Common causes of Infertility in Women

COMMON CAUSES OF INFERTILITY IN WOMEN

Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary defines infertility as the inability of people, animals and plants not to be able to produce babies or young ones. It can also refer to an inability to conceive after having regular unprotected sex for at least a year for most people and six months in certain circumstances. Infertility may be cause in either you or your partner or a combination of factors that may prevent a pregnancy from occurring or continuing.

Women’s infertility is most commonly caused by problems associated with ovulation complications. Some problems stop women from releasing eggs at all and some cause an egg to be released during some cycles. It is caused by many other factors such as nutrition, diseases, and other malformations of the uterus. Infertility affects women from around the world, and the cultural and social stigma surrounding it varies. Female infertility affects one out of every six couples.

Fortunately, about 65% of couples that get treatment for a fertility problem are eventually able to have a successful pregnancy. Let’s read on and see some of the possible causes of infertility in women and some possible solution to consider.

Ovulation Disorder

Occurs when eggs fail to mature in the ovaries or when the ovaries fail to release a mature egg at all. Ovulation problem can occur due to many conditions like womb and fallopian tubes not able to allow an egg to travel from the ovary to the womb. Pelvic surgery can sometimes cause scarring or shorten the cervix.

Cervical mucus defect

This occurs when a woman is ovulating. Mucus in her cervix becomes thinner so that sperm can swim through it more easily. Other causes include sub mucosal fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory diseases, etc.

Possible symptoms

Absent or infrequent period,unusually light or heavy menstrual bleeding or lack of such premenstrual symptoms as bloating or breast tenderness.

Possible Solution

Always try to manage your body weight if it’s too low or too high. Take fertility drugs (with or without artificial insemination.

Endometriosis

This is a condition that occurs when tissue normally found in the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. It usually grows in the abdomen or pelvis. When this situation occurs, it can cause infertility because the new growth forms adhesion (sticky areas of tissue) or cysts (fluid-filled sacks) that can block or distort the pelvis. When this occurs, it makes it difficult for an egg to be released and becomes implanted into the womb. It can also disturb the way that a follicle (fluid-filled space in which an egg develops) matures and releases an egg.

Possible Symptoms

Most women have no symptoms, while other women have painful periods or intercourse, heavy bleeding or unusual spotting and general pelvic pain.

Possible Solution

It is advised that when you notice the symptoms above, go for surgery to remove endometrial tissue or open blocked fallopian tubes. You can as well take fertility drugs (with or without artificial insemination) or IVF (In vitro fertilisation).

Poor Egg Quality

In some cases, the quality and number of eggs the ovaries produce naturally or with fertility treatment decline significantly after 35 years of age.

Possible Symptoms

None

Possible Solution

Take fertility drugs or IVF using your own eggs, with donor eggs or embryos.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

This is a condition in which small follicles in the ovaries don’t develop into the larger, mature follicles that release eggs. It is also characterised by hormone imbalance and unpredictable ovulation patterns.

Possible Symptoms

Irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne and obesity.

Possible Solution

Try and modify your lifestyle by dieting, and exercise, clomiphene citrate, injected fertility drugs, ovarian drilling, a surgical procedure that can trigger ovulation and IVF. Women with glucose intolerance, the diabetes drug, metformin (Glucophage) can also help restore regular ovulation.

Unexplained Fertility Problem

Doctors may diagnose an unexplained fertility problem if there is no obvious reason for your infertility (meaning all test results are normal). Some experts believe subtle differences in the way the reproductive system works may cause this type of infertility. This can include differences in follicle development, sperm function, or the fertilisation process. Experts also theorize that lifestyle factors such as being significantly underweight or overweight, regularly consuming too much caffeine or alcohol, and smoking may be contributing factors as well.

Possible symptoms

None

Possible Solution

Take fertility drugs (with or without artificial insemination) or IVF.

How Female Infertility can be diagnosed

Potential female infertility is assessed as part of a thorough physical exam. The exam will include a medical history regarding potential factors that could contribute to infertility.

Health care providers may use one or more of the following tests/exams to evaluate fertility

A urine or blood test to check for infections or a hormone problem, including thyroid function.

Pelvic exam and breast exam

A sample of cervical mucus and tissue to determine if ovulation is occurring.

Laparoscope inserted into the abdomen to view the condition of organs and to look for blockage, adhesions or scar tissue.

Hysteroscope uses a tiny telescope with a fiber light to look for uterine abnormalities.

Ultrasound to look at the uterus and ovaries. This may be done vaginally or abnormally.

Sonohystogram combines an ultrasound and saline injected into the uterus to look for abnormalities or problems.

Tracking your ovulation through fertility awareness will also help your healthcare provider assess your fertility status. All couples are unique, so think of the success rate for any treatment as a general snapshot, not a prediction of your chances of having a baby.

 

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