What is a Hormone?
Hormones are chemical substances that function in the body as messenger molecules. Their aim is to control how cells and organs function in the body by traveling from one part to another. For example, hormones play an important role in the fertility process. Hormones are released into the bloodstream by the endocrine system’s glands.
How Do Hormones Affect Fertility?
Many hormones interact to create an ideal environment for embryo development. Every month, a complex map of hormones is secreted to prepare the female body for pregnancy, and many factors can deter and alter these hormones’ journey.
Hormones, particularly those that regulate the menstrual cycle, play an important role in female reproduction. For a pregnancy to occur, hormones must signal and control the development and release of the egg in the fallopian tube, as well as the thickening of the uterine lining. If the newly released egg is fertilized by sperm, the resulting embryo will travel to the uterus for implantation.
An absence or an irregular amount of one or more hormones can cause any of the above processes to be delayed or prevented, making pregnancy difficult to achieve.
Oasis is one of the best IVF centers in Vijayawada that help with a variety of infertility issues and provides the best available treatment for your condition.
Important Hormones for Female Fertility
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
FSH, or Follicle Stimulating Hormone, is an important hormone for both men’s and women’s fertility. It regulates sperm production in men and egg development in women. The pituitary gland produces FSH, which stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovary during the first half of the cycle. It should be at its peak just before a woman ovulates, which is around week two of her cycle. If the hormone is too low, women may have irregular ovulation or fail to ovulate at all. A high level of the hormone may indicate that the ovaries are of poor quality.
As follicles develop in the ovaries, they release estrogen, causing the endometrium to thicken in preparation for pregnancy. As one follicle grows larger than the others and prepares for release, estrogen levels rise, prompting the pituitary gland to produce Luteinizing Hormone. This causes the largest follicle to grow rapidly, resulting in its release. Estrogen also stimulates the production of mucus within the uterus, which creates an ideal environment for sperm survival. If there is insufficient estrogen, the endometrium may not be thick enough for the egg to implant in the uterus. An excessive amount may reduce the chances of implantation.
Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
Luteinizing Hormone (LH), like FSH, is produced in the pituitary gland and is important for both male and female reproduction cycles. LH stimulates testosterone production in men, which is important for sex drive and sperm count. While proper FSH levels stimulate follicle growth in women, LH causes the egg to be released from the ovary. This typically occurs two weeks into a woman’s cycle. If the egg is fertilized, LH stimulates the corpus luteum (a mass of cells inside the ovary), which produces progesterone to keep the pregnancy going. Again, LH levels must be optimal. Women who have too much are more likely to have polycystic ovary syndrome, while those who have too little are less likely to ovulate.
Progesterone is secreted into a woman’s bloodstream after a follicle develops into a corpus luteum. This aids implantation and also indicates that a fertilized ovary should continue to produce progesterone on its own for the pregnancy to survive. If no egg is fertilized, progesterone levels fall, and menstruation begins. Low progesterone levels can interfere with fertility and breastfeeding after a child is born.
Other factors can also affect a woman’s fertility, such as hormone imbalances caused by:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid hyperactivity or hypoactivity
- Conditions that cause an overabundance of stress hormones to be released
- Reduced estrogen levels, the female sex hormone
The menstrual cycle of each woman is unique to her. Understanding whether your hormones fluctuate as expected throughout your entire menstrual cycle will aid in family planning. Hormonal imbalances can be detected using simple blood or urine analysis, which can assist fertility specialists in determining potential causes of infertility and the best treatment options. At Oasis fertility Vijayawada, we run as many tests as necessary to determine whether fertility issues are caused by hormone function.