The way people live their lives can have a major effect on their fertility. Certain issues, such as having blocked fallopian tubes or not having regular periods requires a medically interventionist approach. However, there are other factors which we are more in control of ourselves. If we can compensate for these factors we can reduce the need for women to attend a fertility clinic or we can improve their chances of success when they do have to attend and have treatment. Concept Fertility has established links with independent wellbeing practitioners who all have a focus on fertility and who have access to our advice on medical issues. Read our Wellbeing page for more information. You don’t need to see these experts but if you need a little help making the changes you need to do, they know what they are talking about and all of them get good reviews from our patients. We also have a patient support group meeting once a month where people can share their worries with others having similar treatment and gain mutual support. It is clear that if one’s body is healthy, its chances of conceiving are higher.
Specific Lifestyle Factors Affecting Fertility
Smoking is perhaps the best-known factor. Nicotine affects the body’s ability to produce oestrogen. Other elements of smoking affect blood flow, the endometrium and the egg-containing follicles. The results include a poorer chance of conceiving, poor embryo growth and a higher miscarriage rate. It is also associated with early menopause.
An unhealthy weight is also counterproductive. Fat cells make and store oestrogen. Whilst too little oestrogen is a problem with smoking, too much is the problem here. Being underweight is just as bad, in severe cases causing a shortage of oestrogen and irregular menstrual cycles.
Having a balanced diet is also very important. If you don’t have the right nutrients and vitamins your body can’t do what it needs to do. In fact that is where the name vitamins comes from – a contraction of “vital amino acids”. You don’t usually need to take supplements but if your variety of foods is restricted, for example if you are vegan or have food allergies, you may benefit from careful dietary planning. Also cut out the negatives – aggressive food & drinks, like coffee and alcohol have known negative effects on fertility.
Stress also affects fertility. It is easy to advise people to relax but infertility is inherently stressful in most cases and having fertility treatment further adds to that. De-stress by yourself if you can but if you need help we can direct you to counselling, support groups and wellbeing practitioners. Acupuncture and yoga are also favoured by many and again we have contacts to fertility specialists.