January 23, 2019 By Dr. Beena Muktesh
Fertility Factfile: The Most Common Causes of Female Infertility
Female infertility can be like a laborious maze, leaving you to navigate a plethora of seemingly endless possibilities.
For some couples, conceiving a child isn’t all sunshine and roses. At least, not immediately. Not every act of intercourse, even when fastidiously planned during the ovulation window, guarantees a pregnancy. Often, the wait can be exasperating for couples hoping for a little miracle. And sometimes, it can stretch on into an unending oblivion, teetering on what could be a possible case of infertility.
What Are the Causes of Female Infertility?
If you’ve been struggling to conceive, your problem may be rooted in an underlying clinical condition. Have a browse through these common causes of infertility in women.
Infrequent or absent ovulation means your chances of catching that golden egg are far lower than a normally ovulating woman. Ovulatory disorders are commonly associated with hormonal imbalances triggered by the hypothalamus or pituitary gland, or ovulatory dysfunction. Some conditions that impede ovulation include polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothalamic dysfunction, premature ovarian failure and excessive prolactin reserves.
Fallopian tubes that are blocked or damaged can obstruct the passage between the sperm and the egg, making fertilisation difficult, if not impossible. Tubal damage may be an outcome of pelvic inflammatory disease, prior pelvic or abdominal surgery or pelvic tuberculosis.
Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition where uterine tissue begins to grow outside the uterus, leading to scarring and tubal impairment. The condition can compromise the uterine lining, hampering implantation. It is also linked to lower egg quality.
Uterine or Cervical Problems
Problems within the uterus or cervix – including benign polyps or tumours, endometriosis scarring, cervical stenosis, uterine inflammation and uterine anomalies – can hinder implantation and increase the risk of early pregnancy loss.
Egg reserves steadily decline with age, peaking during a woman’s early 20s, plateauing during her early 30s and sharply dipping after the age of 35. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to experience problems conceiving.
Disproportionate Body Weight
Being overweight or underweight can put you at risk of infertility and miscarriage. By planning ahead and adopting a conducive nutrition plan, you can tailor your diet to prime your body for a healthy pregnancy. Studies show that obese women can resume normal ovulation by losing as little as 5% of their body weight. It goes to show that little steps can achieve big results.
Unusual Cervical Mucus
Cervical mucus provides a warm and welcoming environment for sperm to swim in and fertilize the egg. It is secreted by the cervix, and helps counterbalance the otherwise hostile, acidic environment of the vagina. Abnormal cervical mucus can derail sperm from reaching the egg. As no topical treatments are thought to improve the quality of cervical mucus, the most effective treatment for the condition is intrauterine insemination.
Unexplained infertility pertains to a scenario where the primary tests for female infertility return normal results and the causes of infertility remain unknown. In most cases, unexplained female infertility is thought to be tethered to poor endometrial receptivity, immunological factors or a compromised tubo-ovarian relationship.
If you suspect that you’re suffering from infertility, take heart in knowing that your prognosis isn’t all doom and gloom. With the right fertility intervention, you can realise your dream of starting a family. And finally, put an end to the unending wait.
Also Read: 8 Reasons for Male Secondary Infertility