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Health Issues That May Affect Your Fertility

Being overweight? STDs? Thyroid disease? These and other conditions affect not just your health, but also your chances of getting pregnant.
Unbalanced scale Hormonal Imbalances

There are plenty of diseases that cause your hormones to run amok. And when hormones are out of whack, fertility is at risk. Thyroid and adrenal disease, for example, contribute to infertility by causing the body to release too much estrogen, testosterone, and even the stress hormone cortisol, thereby interfering with ovulation. Polycystic ovarian disease (PCOD) is another fertility-robbing condition. "Women with PCOD have elevated levels of insulin and the male hormone testosterone, and those things together prevent regular ovulation," says Erika Johnston-MacAnanny, M.D., a reproductive endocrinologist and assistant professor of medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

The fix? Depending on the problem, doctors will typically prescribe drugs that either block the release of pregnancy-quashing hormones like testosterone or boost ovulation, or both.

One hormone-related disease that surprisingly doesn't affect fertility Is diabetes. "Diabetic women who ovulate, take their medicines, watch their diets, and keep their glucose levels in control are no less fertile than other women," says Sandra Carson, M.D., division director of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at Women and infant's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.