How to Lower Your Chances of Infertility

Lower Your Chances - What Puts You At Risk - Large

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The risk factors that might cause infertility can be many, for both men and women. Some of those risk factors you can change. Others you can’t. To prevent infertility, it helps to identify the risk factors you have control over. Then you can begin looking at ways to change them.

Even something as simple as losing 5 percent of your body weight can help.

Infertility Risk Factors for Women

  • Age. Women in their late 30s and older are generally less fertile than women in their early 20s.
  • Endometriosis
  • Chronic diseases (diabetes, lupus, arthritis, hypertension or asthma)
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Environmental factors. Cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption or exposure to workplace hazards or toxins
  • Excessive or very low body fat
  • Abnormal Pap smears that have been treated with cryosurgery or cone biopsy
  • DES (diethylstilbestrol) taken by mother during pregnancy
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Fallopian tube disease
  • Multiple miscarriages
  • Fibroids
  • Pelvic surgery which can cause pelvic adhesions
  • Abnormalities in the uterus that are present at birth or happen later in life
  • Irregular menstrual cycles which can signal irregular ovulation

Infertility Risk Factors for Men

  • History of prostatitis, genital infection or sexually transmitted diseases
  • Exposure to hazards on the job or toxic substances, such as radiation, radioactivity, welding, and many chemicals, including lead, ethylene dibromine and vinyl chloride
  • Cigarette or marijuana smoke
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Exposure of the genitals to high temperatures
  • Hernia repair
  • Undescended testicles
  • Prescription drugs (opioid-like drugs that affect the central nervous system, including many psychotropic drugs)
  • Mumps after puberty

Infertility Risk Factors for Women and Men

  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Drug abuse
  • Extreme weight gain or loss
  • Obesity
  • Excessive physical or emotional stress

Take a closer look at these lists. Of these infertility risk factors, which are in your control? Obviously, you can’t make yourself any younger or change your medical history. However, according to Jeremy Groll, MD, of SpringCreek Fertility, “Even simple lifestyle changes can improve your chances of pregnancy. Healthy habits of regular exercise, a balanced diet and good amounts of sleep for both partners is essential. Limiting alcohol and avoiding tobacco products have both shown to improve fertility for males and females.”

Consider these first steps in your efforts to achieve pregnancy:

  • Cut down your alcohol and caffeine intake.
  • If you smoke, quit.
  • Eat healthy and exercise regularly. If you are overweight or obese, then simply losing 5 percent of your current weight can help increase your chances of pregnancy.
  • Talk to your doctor about any excessive physical or emotional stress you may be under.

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Answer a few questions and we'll provide you with a list of primary care providers that best fit your needs.

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Jeremy Groll, MD

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