Are Chemicals Messing with Your Fertility?
Infertility can be devastating for any couple trying to have a baby. Roughly 10% of couples in the U.S. are affected by the condition.
PCOS plays a major role in the heartache. But a growing body of evidence suggests that all manner of chemicals in our environment are interfering with both men’s and women’s ability to have a child. Most of the chemicals implicated are known as hormone disruptors. They act like sex hormones and can interfere with bodily levels of estrogen and testosterone.
These chemicals are used to make nonstick pans, pesticides and other common household goods. The latest culprit is phthalates, which are found in plastics, synthetic fragrances and building materials.
For a new study published in the journal Toxicology Letters, Italian researchers zeroed in on the most common phthalate, DEHP – used in plastics to keep them soft and flexible. The research team also looked at the second most common, called DEP, which prevents fragrances fading from personal care products as well as scented candles, laundry detergents and the like. In addition, two other phthalates, DBP (which keeps nail polishes and paints pliable) and BBzP (a phthalate used in vinyl floor tiles), were also tested.
The authors measured urine samples from 56 couples who were seeking fertility treatments and an equal number of couples who had successfully had children. Both the men and the women in the couples seeking fertility treatments had higher levels of phthalates in their urine than the couples with children.
A number of previous studies have linked phthalates to infertility in men and women separately. But this is the first study of its kind showing that the combined levels in both men and women could be to blame. In women, phthalates can trigger endometriosis, a condition common in women who can’t get pregnant. In men, phthalates lower testosterone levels, which impairs sperm quality.
Phthalates are ubiquitous in the environment so they can be difficult to avoid. But steering clear of as many as possible may improve the chances of becoming pregnant. Other sources include:
Thankfully, things are still progressing well. My estrodial level was 587 today and I have 30 follicles that are cooking nicely 🙂 I have to say I’m starting to feel it though. The ultrasound tech warned me that as all of these start getting big I will be in a lot of pain and she is right. I feel worn down too and I am so hormonal. I am always prepared to be hormonal when doing injections but all I want to do is cry! (And then I laugh about how all I want to do is cry! lol) Today was a rough day at work, a lot of stress, and add to it that I am not feeling well I think I am going to take the night off from household duties and stresses and just chill, catch up on my DVR and read. I stopped and got a yummy decaf iced coffee and think I will have hubby pick up take-out on his way home. I think I need a night for myself to relax, that’s important right? I’ll just do a little laundry so I don’t feel too guilty. 😉 I hope everyone else has a beautiful evening! xoxo
This week all of the testing was completed to begin our first IVF journey. All that’s left is signing the paperwork. My incredibly large amount of medications will be ariving soon as well. Lupron, birth control, valium, antibiotic, progesterone supplements, tylenol with codeine, and more. Thankfully I already have enough Follistim and Ovidrel which cut the cost of this round a bit. I am also working on preparing my body for what is to come to make my chances even better. I am pretty sure that I have never been so scared or excited at the same time, not even at my wedding. I have always spent a lot of time on the internet researching all things PCOS and fertility but now I am spending even MORE time. I am so thankful that there is so much information out there to help me understand everything that is going on so I can be fully educated on the process and the if’s, and’s, and but’s.
On another note; I am so excited that my childhood best friend’s sister recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy after suffering the infertility effects of PCOS. She was able to conceive naturally with minimal help from a reproductive endochronologist and it is such a victory for her and the PCOS community at large.
I guess I am feeling sentimental today, not sure why, maybe it is the dreary weather. My husband and I are leaving for a quick over night trip out of town half business, half fun and this will probably be our last opportunity before we begin the long road of IVF so I am looking forward to it. Hope everyone has a blessed weekend!
I think many women come to a point in their infertility journey when enough is enough, at least for a moment. That moment may be a month or two, or a year; whichever is needed to bring yourself back to reality and your body back to normalcy.
My husband and I have been on the roller coaster for about 2 years. Within a year of TTC I was diagnosed with PCOS, he with male factor due to low testosterone, began seeing a reproductive endocrinologist, and started treatments. The second year brought a decision of IVF or IUI with injectables. Being reasonable human beings we decided to five IUI with injectables a try and hope for the best. After three back-to-back treatments (with a month in-between to heal my hyper-stimulated ovaries) we are moving on to IVF. I had every intention of moving on right away, I am very aggressive and not to mention I am impatient and like instant gratification. However, as I was sitting on our couch sobbing over yet another negative blood test by husband plead his case for me to take a break before pursuing our first round of IVF.
My wonderful husband, who is always supportive and encouraging, presented a strong case and persuaded my to sleep on it (like I slept at all that night). After a couple days of thinking about everything he was incredibly right. I guess you don’t always realize what is happening to you but those closest to you do. He pointed out that he has been watching me in pain for a year, and it’s just not normal. When I look back he is right. I feel like my ovaries are about to die. I don’t think they ever rid of all the follicles they produce and I don’t believe the swelling and fluid retention completely goes down. “Do what you like and for yourself, get back to the gym, read”. It’s the truth. If I am going to be prepared physically and mentally to go through the invitro fertilization process and hope for the best outcome (not to mention spend incredible amounts of money) I should be as well prepared as possible. So here’s to taking time!
When I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome I, like many people facing the same fate, immediately cleaned the shelves of the local bookstores for every book about PCOS and infertility that I could find. I feverishly spent weeks and months reading followed by months of searching the Internet for more material and information. Amazingly, many written works exist in conjunction with blogs, websites, forums, groups, chat rooms, and I have always been thankful that I am going through this confusing and emotional time in what is so blissfully referred to as the information age. If this time were still the dark ages when information was only found by relying on the books available at the library and hard to come by without the incredible advancements of technology that allows all information to instantly be accessible via the internet I would probably be driving myself further insane due to over-thinking, analyzing, and self-diagnosis.
Though I have found a wealth of information and have indulged in an absorbent amount of it not many written works are available dealing with both Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and infertility at the same time. Knowing what I do, a significant majority of the women suffering from this confusing and multi-faceted disorder face an upward hill of fertility struggles too, in fact, it is how most women discover that she has PCOS in the first place. So this blog is for you, and for me; the woman who is suffering from the effects and symptoms of PCOS and trying to create a family at the same time.