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All About Female Infertility Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

All About Female Infertility Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

Female infertility is defined as an inability to conceive and carry a pregnancy successfully. A woman’s ability to get pregnant is affected when faced with female infertility. Continue reading to familiarize yourself with relevant knowledge encircling female infertility.

Among the various causes of infertility women factors (88.6%) are the highest. So, what’s actually going on with your body? Let’s shed some light on the top causes of infertility in women.

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Ovulation problems

Most cases of female infertility are caused by problems with ovulation, as without ovulation, there are no eggs to be fertilized. A problem with ovulation is a very common cause of infertility in women. Ovulation problems may be due to many disorders and the most common cause is Polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS. This is a hormonal imbalance that can interfere with normal ovulation. Ovulation refers to the release of an egg from the ovary, during menstruation in females.

It is always useful to know when ovulation is likely to occur, as a woman is most fertile during this time, and more likely to conceive. You need to ovulate to get pregnant, your doctor can help assess your menstrual cycles and confirm ovulation. Most cases of infertility in women result from problems with producing eggs. In premature ovarian failure, the ovaries stop functioning before natural menopause, and in Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), the ovaries may not release an egg regularly or they may not release a healthy egg.

Irregular ovulation is the main cause in about 25 % of infertility, while PCOS causes 70 % of irregular ovulation-related infertility cases

Unhealthy body weight

Not keeping an active lifestyle and being overweight or underweight can raise your risk of infertility. So, it’s very crucial to get to healthy body weight when trying to conceive. Reaching a healthier weight at least three months before conception can significantly improve the chance of conception and your health. Being overweight or underweight can cause problems with hormone levels, which can affect your menstrual cycle and the quality of eggs. A healthy diet coupled with regular exercise may actually increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

It’s not just about having some kind of perfect body, the priority should be to attain a healthy body because healthier parents have healthier babies and a better chance of success. Communicate honestly with your fertility doctor about your overall health and ways to measure whether you’re in a healthy weight range or not.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis can make it difficult to become pregnant. Research has found that Up to 30% to 50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility. Endometriosis can influence fertility in several ways, it is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus starts to grow in other places, like the ovaries, behind the uterus, or in the fallopian tubes, causing irritation, pain, and menstrual irregularities. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis. The good news is that there are many different treatment options to help manage endometriosis, talk to your doctor to come up with the right treatment plan for you, if you are planning to get pregnant.

Endometriosis is the most common physical change to the reproductive system that affects fertility. But other anatomical changes in the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes can also impact your ability to get pregnant.

Waiting to get pregnant

For the majority of women, simply waiting to get pregnant is a vasty contributor to infertility, making age a growing cause of fertility problems. While the effects of female age on fertility have been known for a long time, more recent studies have found that this still holds relevance. The risk of pregnancy complications increases with age. In fact, about one-third of couples trying to conceive when the woman is over 35 have difficulties. The longer you wait to get pregnant, the greater your chance of pregnancy. It is very important to get a realistic picture of your fertility health, so try to gain information in a realistic way and don’t forget to seek help from experts.

When to see a doctor?

Whatever your situation, do remember that early detection will always lead to better outcomes, if your instinct tells you something is wrong, it’s a good idea to seek medical attention right away. There are no set rules that tell you when to go or when to wait, but make sure to assess your health. Some fertility-related symptoms are hard to categorize, but it’s still important to know if they occur. Severe or disabling cramps, irregular periods, changes in period flow, absent periods, pain during sex, dizziness, fatigue that won’t go away, hormone fluctuations, etc., could be signs of a problem that needs to be addressed by your doctor.

Also, when to seek help sometimes depends on your age. Up to age 35, can try to get pregnant for at least a year before testing or treatment, and if you are between 35 and 40, discuss your issues with your fertility doctor after six months of trying. You may want to begin your testing or treatment right away if your fertility problem is already acknowledged.

The main symptom of female infertility is the inability to get pregnant after at least one year of trying (or 6 months if the woman is over age 35). Female infertility can result from age, hormone problems, physical problems, and lifestyle or environmental factors.

Female Infertility Treatment/ Diagnosis

Female infertility can be commonly treated with medication, surgery, or assisted reproductive techniques. A combined approach can also be used for treating female infertility. Depending on your fertility health, medical history, lifestyle, age, and test results, your doctor will plan the line of treatment/test. Tests for female infertility are referred to as female fertility test. For female infertility to be diagnosed, a comprehensive appointment with the fertility specialist should take place first. Topics like birth control use, pregnancy history, menstrual cycle, medications used, current and past sexual practices, surgical history, and other health issues should be discussed.

Remember- “Before you get pregnant, your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries all need to work right”.

Female infertility diagnosis will involve a blood test to examine your ovulation process. Hormonal tests, gynecological tests, and chromosome testing are some basics tests done in the female fertility test process. Hormone blood test ultimate goal is to evaluate if your ovaries and pituitary gland are working properly. Gynecological tests will evaluate the anatomy of the uterus and if the ovaries are working properly, this is done using ultrasound tests that check the condition of the uterus & ovaries, whereas chromosome testing (karyotyping) will dismiss the possibility for a chromosomal alteration to be present.

Your fertility doctor may advise you to undergo several tests or only one, depending on your situation. He/she will discuss with you which test options are best for you in your situation, you may not need to do all tests.

Female Fertility Tests & Procedures

  • Laparoscopy – This procedure is also known as keyhole surgery or minimally invasive surgery. The laparoscope (An instrument through which structures within the abdomen and pelvis can be seen.) is inserted into a woman’s abdomen to give a sight of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Through this method problems such as endometriosis (a disease that affects the uterus) can be corrected. It is crucial to confirm that you are not pregnant before this test is performed.
  • Hysteroscopy- Your doctor puts a thin, flexible tube with a camera on the end through the cervix and into the uterus, which allows seeing any abnormalities, growths, or scarring in the uterus. The doctor can take tissue samples if needed.
  • Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) – It is also called as ‘’tubogram”. This is an x-ray of your uterus and fallopian tubes. It evaluates the shape of the uterus and checks whether the fallopian tubes are open. It uses a special form of x-ray called fluoroscopy and a contrast material.
  • Endometrial biopsy – This method is performed to determine if the lining is thick enough for a fertilized egg to implant in and grow. You should not be pregnant before this test is performed. This test is performed during your menstrual cycle.

Blood tests to assay hormone such as Prolactin, TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone), free thyroxine, total testosterone, free triiodothyronine (FT3) may also be required.  These are not sex hormones, but if their levels are above or below the average, they can have a negative impact on the hormones that control the menstrual cycle and ovulation.  Blood tests are necessary to examine the blood level in your body and for many other problems such as Thyroid disorders, prolactin levels, diseases like HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), etc.

Any evaluation for female infertility should be done in a focused and cost-effective way to find all relevant factors and should include the male as well as female partners. The speed and extent of evaluation should take into account the couple’s preferences, the woman’s age, the duration of infertility, and unique features of the medical history and physical examination.

The following Hormone Tests may be recommended as part of your infertility evaluation:

  • Luteinizing Hormone or Lutropin (LH) – Its role is to control the menstrual cycle along with FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone). This hormone shows up at high levels just before you ovulate.
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) – secreted by the pituitary gland, FSH is responsible for stimulating the ovaries and causes the follicles to grow. High FSH levels suggest you have lessened chances of getting pregnant. FSH blood levels get checked early in your menstrual cycle (often on day three).
  • Estradiol – It is released by the cells that surround the egg as it matures inside the follicle.
  • Progesterone – It is secreted by the follicle that remains in the ovary following ovulation in order for the endometrial lining to prepare for embryo implantation. Increases in progesterone show that you are ovulating.
  • Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AHM) – It is a hormone test that can be done at any time in the menstrual cycle, as your AMH levels are stable throughout the cycle. Understanding the AMH levels can help assess your ovarian egg reserve, fertility. It gives an idea of how many eggs are left in the ovaries.

Female Fertility Test Cost

The female fertility test cost varies based on the test, also based on the fertility clinic you opt for your female fertility tests. Common testing cost range starts from $50 to$200 or more for blood tests for the female to check the levels of hormones that promote the maturation and release of eggs.

Strategies for preventing Female Infertility

Increase your chances of getting pregnant by first becoming aware and concerned about your reproductive health and overall health in general. Try to maintain an appropriate Body Mass Index (BMI) and participate in moderate exercise to help improve your menstrual regularity and overall health.

Make sure to eat healthily and observe your sleep patterns regularly. Don’t forget to practice safe sex as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, are leading causes of female infertility too. Both men and women should practice “safe sex” since sexually transmitted diseases can lead to blockage of fallopian tubes, prostatitis, and other problems that reduce fertility.

By taking control of lifestyle choices and becoming aware of the risk factors associated with certain behavior, women can help themselves to prevent numerous health problems and preserve their fertility for that special time in their lives when having a baby is the right choice. Just make sure to give yourself the best chance for a healthy pregnancy by avoiding risk factors that can trigger infertility, it’s all about making smart decisions consistently and just taking help from experts to better understand your body at an early stage by practicing a healthy reproductive lifestyle.

 Awareness about sexual physiology, sex practices, how pregnancy occurs and methods of birth control are important at an early age. With apt knowledge, women can be empowered to increase their chances of preventing pregnancy that is at too young an age /or is unwanted.

Remember that time is important in reproduction, so delaying appropriate medical treatment may be adding to infertility problems.

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Connecting you with trusted infertility specialists!

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