Causes of Infertility

So what are the causes of infertility? Fertility problems can lie with the man or the woman – or both. You'll discover a range of issues that could be causing infertility issues in this article.

First and foremost poor nutrition is one of the biggest causes of infertility. That's right – people in the modern world are malnourished. In fact, many of us are the product of generations of poor diet. The past decades have seen a rapid drop in the level of nutrients in our diet and the quality of our foods. Modern scientific errors, such as the “low fat” and “lite” fads have also left women and men unable to reproduce.

Much of the time nutrition can be used to begin to overcome infertility problems, especially when used in conjunction with natural infertility treatments that focus on balancing hormones. It's often a simple case of learning to choose the right foods for fertility.

Here are some other general causes of infertility in men and women:

Stress: Stress can interfere with the hormones needed to cause ovulation in a woman and can prevent sperm production in a man. Overwhelming or chronic stress is the most likely culprit for stress-induced infertility – but any intense period of stress in the first half of a woman's cycle can prevent or delay ovulation. Sometimes fertility problems themselves can cause intense stress.

Obesity or Too Low Body Fat: Being overweight is associated with infertility problems in both men and women. It also increases the risk of insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome which lead to diabetes in both sexes and can lead to PCOS and gestational diabetes in women. It's important to note that having too little body fat can also cause infertility. Men and women with extremely low body fat ratios may not have the fats needed to produce hormones necessary for conception.

Drugs and Alcohol: This may seem pretty obvious, but a lot of people don't consider it. Too much alcohol and any kind of drugs – prescription, over-the-counter, or recreational – can impair fertility. Caffeine is a drug that may reduce fertility. Smoking cigarettes also lowers fertility and hurts your future baby… research has proven that sperm are damaged by smoking – and so are eggs and the unborn baby.

Age: It's possible that age plays a role in fertility for both men and women. Age-related infertility can be overcome, however. Diet is often the best place to start – then move on to hormone balancing herbs.

(NOTE: Want the Top Easy Steps to Boosting Your Fertility? Use these 5 simple, evidence-based steps to get pregnant and carry your healthy baby to term. Get them here.)

Top Fertility Tips

Your environment can have an impact on your fertility:

Pesticides and Chemicals: Pesticides are in particular known to mimic estrogens – a female hormone. This can lead to infertility in men and cause irregular cycles in women.

Household and Industrial Cleaners: These cleaners often contain harmful chemicals. Switch to natural cleaners whenever possible – and use gloves and filtration masks if you can't avoid working with them.

Overheating: This is primarly a problem for men – if the testicles are repeatedly subjected to a lot of heat (such as in the sauna, hot tub, or in some industrial and military occupations) it can impair fertility and sperm counts.

Female Infertility Causes:

Fallopian Tube Damage and Blockages: Problems with the fallopian tubes usually happen after sexually transmitted diseases (STD's) cause inflamation. Chlamydia is usually the culprit. Sometimes you don't know that it has happened, but you may also notice pain and fever. Sometimes an ectopic pregnancy, where the fertilized egg doesn't make it to the uterus, can cause damage or complete loss of a fallopian tube. Infection and ectopic pregnancies greatly increase infertility problems.

Endometriosis: Each month your body lines the uterus with rich, thick tissues to make it ready for a newly fertilized egg to implant. When you have endometriosis, this tissue begins to develop outside the uterus. The ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes can all begin to have problems functioning. Fallopian tube damage is possible. This tissue is shed every month with uturine tissue (during your period). Scarring and inflammation can result from this cycle, and you may experiance pain and infertility from this process.

Ovulation Problems: Two hormones, luteinizing hormone or LH and follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH, control your ovulation. If low levels of these hormones are being produced, you could have irregular or even no ovulation. The good news about ovulation problems is that they can often be corrected naturally through diet and balancing herbs. Excessive exercise and too little fat in your diet can both be culprits in anovulation (not ovulating) and irregular ovulation.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, PCOS : PCOS is caused by having high levels of the male fertility hormones in your system. High androgen levels are a problem. PCOS has a strong association with insulin resistance and you may also struggle with obesity. Diet is the first line of attack for PCOS, with several herbs showing very promising effects specifically for PCOS issues (vitex and saw palmetto are two major ones).

High Prolactin Levels, or Hyperprolactinemia : High prolactin levels happen when you breastfeed your baby. It's a natural thing and it's really a good thing. It's what stops your periods while you're breastfeeding your baby. It can be frustrating if you want to get pregnant while still nursing another child. High prolactin can possibly be caused by other problems, such as pituitary tumor and some drugs.

Uterine Fibroids: Women in their 30's and 40's commonly have problems with fibroids. They seem to run in families. They are benign tumors that line the wall of the uterus and can prevent implantation. Sometimes they block the Fallopian tubes.

Pelvic Adhesions: These are tough bands of scar tissue that bind your organs. They occur after infections and after abdominal and pelvic surgeries. Sometimes these scar tissues impair fertility.

Early Menopause, or Premature Ovarian Failure: This occurs in women before 40. Menstruation halts and the ovarian follicles are depleted. Researchers are not sure why this happens to some women, though cancer and its treatments, smoking, and radiation exposure may be causes. Sometimes this is diagnosed incorrectly.

Thyroid Problems: Problems with thyroid hormones can lead to infertility.

Male Infertility Causes:

Low Sperm Count: Even though it just takes one sperm to fertilize an egg, men need lots of sperm to get that one winner to the finish line. Normal sperm concentration should be 20 million sperm per milileter of semen – or more. Modern men have drastically lower sperm counts than men even a few decades ago. Men with fertilty problems often have counts of 10 million or fewer sperm per mililiter of semen.

Derformed Sperm: Sperm need to be a particular shape and form to properly move towards the egg. Sperm shape and structure is called morphology.

Reduced Motility: Sperm motility is the ability of sperm to move properly. Deformed sperm may not be able to move towards the egg properly. Sometimes sperm that seem properly formed won't move well – swimming in circles or other inappropriate ways.

Varicocele: This is the term for a varicose vein in the scrotum. A varicocele can cause overheating of the testicle, which leads to lower levels of sperm and may contribute to movement problems.

Undescended Testicle: Normally the testicles descend just before a baby boy is born, or shortly thereafter. If the testicles instead remain in the abdominal cavity, they stay at the internal body temperature which is too high for optimal sperm production.

Hormone Deficiency: Testosterone levels need to be high in the man. Male hypogonadism is the term for a deficiency in testosterone. Sometimes this issue is caused by the testicles themselves, and other times there are problems with the hormones. The first step to correcting this problem is to eliminate any soy foods from the diet. Removing cleaning products, preservatives, and chemicals that mimic female hormones is also vitally important.

Infections and STD's: Infection and sexually transmitted disease can impair fertility and even cause sterility in men.

Genetic Defects: Klinefelter's syndrome, where a man has two X chromosomes and one Y chromosome can cause low levels of sperm or even no sperm production.

Sperm Delivery Problems:

Sexual Problems: Inability to have an erection (erectile dysfunction), premature ejaculation, and pain during intercourse (dyspareunia) can all lead to fertility problems. Some lubricants are also toxic to sperm.

Retrograde Ejaculation: This is a condition where instead of flowing out of the penis during ejaculation, sperm flow back up the urethra into the bladder. Sometimes this is caused by diabetes, surgery, or medications. If it can't be corrected, assisted fertility procedures can often help couples dealing with this to get pregnant.

Blockages: Blockages to the tubes carrying sperm from the testicles to the penis can lead to infertility. Sometimes these tubes are missing completely.

No Semen: Sometimes men who've suffered from spinal cord injuries have no semen. Semen is necessary to move sperm from the penis into the woman's vagina.

Hypospadais: This condition occurs when a man's urinary opening is not in the right place. Normally it should be on the tip of the penis. Sometimes it will be to the side and in extreme cases near the base. It can prevent sperm from reaching a woman's cervix. This condition is becoming more common in baby boys – it's believed the cause is increased estrogen exposure. Avoid soy before and during pregnancy, and avoid too much soy in your son's diet.

Anti-Sperm Antibodies: The man's body creates antibodies that attack his own sperm. This is most likely to occur after vasectomy. They can cause problems if you want a vasectomy reversal. The fertility herb Tribulus has been proven to help with this problem.

(NOTE: Want the Top Easy Steps to Boosting Your Fertility? Use these 5 simple, evidence-based steps to get pregnant and carry your healthy baby to term. Get them here.)

Top Fertility Tips