Getting Pregnant with Hypothalamic Dysfunction
There are many conditions that can impact a woman’s fertility and make it more difficult for her to conceive. Some conditions are fairly common while others are rare. Hypothalamic dysfunction, or hypothalamic amenorrhea, is not a common cause of infertility, but it can have a big impact on women with the condition.
At our fertility clinic, the Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, we can diagnose causes of infertility so that women can receive appropriate treatment. Our fertility specialists are happy to help our Omaha, NE, patients explore how it may be possible to get pregnant with hypothalamic dysfunction.
What Is Hypothalamic Dysfunction?
Hypothalamic dysfunction is a condition that affects a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus controls reproduction by producing the gonadotropin-releasing hormone, or GnRh.
GnRh signals the production of the follicle stimulation hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), both of which are necessary for egg production and ovulation. These hormones then stimulate the production of estrogen, which thins the cervical mucus and helps prepare the lining of the uterus so it can support the implantation of a fertilized egg.
If a woman suffers from hypothalamic dysfunction, the hypothalamus stops producing GnRh. In turn, the body produces lower levels of FSH, LH, and estrogen. Hypothalamic dysfunction is most often the result of some combination of:
- Low weight, or extreme weight loss
How Does Hypothalamic Dysfunction Affect Fertility?
Hypothalamic dysfunction can have a significant impact on female fertility. Without the production of GnRh, reduced levels of FSH, LH, and estrogen can diminish the quality of the eggs that the body produces or cause them to stop releasing altogether. As a result, patients with hypothalamic dysfunction may not menstruate at all. Without a healthy and regular menstrual cycle, women will be unable to conceive.
Treatments for Hypothalamic Dysfunction
The good news for women who suffer from hypothalamic dysfunction is that it is a treatable condition. Many women are able to restore the regularity of their menstrual cycle by making healthy lifestyle changes. By eating a nutritious diet, reducing exercise levels, limiting stress, and obtaining a healthy weight, many women can restart their menstrual cycle and improve their chances of conceiving.
Despite making lifestyle changes, some of our Omaha patients may find that their cycle does not return to normal, or that it is still difficult to conceive. If lifestyle changes alone do not help a woman become pregnant, we can provide fertility treatment. Fertility treatments that are most effective in enabling women with hypothalamic dysfunction to become pregnant are ovarian stimulation and IVF.
Ovarian stimulation involves the use of fertility medication to stimulate the ovaries so that they produce and release multiple mature eggs. Ovarian stimulation may involve the use of oral fertility drugs, injectables, or both. If a woman is already making lifestyle changes to address hypothalamic dysfunction, ovarian stimulation alone may be enough to allow a woman to become pregnant.
If ovarian stimulation alone does not result in pregnancy, we offer IVF treatment. IVF is a multi-step treatment process that involves stimulating the ovaries, collecting mature eggs, fertilizing them in a laboratory setting, and then transferring healthy embryos directly to the uterus. This assisted-reproductive technique is highly successful for individuals dealing with a wide range of fertility issues.
At the Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine, we offer a comprehensive range of fertility services for those people who are struggling to conceive. To learn how we can help you overcome fertility issues and experience the joys of parenthood, send us a message online at your earliest convenience or call (402) 717-4200.