Before we delve into the causes of infertility in women, we should start first by going over the definition of infertility.
What Is Infertility?
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after 12 months or longer of regular unprotected intercourse. Infertility affects not only reproductive health. It also affects intimacy and one’s self-esteem as well. This article mainly focuses on female infertility in women and its specific causes.
According to the CDC, for heterosexual women aged 15 to 49 years with no prior births, about 1 in 5 (19%) are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying (infertility).
Below Are Some Of The Causes Of Infertility In Women
Infection: Infections like vaginitis and cervicitis make the vaginal environment hostile to semen. It can affect the mobility and implantation of semen.
Cervical factor: Low estrogen levels could slow down fertilization. Polyps and tumors can affect the implantation of semen. Abnormally shaped uterus and cervical stenosis (narrowing of the cervix) are all types of cervical factor conditions
Tubal Factor: This involves a defect, Damage, or occlusion to the structural integrity of the fallopian tube. Cases involving the fallopian tubes can be diagnosed by hysterosalpingogram, laparoscopy, or tubal insufflation.
Ovulation factor: Ovulation is a process that occurs when a mature egg is released from the ovary. Some signs of ovulation include an increase in clear or white vaginal discharge, increased sexual urge, swollen painful breasts, change in basal body temperature. Pituitary tumors can also affect ovulation. Polycystic ovarian syndrome is one of the main causes of infertility in women.
Uterine factor: Diagnostic tests are performed to assess the patency and absence of anomalies. Adhesions caused by improper or multiple D&Cs can affect the proper implantation of eggs.
Unexplained fertility: This happens when a doctor cannot find the cause of infertility
Several factors can increase a woman’s risk of infertility
- Hormonal imbalance
- Structural problem with fallopian tube, uterus or ovaries
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome
- Illicit drug use
- Multiple abortions
- Precocious ectopic pregnancy
Once your doctor diagnoses female infertility. He may offer you multiple options and you and your partner choose the best fit.
Artificial Insemination: This is a procedure that involves the husband’s sperm or donor sperm is cryogenically stored. It is then placed in the uterus at the time of ovulation.
Invitro fertilization: This is a process whereby eggs are fertilized with sperm in the lab to make embryos. After Fertilisation, the egg is transferred into the uterus.
Surrogacy: this is a legal arrangement where a woman will bear a child for another woman or a couple.
Adoption: this involves meeting up with an adoption agency.
When it comes to treating infertility. Some medications are more common than others. These are a few medications used in treating infertility in women
Clomiphene Citrate: This drug triggers ovulation by stimulating the pituitary gland to release hormones. These hormones stimulate the growth of eggs.
Gonadotropins: These hormones are administered into the body via injections. Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (HMG) stimulates the ovary to produce eggs. Another hormone called Human Chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is taken to mature the eggs and trigger release during ovulation.
Metformin: This is used when insulin resistance has been diagnosed as a known or suspected cause of infertility.
Bromocriptine: It is usually prescribed when your doctor diagnoses that ovulation problems are caused by increased production of prolactin.
Side Effects Of Fertility Drugs
We know all drugs have side effects, some milder than others. These side effects are not peculiar to one individual. They are the most common side effects most women will experience if they start on fertility drugs. Some women may experience no side effects at all.
- Mood changes
- Multiple gestations
- Increased risk in pregnancy loss especially in older women
- Weight gain
Couples trying to get pregnant and did not accomplish this within one year of unprotected sex should consult their doctor. It is usually a lot better when both partners actually subject themselves to testing. This way they can confirm whether the issue is from the woman or her partner.
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