Ovulation is the whole reason the menstrual cycle exists, which is kind of a big deal. Ya know, the reason for humanity and all that.

I’m sure you’ve heard me go on and on about all the things that stop ovulation and have a negative impact on your period and fertility – stress, crappy food choices, a low-calorie diet, too much exercise, oh and did I say stress? 🙂

Stop ovulation

Believe it or not, there are some culprits out there that you might never have guessed are suppressing your ovulation. Even I couldn’t believe it when I learned about some of them!

Here’s what can stop ovulation

  1. Melatonin
  2. The health of your mouth
  3. NSAIDS
  4. BPA
  5. Low thyroid function (hypothyroid)

Are you surprised by any of these? If so, I want to know in the comments below! As you know, I LOVE to dig into the details, so let’s go!

 

Too low OR too high melatonin

Yes, if melatonin is too low or too high, it can affect ovulation and subsequently fertility. I know, waaah, so confusing.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland and it is responsible for regulating our circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles. Basically it helps us fall and stay asleep. Unfortunately, over-exposure to artificial light reduces our body’s endogenous production of melatonin.

Due to that, melatonin supplements have become super popular in recent times. However, giving yourself a large dose of melatonin is not quite the same as how your body does it – not the same amount, timing etc. I have use melatonin supplements on many occasions, so don’t stress, but use caution moving forward, and a low dose.

These large amounts of melatonin (sometimes way above what your body would make) can actually delay or stop ovulation! This can change the timing of your menstrual cycle, or stop it altogether, which causes infertility.

This doesn’t only apply to the ladies by the way. Guys listen up! There is also evidence suggesting that melatonin at levels higher than what the body would typically produce can affect sperm formation in men.

On the flip side, low melatonin is linked to lack of ovulation and infertility, even chronic pelvic pain in Endometriosis.

So, I urge you to address that by reducing your light at night. Make your bedroom super dark – light blocking shades or curtains, put tape over the lights on your alarm, TV etc, and stop using your phone and computer late at night. If you have to use either of those at night then get Flux, an app for your phone and computer that will adjust the blue light to a more reddish hue. No kidding, it helps tremendously! Or get your hands on these sexy blue blocking shades! They are even better than an app on your phone and computer.

And for the curve ball – when melatonin is used properly, it can have positive effects on fertility. When it comes to hormones, too much can block production and the right amount can help production.

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4209073/ – many references to melatonin’s effect on the menstrual cycle.
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23602498

 

The health of your mouth

A study done in 2011 found that women with gum disease took on average two months longer to conceive than women without gum disease (7 months instead of 5 months). [1]

Even more interesting was this finding: “Non-Caucasian women appeared to be the group most affected. They were likely to take more than 12 months to become pregnant if they had gum disease.”

Here’s why…gum disease starts with plaque that then turns into tartar if you aren’t following a good dental protocol.

Check out my post on the exact protocol I used to heal my own serious gum issues. Trust me, I have sooo been there!

This tartar can turn into gingivitis if left too long which is characterized by bleeding gums and inflammation. Eventually gingivitis can turn into periodontal disease where the gums begin pulling away from the teeth. Bacteria and toxins get in there and before you know it, your immune system is responding to the trouble in your mouth. Many people end up with a chronic inflammatory response in their mouths, if they don’t address the problem.

These bacteria and toxins can then get into the bloodstream, which leads to further inflammation in your body. This inflammation is what researchers believe is connected to infertility and miscarriage.

Additionally, research shows that the bacteria that cause inflammation in the gums can actually target the fetus, potentially leading to premature labor and low-birth-weight babies. [2]

There is even a connection between periodontal disease and endometriosis ladies. [3]

If you are pregnant, studies also show that you can improve chances of having a health pregnancy and delivery if you treat your periodontal disease or gingivitis immediately. [4]

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4199181
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9722707
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18394619
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17209786

 

NSAIDS

This acronym stands for “non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs”, which include aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (Aleve), and Celebrex which is another kind of NSAID used to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.

“NSAIDs prevent the ovarian follicle from rupturing so women who are taking NSAIDs cannot release an ovum to be fertilized. Although “this process is reversible, a woman is not going to get pregnant if she continues to take NSAIDs, and doctors need to advise women to stop taking these drugs if they want to be fertile.” [1]

This is crazy right?? Who would have thought that popping advil could render you infertile? Luckily this is reversible once you stop taking NSAIDS. Note: Tylenol is not a NSAID.

  1. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/846552

 

BPA – the reproductive toxicant (wish I was making this up!)

There is now overwhelming evidence that many synthetic chemicals in our environment may interfere with our bodies’ complex and carefully regulated hormonal messenger system.

BPA is one of them. The fact that there are 91 studies and 71 shown effects of BPA is rather frightening, and should be a wake-up call to all of us! We simply cannot ignore the signs anymore.

BPA is a chemical used to make hard plastics. It is typically found in water bottles and in the lining of food cans, but you’ll also find it in plastic flip flops, in the coating of receipts, in the chemicals used in conventional dry cleaning and in the lining of your restaurant to-go containers. Oh and, vibrators!! Uh huh. So make sure to look for safer sex toys.

In a 2010 study, it was found in 95% of random urine samples and the ovarian follicular fluid of the female participants. In this same study, it was discovered that BPA inhibits ovarian follicle growth (where your eggs grow each month), by disrupting the estrogen pathway. FYI: estrogen builds follicles in the first half of our cycle, so basically BPA cuts off the ovary’s supply [1]

Unfortunately, it is also implicated in PCOS, endometrial disorders, increased implantation failure, miscarriage, and preterm birth. [2] Please please please, limit your interaction with plastics as much as you can.

  1. http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/119/1/209.full
  2. http://oehha.ca.gov/media/downloads/proposition-65/background/may72015nrdc.pdf

 

Low thyroid function (hypothyroid)

Yes, a thyroid condition can full on prevent ovulation.

It’s incredible how many lovely ladies come to me with messed up thyroid numbers, but don’t know it because their doctors never caught the problem.

Here’s the flowdown (like that?):

What most women don’t know (and are often not told) is that anovulation, low sex drive, PMS, painful periods, excessive menstrual bleeding and amenorrhea can all be caused by an underactive or overactive thyroid.

The most important fact is that thyroid hormone helps FSH do it’s job – stimulating the follicles in your ovaries – and helps with corpus luteum formation. We need adequate T3 circulating throughout our bodies for ovulation to occur. What’s even more interesting is that luteal phase defect and low progesterone were improved with thyroid hormone replacement therapy. [1] I like the natural ways of raising T3, but the hormone replacement clearly demonstrates that T3 is certainly a necessity in this whole process.

Here’s a fascinating fact on why thyroid health is soooo crucial for women, especially those trying to pregnant: If your thyroid is underactive, in other words, you are hypothyroid, your basal body temperature is likely lower than it should be. The rapidly dividing cells in a little embryo however, require a specific temperature range for that division to take place. So if your temperature is too low, the embryo may be unable to continue to grow. This increases the risk of early miscarriage.

Final crazy thyroid fact: 15 to 20% of people with depression are low in thyroid hormones. Sadly, conventional thyroid tests typically come back normal and most women with an underactive thyroid are usually told to see a psychologist and get a prescription for an antidepressant.

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1427622

Alright kids, that sums up another super loooong blog post! As always, I welcome your comments and feedback below. Thrilled that you are here on my site, reading my stuff.

xoxo
Nicole