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Infertility in Men and Women Sometimes Caused by Health and Lifestyle Choices

Lifestyle choices may impact fertility in ways you may not realize.  Dr. Levi and the Park Avenue Fertility team are here to help you understand all the factors that may be influencing your fertility. By committing to making meaningful changes to your lifestyle, you could start taking steps to help improve your overall fertility.

Why Lifestyle Choices Can Affect Fertility

Anything from being over or underweight, smoking, and having a poor diet can impact your fertility. This is because the chemicals from smoking, hormonal imbalances and stress on your body from weight concerns, and deficiencies in your diet each can contribute to infertility.

Though many cases of infertility can be narrowed down to a medical cause, some people experience heightened difficulty conceiving as a result of some of their lifestyle choices. This is why it is important to think about the entire picture of your health and life in order to best address infertility.

Once a couple has had unprotected sex for a year (six months in women over 35) without achieving a pregnancy, they can begin fertility testing. While diagnostic testing is always conducted to check for medical factors contributing to a person’s infertility, lifestyle choices are also evaluated. It’s important to be open and honest about your choices and habits so that your doctor can understand your lifestyle and how it may be contributing to your infertility.

Common Choices That Could Be Negatively Affecting Your Fertility

Common lifestyle choices that may negatively impact fertility include:

  1. Weight
    Weight is one of the most common lifestyle choices that affect fertility. Being either overweight or underweight causes strain on your body and can cause your fertility to change. In women, being overweight or underweight can cause hormonal imbalances and create problems with ovulation. In men, problems with weight can decrease their sex drive, create hormonal imbalances, and affect sperm quantity and quality.
  2. Smoking
    Smoking, either traditional cigarettes or e-cigarettes, is another major lifestyle choice that affects fertility.  Inhaling chemicals like nicotine, cyanide, and carbon monoxide can accelerate the loss of eggs in women and worsen sperm quality in men.
  3. Diet
    Diet quality affects overall health and of course impacts weight. Deficiencies in certain nutrients, as well as diets high in simple carbohydrates and fats can lead to obesity.  Processed foods contain preservatives and stabilizers that may contribute to infertility in both men and women.
  4. Alcohol
    Excessive alcohol consumption, as well as binge drinking, can negatively affect fertility as well as weight in both women and men.  Alcohol should be consumed in moderation.
  5. Drug Use
    Drug use can affect everything from ovulation to sperm quality and can contribute to sexual dysfunction. Even drugs that are becoming legalized, like marijuana, can negatively affect fertility.

How to Make Lifestyle Changes

Small changes in lifestyle can have a positive impact on fertility.  It’s often easier to make small changes at first and move toward more substantial changes gradually.

One of the best ways to enact meaningful change is to develop a plan that you can commit to easily.  If you smoke a pack of cigarettes a day, you can move toward quitting by tapering your usage down gradually.  Perhaps you could start by eliminating one smoke break a day, for example.

Working with a healthcare professional is another fantastic way to make lifestyle changes that could improve your fertility. Sometimes, we aren’t sure of the best way to help ourselves; that’s when a professional can often help. If you’re struggling with your weight, working with a registered dietitian could be really helpful.  He/she could evaluate your relationship with food and create a healthful meal plan that is right for you.

Another way that you can start to shift your lifestyle choices to better support fertility is to work with a therapist. If you are struggling with stress, have an unhealthy relationship with food or drugs, or simply need guidance through a difficult time, a therapist may be helpful to you.

It’s also important to work with a high-quality fertility doctor like Dr. Levi and the Park Avenue Fertility team. They can help you understand what lifestyle changes can help you improve your fertility.

If you are ready to begin your fertility treatment and would like to learn more about Dr. Levi and Park Avenue Fertility’s approach to fertility and wellness, contact us to schedule a visit today.

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