Infertility means not being able to become pregnant after a year of trying. If a woman can get pregnant but keeps having miscarriages or stillbirths, that's also called infertility.
Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most couples.
SYMPTOMS OF INFERTILITY
The main symptom of infertility is not getting pregnant. There may be no other obvious symptoms. Sometimes, a woman with infertility may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. In some cases, a man with infertility may have some signs of hormonal problems, such as changes in hair growth or sexual function.
Most couples will eventually conceive, with or without treatment.
CAUSES OF INFERTILITY
All of the steps during ovulation and fertilization need to happen correctly in order to get pregnant. Sometimes the issues that cause infertility in couples are present at birth, and sometimes they develop later in life.
Infertility causes can affect one or both partners. In general:
- In about one-third of cases, there is an issue with the man
- In about one-third of cases, there is an issue with the woman
- In the remaining cases, there are issues with both the man and the woman, or no cause can be found
CAUSES OF MALE INFERTILITY
These may include:
- Abnormal sperm production or function due to undescended testicles, genetic defects, health problems such as diabetes, or infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, mumps or HIV. Enlarged veins in the testes (varicocele) also can affect the quality of sperm.
- Problems with the delivery of sperm due to sexual problems, such as premature ejaculation; certain genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis; structural problems, such as a blockage in the testicle; or damage or injury to the reproductive organs.
- Overexposure to certain environmental factors, such as pesticides and other chemicals, and radiation. Cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana, anabolic steroids, and taking medications to treat bacterial infections, high blood pressure and depression also can affect fertility. Frequent exposure to heat, such as in saunas or hot tubs, can raise body temperature and may affect sperm production.
- Damage related to cancer and its treatment, including radiation or chemotherapy. Treatment for cancer can impair sperm production, sometimes severely.
CAUSES OF FEMALE INFERTILITY
Causes of female infertility may include:
- Ovulation disorders, which affect the release of eggs from the ovaries. These include hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome. Hyperprolactinemia, a condition in which you have too much prolactin — the hormone that stimulates breast milk production — also may interfere with ovulation. Either too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) can affect the menstrual cycle or cause infertility. Other underlying causes may include too much exercise, eating disorders or tumors.
- Uterine or cervical abnormalities, including abnormalities with the cervix, polyps in the uterus or the shape of the uterus. Noncancerous (benign) tumors in the uterine wall (uterine fibroids) may cause infertility by blocking the fallopian tubes or stopping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
- Fallopian tube damage or blockage, often caused by inflammation of the fallopian tube (salpingitis). This can result from pelvic inflammatory disease, which is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection, endometriosis or adhesions.
- Endometriosis, which occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus, may affect the function of the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes.
- Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause), when the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age 40. Although the cause is often unknown, certain factors are associated with early menopause, including immune system diseases, certain genetic conditions such as Turner syndrome or carriers of Fragile X syndrome, and radiation or chemotherapy treatment.
- Pelvic adhesions, bands of scar tissue that bind organs that can form after pelvic infection, appendicitis, endometriosis or abdominal or pelvic surgery.
- Cancer and its treatment. Certain cancers — particularly reproductive cancers — often impair female fertility. Both radiation and chemotherapy may affect fertility.
Many of the risk factors for both male and female infertility are the same. They include:
- Age. Women's fertility gradually declines with age, especially in the mid-30s, and it drops rapidly after age 37. Infertility in older women is likely due to the lower number and quality of eggs, and can also be due to health problems that affect fertility. Men over age 40 may be less fertile than younger men.
- Tobacco use. Smoking tobacco or marijuana by either partner may reduce the likelihood of pregnancy. Smoking also reduces the possible effectiveness of fertility treatment. Miscarriages are more frequent in women who smoke. Smoking can increase the risk of erectile dysfunction and a low sperm count in men.
- Alcohol use. For women, there's no safe level of alcohol use during conception or pregnancy. Alcohol use may contribute to infertility. For men, heavy alcohol use can decrease sperm count and motility.
- Being overweight. Among American women, an inactive lifestyle and being overweight may increase the risk of infertility. For men, sperm count also may be affected by being overweight.
- Being underweight. Women at risk of fertility problems include those with eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, and those who follow a very low-calorie or restrictive diet.
- Exercise issues. A lack of exercise contributes to obesity, which increases the risk of infertility. Less often, ovulation problems may be associated with frequent strenuous, intense exercise in women who are not overweight.
Some types of infertility aren't preventable. But several strategies may increase chances of pregnancy.
Have regular intercourse several times around the time of ovulation for the highest pregnancy rate. Intercourse beginning at least five days before and until a day after ovulation improves your chances of getting pregnant. Ovulation usually occurs in the middle of the cycle — halfway between menstrual periods — for most women with menstrual cycles about 28 days apart.
Although most types of infertility aren't preventable in men, these strategies may help:
- Avoid drug and tobacco use and drinking too much alcohol, which may contribute to male infertility.
- Avoid high temperatures found in hot tubs and hot baths, as they can temporarily affect sperm production and motility.
- Avoid exposure to industrial or environmental toxins, which can affect sperm production.
- Limit medications that may impact fertility, both prescription and nonprescription drugs. Talk with your doctor about any medications you take regularly, but don't stop taking prescription medications without medical advice.
- Exercise moderately. Regular exercise may improve sperm quality and increase the chances for achieving a pregnancy.
For women, a number of strategies may increase the chances of becoming pregnant:
- Quit smoking. Tobacco has many negative effects on fertility, not to mention your general health and the health of a fetus. If you smoke and are considering pregnancy, quit now.
- Avoid alcohol and street drugs. These substances may impair your ability to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy. Don't drink alcohol or use recreational drugs, such as marijuana, if you're trying to get pregnant.
- Limit caffeine. Women trying to get pregnant may want to limit caffeine intake. Ask your doctor for guidance on the safe use of caffeine.
- Exercise moderately. Regular exercise is important, but exercising so intensely that your periods are infrequent or absent can affect fertility.
- Avoid weight extremes. Being overweight or underweight can affect your hormone production and cause infertility.
Homeopathy treatment of infertility is mainly achieved through the administration of constitutional homeopathic medicines found most suitable after a detailed case analysis.
FOR INFERTILITY IN WOMEN
For Infertility in Females due to Acid Vaginal Discharges:
Borax and Natrum Phos are top-grade medicines for infertility in females due to acid vaginal discharges. These homeopathic medicines for infertility in females are used where the vaginal discharges are acrid, destructive and kill the sperms. Borax is a medicine for infertility in females when the vaginal discharge is like the white of an egg, acrid, copious and warm. In such cases, Borax favors easy conception. Next medicine Natrum Phos is indicated for infertility in women who have acrid, irritating, creamy, honey-colored vaginal discharges. The discharge also smells sour.
For Infertility in Females due to too Profuse or Prolonged Periods (menorrhagia):
Two excellent medicines for infertility in females from profuse or prolonged periods are Calcarea Carb and Aletris Farinosa. Calcarea Carb is mainly used when a female with infertility has too profuse and too long lasting periods. The periods also appear before time. To prescribe Aletris farinose, the main symptoms are early and copious menses with infertility. Leucorrhea, anemia, weakness, tiredness, and fatigue may also persist with menorrhagia. Among these medicines for infertility in females, Aletris Farinosa is also prescribed where a tendency for frequent abortions is present.
For Infertility in Females with Short, Scanty Periods:
Pulsatilla and Sepia are suitable medicines for infertility in females resulting from short, scanty periods. Pulsatilla is a natural medicine for infertility in women who have faced menstrual irregularities since their menarche. The menses always get delayed and never appear on the expected date. The menstrual discharge is also scanty and remains for a very short time. Pulsatilla also tops the list of medicines for infertility in females suffering from PCOD. Next medicine Sepia is prescribed for infertility in females where the menses are short, scanty and suppressed.
For Infertility in Females with Decreased Sexual Desire:
Agnus Castus and Sepia are prominently indicated medicines for infertility in females with decreased sexual desire. Among these medicines for infertility in females Agnus Castus is used when aversion to sex is there. Excessive masturbation may be a cause behind this. The genitals are also relaxed with transparent vaginal discharges. Next homeopathic medicine Sepia is also used for infertility in females having low sex drive. The vagina may be excessively dry with pain while intercourse. Bearing down sensation is also a marked feature that may appear.
For Infertility in Females due to Non Retention of Sperms:
Among the various medicines for infertility in females from non-retention of sperms Natrum Carb occupies highest rank. Natrum Carb is very effective for women who have sterility from non retention of sperms. Offensive and irritating vaginal discharges may also be present.
FOR INFERTILITY IN MALES
For Infertility in Males with Erectile Dysfunction:
Homeopathic medicine Agnus Castus is best picked up when both sexual desire and physical ability are lacking. Genitals are relaxed, flaccid, and cold. Caladium, is the best choice for impotency with mental depression. Sexual desire is present but the genitals are relaxed with weak erections. Selenium is also best among the various medicines for infertility in males from erectile dysfunction. Selenium is helpful for slow, weak erections with rapid emissions. Involuntary semen discharges may also be present.
For Infertility in Males with Low Sperm Count:
X Ray tops the list of medicines for infertility in males from a low sperm count. It helps to increase sperm count. It helps in both improving the quality and quantity of sperms.
For Infertility in Males with Orchitis:
Conium is the top-grade medicine among the chart of medicines for infertility in males with orchitis. It is used when the testicles are swollen, hard and enlarged. It is also effective when a history of suppressed sexual desire is present.
For Infertility in Males with Wasting of Testes:
Sabal Serrulata is one of the best medicines for infertility in males with wasting (atrophy) of testes. It is also the perfect medicine for infertility in males with prostate enlargement or prostatitis.