Fertility is the ability to conceive, and infertility (something that can impede this process) can affect both men and women. Varying factors can affect fertility and infertility including disease, environment, and even diet. More than 5 million Americans (men and women) are reported to have some problem with fertility today. Identifying common risks to fertility may save reproductive health in the long run. This slideshow will begin by looking at variables that can affect a woman's fertility and then examine some of the various factors that influence male fertility. Always consult with a physician or specialist on the matter.
Women: General Health and Preexisting Conditions
There are many general health factors and underlying diseases or conditions that affect fertility in women, and many of these will also affect males too. Being overweight can throw the reproductive system out of whack, overloading the body with estrogen and risking fertility issues. Being underweight can completely shut down the reproductive process in the body, giving little chance to conceive. Women who suffer from hormonal imbalances, usually identified by irregular menstrual cycles, are at risk of developing fertility problems because a hormone imbalance will wreak havoc on the reproductive system. Medications for chronic disorders such as antibiotics, antidepressants, or painkillers can cause temporary infertility or ovulation. Regular consumption of alcohol and tobacco may increase the risk of infertility within women and can even impair healthy conception. Multiple miscarriages, painful menstrual cycles, or abnormal pap smears that required surgery can also negatively affect fertility in women.