Common Reasons Female Infertility
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30th Oct 2011, 10:53 AM #1
Common Reasons Female Infertility
The hormonal control of the menstrual cycle can be extremely complex. Below is a short list of conditions that can cause female infertility problems. The good news? Treatments are available for many of these conditions.
Ovulatory problems and Female Infertility
Approximately 25% of all infertile women have problems with ovulation1. The normal ovarian cycle is so complex that even small changes may disrupt the cycle and prevent ovulation.
In most cases, hormonal imbalances, like not having enough of a certain hormone or not releasing a hormone at the right time, are the cause of the problem. Extremely low body weight, being overweight, or any significant change in weight (loss or gain) can also cause imbalances.2
If you have an ovulation problem, your healthcare provider may choose to treat you with clomiphene citrate.
Age and Female Infertility
A woman's fertility naturally declines as she gets older. If you're over 35 and have been unable to conceive after six months of regular, unprotected intercourse, you should talk to a healthcare provider.
Anatomical problems and Female Infertility
A variety of anatomical issues can cause female infertility.
Blocked fallopian tubes
Sometimes a woman's fallopian tubes become blocked because of past infections (pelvic inflammatory disease, for example), or by abdominal surgery. Sexually transmitted diseases can also scar or damage the fallopian tubes, causing blockages. 3
Blockage can interfere with the sperm and egg uniting. If they do unite, blockages can prevent the embryo from implanting itself in the uterus. Often women with blocked fallopian tubes don't experience any symptoms. Treatment of tubal problems or pelvic scarring may require specialized surgery, depending upon a woman's situation. 4
When a woman isn't ovulating, cervical mucus helps prevent infections entering the uterus. During ovulation, the thickness and quality of the mucus alters to allow sperm to pass through. Sometimes cervical problems can prevent the sperm from entering. 2
Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the leading causes of infertility, affecting an estimated 5% to 10% of women of childbearing age. PCOS is a condition in which cysts develop in the ovaries due to abnormal hormone levels. The ovaries can then enlarge. Symptoms may include irregular or absent periods, high blood pressure, acne, elevated insulin levels, excess hair on the face and body, and weight problems. 5
Depending upon the location of treatment and the drug and dosage used, chemotherapy and radiation can contribute to difficulty conceiving.6 If you're undergoing treatment for cancer, you can find fertility information and support at Fertile Hope.
When to see a healthcare provider and female infertility
You should see a healthcare provider any time you have concerns about your fertility. Don't wait! By definition, you are considered infertile if you're younger than 35 and have been unable to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse; or if you’re over 35 and have been unable to conceive after six months of regular, unprotected intercourse.
You should also see a healthcare provider if any of the following apply to you:
- Over age 35
- Irregular or absent periods
- Two or more miscarriages
- Prior use of an intrauterine device (IUD)
- Endometriosis/painful menstruation
- Breast discharge
- Excessive acne or hirsutism (body hair)
- Prior use of contraceptive and no subsequent menstruation
- History of sexually transmitted disease
- History or pelvic/genital infection
- Previous abdominal surgery
- Reversal of surgical sterilization
- Chronic medical condition (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure)
- History of chemotherapy or radiation therapy
As with all prescription medications, side effects may occasionally occur with use of fertility drugs. Doctors specializing in fertility or reproductive health should only prescribe these products. Patients prescribed gonadotropins and GnRH analogs should be monitored carefully by a trained fertility specialist. Risks include the following events which can be serious: hypersensitivity reactions; ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS); pulmonary and vascular complications, and multiple births. For complete product details about a specific fertility drug, please refer to the Full Prescribing Information.
Last edited by Parasakthi; 31st Oct 2011 at 10:58 AM. Reason: links have been removed