Female infertility causes can be difficult to diagnose. There are many available treatments, which will depend on the cause of infertility. Many infertile couples will go on to conceive a child without treatment. After trying to get pregnant for two years, about 95 percent of couples successfully conceive.
The main symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant. A menstrual cycle that is too long (35 days or more), too short (less than 21 days), irregular or absent can mean that you are not ovulating. There may be no other outward signs or symptoms.
Each of these factors is essential to become pregnant:
- need to ovulate. To get pregnant, our ovaries must produce and release an egg, a process known as ovulation.
- Partner needs sperm. For most couples, this is not a problem unless our partner has a history of illness or surgery.
- Need to have regular intercourse-One need to have regular sexual intercourse during their fertile time.
- Need to have open fallopian tubes and a normal uterus- The egg and sperm meet in the fallopian tubes, and the embryo needs a healthy uterus in which to grow.
For pregnancy to occur, every step of the human reproduction process has to happen correctly. The steps in this process are:
- One of the two ovaries releases a mature egg.
- The egg is picked up by the fallopian tube.
- Sperm swim up the cervix, through the uterus and into the fallopian tube to reach the egg for fertilization.
- The fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus.
- The fertilized egg implants and grows in the uterus.
In women, a number of factors can disrupt this process at any step. Female infertility is caused by one or more of the factors below.
Ovulation disorders, meaning one ovulate infrequently or not at all, account for infertility in about 1 in 4 infertile couples. Problems with the regulation of reproductive hormones by the hypothalamus or the pituitary gland, or problems in the ovary, can cause ovulation disorders.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)- PCOS causes a hormone imbalance, which affects ovulation. PCOS is associated with insulin resistance and obesity,abnormal hair growth on the face or body, and acne. It is the most common cause of female infertility.
- Hypothalamic dysfunction-Two hormones produced by the pituitary gland are responsible for stimulating ovulation each month-follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Excess physical or emotional stress, a very high or very low body weight, or a recent substantial weight gain or loss can disrupt production of these hormones and affect ovulation. Irregular or absent periods are the most common signs.
- Premature ovarian failure. Also called primary ovarian insufficiency, this disorder is usually caused by an autoimmune response or by premature loss of eggs from our ovary (possibly from genetics or chemotherapy). The ovary no longer produces eggs, and it lowers estrogen production in women under the age of 40.
- Too much prolactin- The pituitary gland may cause excess production of prolactin (hyperprolactinemia), which reduces estrogen production and may cause infertility.Usually related to a pituitary gland problem, this can also be caused by medications we are taking for another disease.
Damage to fallopian tubes (tubal infertility)
Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes keep sperm from getting to the egg or block the passage of the fertilized egg into the uterus. Causes of fallopian tube damage or blockage can include:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes due to chlamydia, gonorrhea or other sexually transmitted infections
- Previous surgery in the abdomen or pelvis, including surgery for ectopic pregnancy, in which a fertilized egg implants and develops in a fallopian tube instead of the uterus
- Pelvic tuberculosis, a major cause of tubal infertility worldwide, although uncommon in the United States
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that normally grows in the uterus implants and grows in other locations. This extra tissue growth and the surgical removal of it can cause scarring, which may block fallopian tubes and keep an egg and sperm from uniting.
Endometriosis can also affect the lining of the uterus, disrupting implantation of the fertilized egg. The condition also seems to affect fertility in less-direct ways, such as damage to the sperm or egg.
Uterine or cervical causes
Several uterine or cervical causes can impact fertility by interfering with implantation or increasing the likelihood of a miscarriage:
- Benign polyps or tumors (fibroids or myomas) are common in the uterus. Some can block fallopian tubes or interfere with implantation, affecting fertility. However, many women who have fibroids or polyps do become pregnant.
- Endometriosis scarring or inflammation within the uterus can disrupt implantation.
- Uterine abnormalities present from birth, such as an abnormally shaped uterus, can cause problems becoming or remaining pregnant.
- Cervical stenosis, a narrowing of the cervix, can be caused by an inherited malformation or damage to the cervix.
- Sometimes the cervix can't produce the best type of mucus to allow the sperm to travel through the cervix into the uterus.
Sometimes, the cause of infertility is never found. A combination of several minor factors in both partners could cause unexplained fertility problems. Although it is frustrating to get no specific answer, this problem may correct itself with time. But, one should not delay treatment for infertility.
Certain factors may put you at higher risk of infertility, including:
- Age- The quality and quantity of a woman's eggs begin to decline with increasing age. In the mid-30s, the rate of follicle loss speeds, resulting in fewer and poorer quality eggs. This makes conception more difficult, and increases the risk of miscarriage.
- Smoking.-Besides damaging our cervix and fallopian tubes, smoking increases our risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It is also thought to age our ovaries and deplete our eggs prematurely. Stop smoking before beginning fertility treatment.
- Weight-Being overweight or significantly underweight may affect normal ovulation. Getting to a healthy body mass index (BMI) may increase the frequency of ovulation and likelihood of pregnancy.
- Sexual history-Sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia and gonorrhea can damage the fallopian tubes. Having unprotected intercourse with multiple partners increases your risk of a sexually transmitted infection that may cause fertility problems later.
- Alcohol. Stick to moderate alcohol consumption of no more than one alcoholic drink per day.
PREVENTION OF FEMALE INFERTILITY
For women thinking about getting pregnant soon or in the future, these tips may help optimize fertility:
- Maintain a normal weight.
- Quit smoking.
- Avoid alcohol.
- Reduce stress.
- Limit caffeine.
HOMOEOPATHIC MEDICINE FOR FEMALE INFERTILITY
ABROMA RADIX —Useful for female infertility with irregular menstrual disorder and dysmenorrhoea. There is scanty or copious menstrual flow.
BORAX —Useful for infertility in females due to acid vaginal discharges.These vaginal discharges are acrid , destructive and kill the sperms. It is prescribed when the vaginal discharge is like the white of an egg, acrid, copious and warm.
NATRUM PHOS -Useful for acid vaginal discharge which kill sperms.Also usefull for infertility in women who have acrid, irritating, creamy, honey-colored vaginal discharges. The discharge also smells sour.
CALCAREA CARB. -Useful for infertility in females due to too profuse or too prolonged periods.Helpful when periods also appear before time.
ALETRIS FARINOSA - There is early and copious menses with infertility. Useful for Leucorrhea, anaemia, weakness, tiredness and fatigue may also persist with menorrhagia.There is tendency for frequent abortions is person.