Causes of Infertility

Hormonal Imbalances that Cause Infertility

Infertility has been a common concern for many women who are trying to conceive. In this blog post, we will delve into one of the common causes of infertility - hormonal imbalances, and how they can disrupt the female reproductive system, leading to infertility.

Understanding Infertility

Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 10% of women (6.1 million) in the United States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about infertility, with some people wrongly assuming it's purely a woman's issue or that it's always related to age. In reality, infertility can affect both men and women and can be caused by various factors.

Understanding Hormones

Hormones are your body's chemical messengers, produced in glands and transported in your bloodstream to tissues or organs. They play a crucial role in the female reproductive system, regulating menstrual cycles, ovulation, and pregnancy. Hormonal imbalances occur when there is too much or too little of a hormone in the bloodstream. Because of their vital role in reproduction, hormonal imbalances can sometimes lead to infertility.

Hormonal Imbalances and Infertility

Hormonal imbalances can interfere with ovulation, reducing a woman's chances of conceiving. Let's look at some specific hormonal imbalances and how they can lead to infertility.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a condition that affects a woman’s hormone levels. Women with PCOS produce higher-than-normal amounts of male hormones which cause ovulation issues and can lead to infertility. Signs and symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods or no periods at all, heavy periods, excess body and facial hair, acne, pelvic pain, difficulty getting pregnant, and patches of thick, darker, velvety skin.


Hypothyroidism is a condition where your thyroid gland doesn't produce enough thyroid hormones. Low levels of thyroid hormones can interfere with the release of an egg from your ovary (ovulation), which impairs fertility. Signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism include fatigue, increased sensitivity to cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, puffy face, hoarseness, muscle weakness, elevated blood cholesterol level, muscle aches and stiffness, and heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods.


Hyperprolactinemia is a condition of too much prolactin in the blood. This hormone imbalance often interferes with normal production of other hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, leading to changes in menstruation and ovulation and potentially causing infertility. Signs and symptoms may include irregular or absent menstrual periods, milky discharge from the breasts unrelated to breastfeeding, headaches, impaired vision, acne, and excessive body and facial hair.

Diagnosis of Hormonal Imbalances

Diagnosing hormonal imbalances involves a series of tests including blood tests to check hormone levels, ultrasound scans to look at the ovaries and uterus, and sometimes specific diagnostic tests like laparoscopy. It’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to understand these tests better.

Treatment for Hormonal Imbalances

Treatment for hormonal imbalances usually involves lifestyle changes like diet and exercise modifications and medications to restore hormonal balance. These treatments can significantly improve fertility by promoting regular ovulation. However, they do come with side effects and risks that should be discussed with a healthcare professional.


Hormonal imbalances can cause infertility by disrupting the normal functioning of the female reproductive system. However, with proper diagnosis and treatment, many women with hormonal imbalances can overcome infertility. If you're dealing with infertility, remember that you're not alone and there are resources available to help you on your journey.

Frequently Asked Questions About Hormonal Imbalances and Infertility

Q: Can hormonal imbalances always cause infertility?
A: Not always, but they can disrupt the normal functioning of the female reproductive system, making it harder to conceive.

Q: Are there lifestyle changes that can help restore hormonal balance?
A: Yes, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, regular exercise, and managing stress can help balance hormones.


  1. Hormonal Regulation of the Menstrual Cycle. (n.d.). Hormone Health Network.
  2. Infertility FAQs. (n.d.). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  3. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fact sheet. (n.d.). Office on Women's Health.
  4. Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). (n.d.). Mayo Clinic.
  5. Hyperprolactinemia. (n.d.). Mayo Clinic.

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