Habits To Avoid For Increased Fertility (Part 2)
June 11th, 2012 | by CORM
Whether you’re just starting to try to get pregnant, or have been trying for a long time, acknowledging some bad habits and making appropriate changes may help to increase your fertility. While these habits usually are not the primary or only cause of infertility, making changes could possibly help fertility treatments work better.
WHY ARE THESE HABITS BAD FOR YOUR FERTILITY HEALTH?
Alcohol: Chances are that an occasional drink probably won’t harm your fertility, but serious drinking can. Research data has found that women who regularly consume three or more drinks per week are more likely to take longer to conceive. In another study that tested the semen of alcoholic men, only 12% had healthy sperm levels. In contrast, 37% of non-drinkers showed healthy sperm levels. It can be noted, however, that several studies have not found a link between infertility and an occasional drink.
Smoking: Smoking affects the fertility of both men and women. In women, smoking can increase your risk of problems with the fallopian tubes, including an increased possibility of ectopic pregnancy. Smoking can increase your chances of cervical abnormalities, including cervical cancer. In addition, smoking increases the chance of damaging eggs as they develop and mature in the ovaries, and smoking also increases the risk of miscarriage.
In men, smoking typically decreases the quality of semen and leads to changes in customary hormone levels. Abnormal hormone levels can negatively impact fertility. While these changes are not likely to actually cause infertility, if your fertility is already borderline, the hormonal changes associated with smoking could be enough to push you into the infertile zone.
It is also important to note that secondhand smoke can affect your partner’s fertility. Some studies have found that secondhand smoke decreases female fertility.
Procrastination: Waiting too long to start a family can lead to infertility. Your fertility begins to decline at age 27 (if you’re a woman), and begins to drop sharply after the age of 35. For men, fertility declines after the age of 40. The effect of age on fertility is also a good reason why you shouldn’t delay getting help. If you’ve been trying to conceive for more than a year, or for more than 6 months if you’re over the age of 35, you should speak to a fertility specialist.
People often don’t seek help when they should. It is easy to procrastinate on making the first appointment, and even scheduling all the fertility tests. Of course, while you are procrastinating, precious time is passing by and impacting your biological clock.
STDs: Sexually transmitted diseases can lead to infertility. In fact, STDs are the number one preventable cause of infertility. Some STDs in women, if left untreated, may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PIDs). PID can cause infertility in women, typically by causing blocked fallopian tubes. Women may have an infection for a long time without knowing it, and without treatment the infection can impair their reproductive system.
STDs can also lead to infertility in men, though it is not as often. This is because men usually show symptoms of STDs right away, and thus they can get effective treatment sooner.
Some STDs, including syphilis and herpes, can endanger a pregnancy or the baby at birth. In the worst-case scenario, these STDs can lead to miscarriage or infant death.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO BREAK THESE HABITS?
If you have one (or more) of these unhealthy habits, it’s time to break away from them and take more control of your fertility health.
If you’re used to having a beer or a glass of wine every night with dinner, consider reducing that to one drink a week. It will be worth it in the long run and you might just lose a few extra pounds in the process. Remember that alcohol is high in calories, so a reduction in the amount that you drink will have a two-fold positive impact in improving your fertility health. The potential weight loss could also have a positive effect on your fertility health.
Of course, if you’re drinking more often than you’d like, or if drinking has become a problem in any way, you should seek outside help. Women who drink during pregnancy risk their baby’s health, and so it’s especially important to deal with a drinking problem before trying to get pregnant.
Smoking is an addiction, and it’s certainly not easy to just stop. With support, you CAN quit though. Discuss breaking this particular habit with your doctor. They can help you or maybe even recommend a support group. Some people have reported that hypnosis and other alternative medicines help as well.
Keep in mind that you’re not quitting only to increase your fertility, but also to improve your overall health and lengthen your lifespan. Quitting will be hard work, but it’s worth it in the long run. You will be a good role model for your kids if you do quit smoking.
One of the first things to do if you are procrastinating is to consider why you’re putting off getting help. Is it because you’re afraid to learn that something may be wrong? You need to remind yourself that not knowing that there is a problem doesn’t make the problem go away. Infertility can be a sign of a more serious health problem, so check with your gynecologist or make an appointment with a reproductive specialist as soon as possible.
Some people procrastinate on seeking help for infertility because they don’t want to do IVF. But IVF is used less than 5% of the time. There are many fertility treatment options available, and a professional reproductive specialist will help you determine the best course of action for you.
Regarding unsafe sex, the answer is simple… use condoms. Hormonal birth control methods may prevent pregnancy, but they don’t prevent you from getting an STD.
THE BOTTOM LINE ON BAD HABITS
Breaking bad habits requires commitment and effort, but each step towards healthier habits makes a difference. Keep trying, get the support you need, and commit yourself every day to your healthier living goals. Consider working on one habit today, and breaking things down into tiny goals.
For information regarding infertility treatment and support in the greater Houston area, be sure to contact the Center of Reproductive Medicine at (281) 332-0073. The knowledgeable and friendly staff will answer your questions and provide the guidance you need. Our goal is to provide a positive and nurturing experience for all patients.
|Contact the Center of Reproductive Medicine for more information regarding infertility treatment and support in the greater Houston and Beaumont areas of Texas. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff is happy to answer your questions and provide the guidance you need with the promise of offering a positive and nurturing experience for all patients.|