The Simple Six Rules of Fertility
1. Check your Weight
Being overweight or underweight affects fertility in both men and women. Evidence from research clearly draws connections between a person’s weight and his/ her fertility. What needs to considered here is an individual’s BMI or Body Mass Index. The BMI is calculated based on the person’s height and weight and a measurement in the range of 19 and 25 is considered ideal. Anything lesser or more can have an impact on the reproductive system.
Being obese causes imbalances in the hormones which cause infertility. Since there has been several research over women’s weight and fertility, it shows that when women either lose weight or gain weight to reach their ideal BMI, fertility & hormonal medications respond better to their bodies. Also, a few of them can conceive without the requirement of fertility medicines.
Abnormal weight gain in women can also be linked to PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which is a leading cause of infertility.
So, have you checked your weight? Do calculate your BMI and check if you are in the right range. If not work on appropriately and ensure you do not gain or lose weight very fast. Include a healthy diet and add exercise to your routine to ensure you gradually get in fitter shape.
2. STOP Smoking
Yes, we said stop and not cut down. Smoking has NO mentionable benefits and has a host of diseases associated with it. It is related to heart diseases, cancers and infertility as well. Smoking is directly to linked to low sperm count, sperm motility problems, erectile dysfunction and hormonal issues in men. In women, it causes ovulation problems, damage to reproductive organs, risk of miscarriage and premature menopause.
So, which is your last stick?
3. Limit the Alcohol
Alcohol causes depletion of vitamins and minerals in the body which are essential for reproductive health. Alcohol is completely carbohydrates and the liver works hard trying to break it down. So, excessive alcohol means an overworked liver. This causes hormonal imbalances, since excess estrogen builds in the system.
Heavy drinking causes erectile dysfunction in men. And in women, the hormonal imbalance causes random menstrual cycles and sometimes cycles without ovulation. So, if you plan to get pregnant, it is best to stop drinking. Additionally in the first couple of weeks, you might not know if you are pregnant and unnecessarily the drinking will affect the foetus.
Also, since alcohol is all carbs, it adds to unnecessary weight gain which is another added risk to infertility problems.
4. Eat a Balanced Diet
Overeating and underrating are both linked to infertility. Eating junk food, eating more than your body burns and stuffing yourself with carbohydrates are exceptionally harmful for your body. Similarly, not eating enough while doing more physical work, skipping meals and not watching the nutrition content in food is bad for the reproductive system as well.
These cause hormonal imbalances which make the menstrual cycle go awry and affect ovulation. In men, the diet is also linked to the health of the sperm. Also, an irregular diet is cause for unnecessary weight loss or gain which is also linked to infertility.
A healthy reproductive system requires a good amount of vitamins and minerals. So, before every meal ask yourself if you had your share of fresh fruits & vegetables. Ensure you include proteins and iron in the diet. You can read more about the fertility diet here.
5. Reduce the Stress
Recent research shows that stress is linked to the body’s sex hormones and hence affects ovulation, sexual activity and sperm count. Stress is also associated with sexual dysfunction and lack of libido and hence the term Stress Induced Reproductive Dysfunction.
Hence, stress relief is of great importance if you are trying to conceive. Even is assisted reproductive techniques (like IVF), medical practitioners strictly insist on stress relief since a successful cycle is also dependent of that.
Releasing stress is different for different people. It starts with identifying the cause of stress. Also, certain measures like regular exercise, yoga and meditation are known to reduce stress levels.
6. Keep a Watch on Radiation
All radiation including microwave radiation has a certain effect of fertility. So, it is best to reduce exposure to such radiation. In the current world it is impossible to stay away from them, but we can take few steps to reduce our exposure to them.
The steps include reducing the amount of microwave food consumed. Also, for people undergoing radiation therapy (for diseases such as cancer), it is best to go in for fertility preservation before they start their treatment.