If you have had difficulty conceiving for more than twelve months, or six months if your over 35 years of age, you may be wondering if your infertile.
Researchers estimate that one in six couples face fertility challenges as a result of male or female health complications. There are multitudes of factors that can affect your chances of conception. Here we will briefly outline three major causes of infertility in women: endometriosis, fallopian tube damage or blockage, and ovulation disorders.
Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue shed during a womans period implants outside of the uterus. The implanted tissue responds to the hormonal cycle and continues to grow, shed, and bleed in sync with the lining of the uterus each month. This can lead to inflammation and eventually scarring which adversely affects functions of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. Pelvic pain and infertility are common in women with endometriosis. Upon examination, no less than 40% of infertile women of reproductive age are found to have past or present endometriosis. Laparoscopic surgery to remove abnormal tissue is a commonly used treatment option for this condition.
Fallopian tube damage usually results from inflammation of the fallopian tube causes. This blocks the passage of the egg through the fallopian tubes on its way to implant in the uterus. Chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease, is the most frequent cause. Tubal inflammation can cause pain and fever, or may go unnoticed. Tubal damage is the major risk factor for ectopic pregnancy. Here a fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tubes. One episode of tubal infection may cause fertility difficulties. The risk of ectopic pregnancy increases with each occurrence of tubal infection.
Some cases of female infertility are caused by ovulation disorders. Disruption in the part of the brain that regulates ovulation can cause low levels of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. Even slight irregularities in the hormone system can affect ovulation. Specific causes of hypothalamic-pituitary disorders include injury, tumors, excessive exercise and starvation. Ovulation-stimulating drugs, follicle-stimulating hormones, human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG), and in vitro fertilisation are possible treatments for this condition.
If you are one of the many couples experiencing problems with conception talk to your general practitioner.
Most of these problems can be resolved with medical treatment or lifestyle adjustments. Your doctor will be able to diagnose any conditions present and give you treatment options, or refer you to a specialist.