Female infertility can delay your dream of starting a family, but with the right intervention, you can come out a winner.
Female infertility affects one-third of all couples affected by infertility, and yet, despite its prevalence, it’s often swept under the carpet and discussed in hushed whispers. The condition can be a challenge to diagnose because often, there are no outwardly signs or symptoms. The good news is there are several medical treatments available to treat female infertility, so if you’re struggling, take heart in knowing there’s hope.
What Are the Causes of Female Infertility?
Many factors are essential to female fertility; from proper ovulation and hormonal health to open fallopian tubes and a normal uterus. Some causes of female infertility are outlined below.
If you ovulate infrequently or not at all, your chances of falling pregnant are much lower than a normally ovulating woman. Ovulatory disorders may be caused by hormonal imbalances triggered by the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, or ovulatory dysfunction. Some ovulation-impeding conditions include polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothalamic dysfunction, premature ovarian failure and excessive prolactin reserves.
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes can prevent sperm from reaching the egg, or hinder the passage of a fertilised egg from the ovary to the uterus. Tubal damage may be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, prior pelvic or abdominal surgery or pelvic tuberculosis.
Endometriosis causes uterine tissue to grow outside the uterus, causing scarring and tubal damage. The condition can also hamper the lining of the uterus, impeding the implantation of an embryo. In addition, endometriosis is believed to compromise egg quality.
Uterine or Cervical Problems
Uterine or cervical conditions – like benign polyps or tumours, endometriosis scarring, cervical stenosis, uterine inflammation and uterine anomalies – can disrupt implantation and increase the odds of miscarriage.
When all tests return normal results, there’s never a cause to be found for infertility. This is known as unexplained infertility, and could be caused by minor problems in one or both partners. Unexplained infertility needn’t be permanent, and may reverse itself with time. However, it’s wise to seek treatment early if you know you’re affected.
What Are the Symptoms of Female Infertility?
Unfortunately, female infertility seldom comes with advance notice, so you’re unlikely to be prepared if it does strike. However, some infertility symptoms to watch for include:
- A menstrual cycle of 35 days or more
- A menstrual cycle of 21 days or fewer
- An unpredictable or absent menstrual cycle (a sign of anovulation)
If you’ve been trying to conceive a baby for a while and haven’t seen success, seek comfort in knowing that you may be perfectly well, and there may be nothing wrong. It is normal for perfectly healthy couples (when the woman is below 35) to take up to a year or more to conceive a child (the equivalent timeline is six months when the woman is above 35), so be gentle on yourself. However, if you’ve exceeded these timelines and suspect something wrong, it’s wise to seek help right away.
With early infertility treatment, you can get a head start to building your family, finally beat your condition and have something beautiful to show for it.
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