, are: reduced ovulation frequency, changes in sex steroids, poorer oocyte and embryo quality.

How to avoid?

Ana Paula explains that the ideal, in order to avoid these disorders, is to maintain a BMI (body mass index) between 20 and 25 kg/m2, considered normal. “Up to 30 kg/m2 may be acceptable, even considered overweight. A proper diet and regular physical activity can prevent this factor,” she highlights.

2. Excessive thinness

Both obesity and excessive thinness, with a BMI below 17 kg/m2, impair female fertility. “The lack of weight interferes with hormone production, decreasing the production of estrogen in the body, and can lead to disturbances in the menstrual and ovulatory cycle, causing difficulty in conception”, explains Ana Paula.

How to avoid?

According to the expert, to avoid this type of problem, a woman must have a balanced and healthy diet, without exaggeration in the search for a perfect body.

3. Thyroid Disorders

Marcello Valle, specialist in Human Reproduction, and director of the Origen clinic (RJ), explains that hypothyroidism (when the amount of hormones produced by the thyroid is below normal) is very common in women. “And, when left unchecked, it can decrease fertility by interfering with the so-called pituitary-ovarian hormonal axis,” he says.

How to avoid?

The specialist points out that, by looking for a doctor early, the disease can be easily diagnosed through blood tests and thyroid ultrasound, and treatment, soon started.

4. Excessive Caffeine

Do you love a cup of coffee?! Taking it in moderation is not a problem, on the contrary, it can even offer health benefits. But, in excess, it is not recommended, due to the high amount of caffeine.

Valle points out that, although the relationship between caffeine and fertility is still unclear, consumption in moderation is recommended. “The equivalent of consuming a maximum of two cups of coffee a day is believed to be reasonable,” he says.

How to avoid?

Just don’t exaggerate the amount of coffee and other drinks that contain caffeine (green tea, black tea, cola-based soda, etc.). Drinking two cups of coffee a day, for example, will not pose any risks.

5. Genetics

Ana Paula explains that if a woman has a genetic change in her chromosomal set (karyotype), this can be a factor of infertility. “Genetic alterations can mainly cause repeat miscarriages, which are considered a problem after the third consecutive miscarriage has occurred,” she says.

How to avoid?

In these cases, guides the specialist, it is recommended to seek assisted reproduction treatment, “in addition to a pre-implantation genetic diagnosis, in order to investigate the embryo. In this way, only genetically normal embryos can be transferred”, he highlights.

6. Exposure to household chemicals

Ana Paula explains that some chemical components present in a series of household products, such as cleaning products, paints, foods with dyes, solvents, nail polishes, cosmetics and dyes can be very toxic if handled in excess and can negatively affect female fertility. .

“Some of these components are formaldehyde, ether, perchlorethylene and toluene, among others. The harmful effects found are: spontaneous abortions, fetal malformations, irregular menstruation, in addition to a decrease in fertility as a whole”, highlights the specialist.

How to avoid?

In practice, it is not possible to point out a definitive solution to avoid exposure to such components. But seeking a healthier diet, opting whenever possible for natural foods, is already a path (which will reduce the consumption of foods with dyes at least).

It is interesting to try to avoid, as far as possible, contact with these components. Of course, this task, most of the time, is complicated and difficult to incorporate into the routine, but being aware of these problems is useful and it is a fact that can be discussed and debated with a professional you trust.

7. Professions

Few people know, but some professions, indirectly, can also interfere with fertility, as explained by Valle. “Mainly those with excessive exposure to environmental pollutants, contact with volatile chemicals and those subjected to high temperatures,” he says.

How to avoid?

Once again it is not possible to point out a definitive solution to avoid the problem. The best way is to talk about the matter with a specialist you trust who will be able to guide you in the best way if your profession may be indirectly interfering with your fertility.

Further research is still needed on the effects on fertility (female and male) due to exposure. As a result, these advances will allow the development of preventive actions.

8. Gynecological diseases

Valle explains that micropolycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis and uterine fibroids are very common gynecological diseases that lead several couples to the marital infertility clinic.

How to avoid?

Unfortunately, highlights the specialist, there is no way to prevent them. “But early diagnosis can alleviate symptoms, prevent the progressive worsening of the disease and provide the couple with a more objective path to pregnancy,” he says.

In this context, the need to make regular visits to the gynecologist is reinforced, always being attentive to health in general (regardless of the desire to become pregnant).

9. Smoking

Ana Paula points out that smoking can interfere negatively in a woman’s fertility, and in many factors. “Smoking causes a higher rate of infertility, decreased fertility and increased time to conception. All these factors cause damage to a woman’s reproductive system,” she says.

In addition, the expert adds, the toxic components present in cigarettes can cause early ovarian failure, “accelerating the onset of menopause by one to four years; lower number of ovarian follicles; difficulty in transporting the embryo from the tubes to the uterine cavity, as it affects their ciliary mobility, which can lead to a greater number of tubal ectopic pregnancies; chromosomal and DNA alterations, interfering with gametogenesis; and, finally, a greater number of miscarriages”.

Valle also points out that smoking is a concern in several countries and can affect both female and male fertility.

How to avoid?

Cigarette smoking is a serious addiction, which can offer several health problems (and not just in relation to fertility). That way, there is no other way but to avoid it altogether.

10. Sexually transmitted diseases

Among other problems, sexually transmitted diseases can negatively affect a woman’s fertility.

“They interfere with the immune and inflammatory response, with negative impacts on the functioning of pelvic organs, leading to decreased fertility. In this universe, Chlamydia remains one of the most frequent microorganisms”, highlights Marcello Valle.

How to avoid?

It is essential to avoid sexually transmitted diseases and this can be done mainly through safe sex, done with a condom, and also through regular consultations with the gynecologist, carrying out all the tests requested by him.

11. Stress

Valle explains that, in the last decade, several scientific studies have been linking stress with reduced fertility of the couple, pregnancy losses and worsening perinatal outcomes.

How to avoid?

As difficult as it may seem, it is necessary to make an effort to control stress, which, in excess, can cause several health problems. Good tips for this are: exercise, have a balanced diet (preferably with the guidance of a nutritionist), take time to do things you like, sleep well, have a period of the day exclusively to relax, etc. In some cases it is very important to seek help from a professional in the area.

12. Excessive physical exercise

High-intensity physical activity can reduce fertility by generating a blockage in the pituitary-ovarian axis, as explained by Ana Paula. “The endorphin released with vigorous exercise inhibits the pituitary gland, compromising ovulation. This causes an ovulatory change and, consequently, anovulation and absence of menstruation,” she says.

How to avoid?

The guideline is just “don’t overdo it”. According to Ana Paula, light to moderate exercises are useful and help to increase the couple’s chance of conception, as they lead to a metabolic and hormonal balance. “When it’s done with moderation and follow-up, it’s positive. Maintaining an adequate weight, with an ideal BMI between 20 to 25 kg/m2, improves the availability of hormones related to the menstrual cycle and ovulation”,…

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