The joy of carrying her own child is one that almost everyone woman out there wishes to experience. But sadly, not all women are able to experience this joy because of so many reasons.
In some cases, a lot of women have issues conceiving. While in some other cases, many who conceive are not able to carry the baby till the expected date of delivery, leading to an experience known as a miscarriage. Either way, female infertility has become a source of worry for most ladies out there.
No doubt, there are lots of factors contributing to infertility in marriages, ranging from the fault being from the man, or the woman, or some other uncategorized causes. But according to popular statistics, in most cases, the cause is usually from the woman. But there is no cause for alarm because there are several proven ways to battle this issue.
In this article, we will be going through the causes of female infertility, treatment, and some preventive measures you can adopt. But before we get into all that, let’s have an overview of the female reproductive cycle, let’s understand the process and the pre-requisite for conception to take place.
Even though the term female infertility does not need much introduction, I just want to make sure you fully understand that female infertility by means of definition can be referred to as trying to get pregnant for at least one year with constant sexual intercourse but no success recorded.
Causes of Female infertility can be hard to diagnose in some cases. There are also several medications available for the purpose of combating female infertility. But note that the majority of women ( about 95 percent) eventually conceive without taking any treatment, after the couple must have tried for some time.
The following factors are essential to becoming pregnant:
- Ovulation. Ovulation is the process by which the lady’s ovaries produce and release eggs. This process is very important for pregnancy to occur as if there is no production or release of an egg, then there will be no egg for the sperm to fertilize. There are several ways of checking for ovulation. You can consult your health care provider to get started.
- Good Sperm. For most married couples, this isn’t usually a problem. However, your doctor can run a semen analysis test in order to confirm the quality of the sperm released by the man. This is essential especially in cases where the man has recorded STDs in the past or has a history of a major illness or surgery.
- Regular intercourse. I guess this goes without saying. You need to have frequent sexual intercourse during your fertile time. Your doctor can help you better understand when you’re most fertile.
- Open fallopian tubes and a normal uterus. In most cases, this is usually not an issue also. But it is still worth mentioning that the egg and sperm meet in the fallopian tubes for fertilization. And the newly fertilized baby needs a healthy uterus in which to grow.
For pregnancy to occur, every step of the human reproduction process has to occur and occur correctly as well. The steps in this process are:
- You will need to produce and release a mature edge. This is done by your ovaries.
- The egg you release is being picked up by the lady’s fallopian tube.
- The Sperm swims up the lady’s cervix, through the uterus and into the fallopian tube to reach the egg for fertilization.
- The egg that has been fertilized moves down from the fallopian tube to the uterus.
- Your fertilized egg implants itself and grows in the woman’s uterus.
Unfortunately for some women, one or two of the above process does not occur. Or maybe it occurs but does not occur properly due to a couple of factors.
Causes of Female Infertility
Let’s look at some common causes of infertility in women. Female infertility can be as a result of:
In this case, there is a failure of the production of mature eggs by the ovaries, a situation known as a premature ovarian failure. There are still instances where the ovarian eggs are produced, but there is a failure of the ovaries to release the egg.
How do you spot ovarian issues?
The following are just pointers to ovarian issues. Do contact your primary health care provider for a proper diagnosis.
- Menstruation being heavier than expected can be a pointer to an ovarian issue.
- There are usually missing the menstrual cycles in some cases.
- In other cases, breast becoming tender and swelling can be signs of ovarian issues for some women.
Ovulation issue accounts for infertility in 1 of every 4 couples that are having fertility issues.
This is a condition whereby instead of growing on within the internal lining of the uterus, endometrial tissue grows on the outer part of your uterus instead.
The tissue usually grows in the abdominal-pelvic cavity which is not right. And oftentimes requires surgical procedures for the removal of the extra tissue.
Possible Symptoms Include:
- You may experience unusual pain during your menstrual cycle.
- Other symptoms may be related to pain when having sex.
Endometriosis can also affect the lining of the uterus, disrupting the implantation of the fertilized egg. The condition also seems to affect fertility in less-direct ways, such as damage to the sperm or egg.
3. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is an ovarian disorder mostly caused by the male androgen hormone. This disorder often leads to irregular or prolonged menstruation.
Possible symptoms include.
- The lady may experience irregular menstrual.
- Acne break may also be experienced.
- You may also experience excessive weight loss.
4. Damaged fallopian tube.
If your fallopian tube isn’t working as it should, let’s say it has been blocked or harmed, this can be another reason for infertility. In this case, the sperm will not be able to swim to the egg. And as such, no fertilization will take place.
Reasons for fallopian tube harm or blockage can include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, which is an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes due to chlamydia, gonorrhea or other sexually transmitted infections
- Previous surgery in the abdomen or pelvis, including surgery for ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants and develops in a fallopian tube instead of the uterus
- Pelvic tuberculosis.
5. Hormonal problems.
Another reason for female infertility is hormonal issues. This can lead to the discharge of ovule in the uterus.
This consequently makes the coating of the uterus thicken subsequently keeping the sperm from entering the uterus. As a result of these, no fertilization will occur.
6. Early menopause.
This is another reason for female infertility, whereby the lady experience menopause before she hits the correct age. This generally happens because of the deficient supply of ovaries. In different cases, it happens to ladies who are athletic and have had low weight and consequently can’t deliver enough eggs.
7. Damaged ovaries.
If your ovaries have been harmed/damaged, it might be difficult for fertilization to occur. Part of what causes harm to the ovaries is having various medical operations, repeated ovarian cysts, and a few others.
8. Congenital effects.
In very rare cases, there are some women who are born with abnormalities in some parts of their uterus. If this is the case, then it might be difficult for fertilization to occur.
9. Environmental causes.
A lot of environmental factors that can lead to infertility. Some may be genetic such as damage to the DNA which makes it impossible to conceive. Other causes may be related to drug abuse that causes the body to become toxic.
10. Sexually transmitted diseases.
Having a strong history of sexually transmitted diseases might have affected the female’s reproductive system in one way or the other. Thereby reducing the chances of conception to occur.
As a woman, there is an expected age that your body can be fruitful, however on the off chance that you pass that age, you may have issues in getting pregnant. For a lady, you are prompted that the most recent age you can consider is 40 – 45 years.
As you approach 45 years you may encounter issues in getting pregnant as your body isn’t producing eggs for fertilization as it used to in previous years. Note that the age range varies from person to person.
12. Unexplained infertility
Now and then, the reason for infertility is rarely found. A mix of a few minor factors in the two partners could cause unexplained fertility issues. Even though it’s disappointing to find no particular solution, this issue may address itself with time. Be that as it may, you shouldn’t defer treatment for infertility.
- The primary indication is the failure to get pregnant.
- A menstrual cycle that is excessively long (35 days or more)
- Or one that is excessively short (under 21 days). Unpredictable or missing can imply that you’re not ovulating. There might be no other outward signs or manifestations.
Certain factors may put you at higher risk of infertility as a woman, including:
- Age. As stated earlier, the amount and the quality of egg a woman produces begins to decline as she advances in age. This can contribute to difficulty in childbearing or miscarriage.
- Smoking. Besides being a threat to your lungs, and causing severe damage to your cervix and fallopian tubes, smoking increases your risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It’s also thought to age your ovaries and drain your eggs prematurely. If you smoke, you can consider stopping smoking before beginning fertility treatment.
- Weight. Being overweight or significantly underweight may affect normal ovulation. Getting to a healthy body mass index (BMI) may increase the frequency of ovulation and the likelihood of pregnancy.
- Sexual history. Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can damage the fallopian tubes. Having unprotected intercourse with multiple partners increases your risk of a sexually transmitted infection that may cause fertility problems later.
- Alcohol. Stick to moderate alcohol consumption of no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
In case you’re a lady pondering getting pregnant soon or later on, you may improve your odds of having fertility if you:
- Maintain a normal weight. Overweight and underweight women are at increased risk of ovulation disorders. If you need to lose weight, exercise moderately. Strenuous, intense exercise of more than five hours a week has been associated with decreased ovulation.
- Quit smoking. Tobacco has multiple negative effects on fertility, not to mention your general health and the health of a fetus. If you smoke and are considering pregnancy, quit now.
- Avoid alcohol. Heavy alcohol use may lead to decreased fertility. And any alcohol use can affect the health of a developing fetus. If you’re planning to become pregnant, avoid alcohol, and don’t drink alcohol while you’re pregnant.
- Reduce stress. Some studies have shown that couples experiencing psychological stress had poorer results with infertility treatment. If you can, find a way to reduce stress in your life before trying to become pregnant.
- Limit caffeine intake. Research suggests that limiting caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams a day shouldn’t affect your ability to get pregnant. That’s about one to two cups of 6 to 8 ounces of coffee per day.
Certain factors determine the line of treatment to embark on while dealing with female infertility. Such factors include the cause of infertility, your age, how long the infertility issue has been, and the individual’s preference.
Some treatment methods include:
Usage of Fertility drugs
Fertility drugs are potentially recommended for ladies whose cause of infertility is ovulation issues. This drug works by stimulating ovulation in ladies.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH) are triggered in order to stimulate ovulation.
Fertility Restoration Surgery
This process involves the adoption of surgical treatments in order to correct the cause of female infertility. But because of the success of other forms of treatment, surgical treatment is rarely resorted to, except in special cases.
Examples of such surgical procedures are:
- Laparoscopic or hysteroscopic surgery. Involves the surgical removal of endometrial polyps, fibroids, pelvic or uterine adhesions that utter the shape of the uterus.
- Tubal surgeries.
The most commonly used methods of reproductive assistance include:
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI). During IUI, millions of healthy sperm are placed inside the uterus close to the time of ovulation.
- Assisted reproductive technology. This involves retrieving mature eggs from a woman, fertilizing them with a man’s sperm in a dish in a lab, then transferring the embryos into the uterus after fertilization. IVF is the most effective assisted reproductive technology. An IVF cycle takes several weeks and requires frequent blood tests and daily hormone injections.
Female Infertility can be a great source of worry. But you do not be disturbed too much, as you will eventually succeed. I know this because statistics show that more 50 percent of women who continue to try eventually get pregnant without needing any form of treatment.
Thank you for reading!
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