Causes And Symptoms Of Infertility
Infertility can lead to stress, uncertainty, and more in a woman's reproductive life.
Although about a third of infertility causes are on behalf of the woman, another third of infertility problems are due to the man. The other reasons for infertility are due to a mixture of male and female or unknown problems.
This guide will help women understand infertility better as well as give them tips on how to become fertile or improve their fertility. It will also address tips for couple interaction to improve fertility.
Pregnancy is the result of a process with many steps. In order to become pregnant, or conceive, a woman's body must release an egg from one of her ovaries during ovulation. Along the way, a man's sperm must fertilize the egg.
The fertilized egg will then proceed through the fallopian tube toward the uterus, which is the womb for the embryo. From there, it must attach, or implant, to the inside of the uterus.
Any problem in these steps may result in subsequent infertility in the woman, or infertility could also be based on a factor from the partner. Either way, the first step in the process is to identify what is causing the underlying condition.
Sometimes it is difficult to accurately establish the exact cause of infertility, since the disorder can be caused by a variety of factors that differ from woman to woman. However, there are three criteria to help identify infertility: age, timing, and frequency.
Infertility - About
Infertility linked with lower breast cancer risk?Infertility linked with lower breast cancer risk?
The incidence of breast cancer is poorer among women who have had infertility troubles because of an ovulation disorder
In general, a healthy reproductive system begins with a healthy hormonal balance, seeing as hormones regulate menstruation and fertility.
Hormonal Causes of Infertility
The female reproductive cycle is regulated by the complex rise and fluctuations of various reproductive hormones, mainly estrogen and progesterone, which work together to prepare a woman's body for pregnancy.
Initial conception involves three, important stages: ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.
Estrogen is most abundant and at its highest levels during the first half of the menstrual cycle - known as the follicular phase - as the body prepares the uterus for ovulation. Estrogen levels then surge to initiate the ovulatory phase until the egg is fertilized. During these phases, low estrogen levels would be the main cause for infertility.
After fertilization and implantation of the egg about a week after ovulation, progesterone levels increase dramatically to proliferate the endometrium to nourish the embryo. During these later phases of conception, lower estrogen levels are normal.
If pregnancy doesn't occur, progesterone and estrogen levels both drastically drop during the luteal phase - which is the phase after ovulation - to ultimately shed the uterus lining during menstruation, thus beginning the cycle over again.
Getting pregnant requires that the delicate balance between all of the associated hormones is intact. Any disturbance or imbalance in healthy estrogen or progesterone levels can result in anovulation and menstrual difficulties, leading to infertility.
There are several stages within a woman's reproductive life in which it will be harder or impossible for her to get pregnant due to partial or complete infertility, including pregnancy, perimenopause, and postmenopause.
Other Causes of Infertility
While hormonal imbalance is the major underlying cause of infertility, experts also point out that possible reproductive and environmental factors may be other underlying conditions causing infertility in a woman. Some reproductive factors include poorly functioning fallopian tubes, the presence of endometriosis, and an abnormal uterus, while environmental factors can include workplace hazards and exposure to pesticides. Keep in mind that infertility also includes the male factor as well.
Infertility - Causes
Risk Factors and Triggers
Risk Factors for Infertility
Risk factors for infertility are characteristics that increase the likelihood of a woman having problems with getting pregnant. Although a woman may have several risk factors, this does not mean that she will automatically be infertile. Once there is an infertility diagnosis, doctors will decipher the ultimate cause to determine if a risk factor was to blame.
Some women are more likely than others to be infertile because of health and behavioral risk factors. Health risk factors include age, weight, and sexual history. Behavioral risk factors include partaking in habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol.
Infertility - Risk Factors and Triggers
Signs and Symptoms
Because each woman's normal reproductive cycle is different, each one will experience symptoms of infertility differently. However, keep in mind that often times, there are no signs of infertility or symptoms associated with infertility problems.
Common Symptoms of Infertility
Irregular periods (absent or bleeding in between)
Painful periods (including pelvic pain)
Changes in libido
Direct Signs of Infertility
Irregularities with the female reproductive cycle could be some of the biggest red flags to an infertility doctor when determining causes of infertility in women. However, it is important to note that infertility is not always the result of the aforementioned abnormalities in the menstrual cycle. As opposed to more noticeable symptoms, medical signs are measurable criteria that are usually assessed by a physician.
Low or excessive hormone levels (blood and urine tests)
Presence of cysts and other reproductive system irregularities (imaging tests)
Abnormal cervix, uterus, or vagina (gynecology exam)
More than one miscarriage
THIS APPLICATION IS NOT INTENDED FOR THE PURPOSE OF PROVIDING MEDICAL ADVICE
All information, content, and material of this application is for informational purposes only and are not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider.