Gut health can potentially impact female fertility in a number of ways. The gut and reproductive systems are connected through the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis, which is responsible for regulating the release of hormones that control ovulation and menstruation.
An imbalance in the gut microbiome, the community of microorganisms that live in the gut, can lead to inflammation and disrupt the balance of hormones in the HPG axis, leading to infertility. A poor diet, chronic stress, and certain medications can all contribute to an imbalance in the gut microbiome.
To improve gut health, some remedies include:
Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and fiber
Consuming fermented foods or probiotic supplements
Limiting intake of processed foods and added sugars
Managing stress through exercise, meditation or therapy
Avoiding excessive use of antibiotics.
Additionally, some studies suggest that certain gut conditions, such as endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome, can also increase the risk of infertility in women. Therefore, consulting with a specialist such as a reproductive endocrinologist and/or Gastroenterologist is necessary to gain a better understanding of the underlying cause and treatment.
In addition to the remedies, there are a few other ways to improve gut health and potentially impact fertility.
One way is to avoid foods that may irritate the gut, such as gluten or lactose, especially if you have been diagnosed with a condition such as celiac disease or lactose intolerance.
Another way to improve gut health is to increase your intake of prebiotic and probiotic foods. Prebiotics are non-digestible carbohydrates that act as food for probiotics, the beneficial bacteria in your gut. Foods that are high in prebiotics include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi.
There are also certain supplements that may be beneficial for gut health such as omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, magnesium and Vitamin D which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties.
It’s important to note that while there is a clear connection between gut health and fertility, more research is needed to understand the precise mechanisms that link the two. Also addressing gut health does not guarantee improvement in fertility, it may help but if fertility is an issue, a visit to a specialist is the best way to investigate the root cause and create a treatment plan.