Can Lifestyle Changes Boost Fertility?
Unexplained infertility is when there is no known cause for why conception hasn’t occurred after trying for a consistent period. To be diagnosed with the condition, a man, woman, or couple must have been trying to conceive for at least 1 year if 35 or younger, or 6 months for people 35 and older. Often, fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) can help individuals with this problem successfully get pregnant. Since no direct link exists between infertility and underlying health conditions, many individuals with this diagnosis are encouraged to target lifestyle changes.
Other causes of unexplained infertility
While the condition technically refers to the absence of a known reason for conception difficulties, the reality is verifiable diagnoses can contribute to infertility. For example, a person with diabetes, thyroid conditions, celiac disease, endometriosis, poor egg and sperm quality, and even poor intercourse timing all qualify. However, because underlying issues may be hard to diagnose or treat, the label of unexplained fertility is used. While assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a solution, making lifestyle changes can also be helpful.
Diet and a normal BMI
Research consistently proves that having an overweight or obese body mass index (BMI) in both men and women can adversely affect fertility. For both genders, a BMI between 25.0 to 29.9 is considered overweight, while a BMI above 30 is labeled obese. For women, carrying too much weight can limit estrogen production, which controls ovulation. Too much weight can also influence hormone production in men, which can translate to erectile dysfunction (ED) and low sex drive. Avoid complications by working towards a healthy weight range and opting for healthier choices over foods loaded with empty calories or sugar.
Most people know that smoking is bad for overall health. The chemicals found in cigarettes, in particular, can negatively impair fertility. Smoking can lower hormone production in men and women and can even cause deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) abnormalities in sperm. Meanwhile, a recent study found a direct link between the amount a woman drank and the likelihood of conceiving. In short, the more females drink, the lower the odds of conception. Likewise, in men, heavy consumption of alcohol is tied to poor sperm quality and lower testosterone levels.
More exercise and less stress
People undergoing ART treatments should be aware that a healthy balance of exercise is recommended. Rather than opting for strenuous activities, consider low-impact or medium-intensity options and aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. Likewise, managing stress is critical. Trying to conceive (TTC) can be an emotional time for couples, so finding healthy alternatives to channel feelings can improve the process.
Take control of infertility
While there is no guarantee that incorporating positive lifestyle changes will lead to pregnancy, the benefits achieved are holistic and extend beyond conception. Women and couples who have received an unexplained fertility diagnosis should speak with a fertility specialist to determine which lifestyle changes should be targeted. With a focus on exercise and a healthy diet, people may be able to increase the chances of pregnancy.