Infertility in Females – Risk Factors, Causes, Treatment

6 min read

Written by Pradeep

Pradeep

Infertility in Females

Are you trying to get pregnant? Some women who keep trying to get pregnant for more than a year or more than six months if the age is above 35 years but cannot conceive may suffer from infertility. Some may conceive and face miscarriages, and they also have infertility. Infertility in females is a growing problem.

If you have been trying to get pregnant for a long time and cannot conceive, this article is for you. This article will look into more about female Infertility, the causes, signs and symptoms, diagnoses, treatment, and how to deal with infertility.

In This Article

What Are The Causes of Infertility in Females?

Female infertility may result from age, hormonal imbalances, physical problems, environmental factors, or lifestyle. It is tough to pinpoint a single reason for female infertility, and it has become a common reason, and at least 10 per cent of women deal with infertility. So let us look at the various causes of female infertility.

1. Problem With Uterus

The uterus cavity may have Polyps, fibroids, septum, or adhesions. A septum might affect the woman right from birth. At the same time, Polyps and Fibroids can affect a person at any point in time. Adhesions are most likely the result of surgery like D&C.

2. Issues With The Fallopian Tubes

The primary cause of problems with tubal factors is pelvic inflammatory disease due to conditions such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea.

3. Ovulation-Related Issues

Some women might have problems with ovulation. The causes of ovulation difficulty may be hormonal imbalances, eating disorders, thyroid conditions, stress, Pituitary tumors, and substance abuse.

4. Problems With The Quality And Number of Eggs

Women are born with eggs, and this supply can come down before menopause. Some eggs may not be healthy and fail to fertilize.

Signs And Symptoms of Infertility in Females

Symptoms of Infertility in females

The changes in the menstrual cycle and ovulation are the significant symptoms of infertility in women. The following are a few of the symptoms.

  • Abnormal Periods
  • Irregular Periods
  • No period
  • Painful Periods

At times, female infertility may also be related to hormone problems. The symptoms relating to hormonal imbalances are,

  • More Acne and skin changes
  • Changes in sex desire
  • Growth of dark hair on the lips and chest
  • Weight gain
  • Hair Thinning
  • Pain during sex
  • Milky white discharge from the nipples (which is not related to breastfeeding)

Diagnosis And Tests For Female Infertility

Tests For Female Infertility

If you find it difficult to conceive for a long time, your doctor might conduct a few examinations to determine your partner’s fertility level. The following are a few tests conducted by the doctors.

1. Ovulation Testing

Ovulation Predictor Kits help determine the rise in Luteinizing Hormone (LH) level before ovulation occurs. A simple blood test for the progesterone levels can also help detect if you are ovulating. Sometimes, the prolactin levels might also be checked.

2. Hysterosalpingography

Hysterosalpingography is X-ray, where the contrast is injected into the uterus to check if parts inside the uterus are functioning well. It is also possible to determine if the fluid comes out of the uterus and spills into the fallopian tubes. If any issues are identified, you might be suggested for further examination.

3. Ovarian Reserve Testing

The Ovarian Reserve Testing helps determine the quality and number of eggs available for ovulation. Women who have fewer eggs aged more than 35 years might undergo this testing.

4. Other Hormone Testing

Doctors may also conduct additional hormonal tests such as thyroid and pituitary hormones that control the reproductive process.

5. Saline Sonohysterogram (SIS)

This test can help look for and assess the polyps, fibroids, and other abnormalities in the uterus. The uterus is filled with water or saline, allowing the doctors to better view the uterus in the transvaginal ultrasound.

6. Laparoscopy

Sometimes, you may need to undergo Laparoscopy. This involves making a small incision near the abdomen and inserting a viewing device to check the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries. Laparoscopy helps identify the endometriosis, scarring, blockages, or irregularities in the fallopian tubes.

7. Genetic Testing

You might be asked to undergo Genetic Testing in rare situations, depending upon the conditions. Genetic testing helps us to identify if there are any changes to your genes that might be causing infertility.

Female Infertility Treatments

Female Infertility Treatments

Infertility is a complex disorder and can involve more finance, time, psychological and physical commitments for a more extended period. The kind of treatment depends upon the cause, age, severity, and personal preferences.

The treatment can either restore fertility or choose the latest technological and sophisticated methods to become pregnant. The following are some of the treatments

  1. Fertility drugs and hormones can help women ovulate and restore their levels of hormones.
  2. Surgery to remove the tissue that is blocking fertility.
  3. IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) where the sperm is collected and placed inside the uterus directly when they are ovulating.
  4. IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) where the sperm and egg are collected and placed together in the lab. They allow the fertilized egg to grow for five days and then inject them into the women’s uterus.
  5. GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer) where the eggs and sperm are collected and immediately placed in the fallopian tube.
  6. ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer) where both the eggs and sperm are collected and kept in the lab for 24 hours before placing them in the fallopian tubes.

How to Deal With Infertility?

Dealing with infertility can be challenging and stressful. Let us look at a few of the ways to deal with infertility.

Acknowledge your feelings

  • Speak with the trusted counselor
  • Check and understand the options available at your table.
  • Join an Infertility Support Group
  • Find Healthy Options to understand and address your emotions
  • Be honest and try to establish emotional intimacy with your partner
  • Be both optimistic and realistic.
  • Take care of your physical and emotional health.

When to Consult a Doctor?

If a woman under the age of 35 years tries to get pregnant for more than a year and is still not able to get pregnant, she shall consult a doctor as soon as possible.

If a woman is more than 35 years, they can consult the doctor after 6 months of trying to get pregnant.

Your doctor might ask you the following questions during the appointment.

  • If you had any previous miscarriages?
  • About your menstrual cycle – whether it is normal, regular, painful, or irregular?
  • Do you experience heavy or abnormal bleeding/discharge?
  • Do you experience pelvic pain?
  • Have you had any abnormal surgeries in the past?

There are many causes and reasons behind infertility. Fortunately for us, advancements in medical science and research provide us with diagnostic tests and treatment options to help with conceiving. Having said that, couples struggling with infertility should understand that successful conception is time-consuming as it may take time for doctors to diagnose and pinpoint the exact infertility issue. Treatments also take time. Patience is the key here.

FAQ’s

1. What is Unexplained Infertility?

While 80 to 90 per cent of women know about their infertility, others do not get the exact reason or explanation for their infertility. All the test results might come standard, and still, they might find it difficult to conceive. This condition is known as Unexplained Infertility.

2. What is The Most Common Treatment For Infertility?

IVF is the most common infertility treatment. In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) involves collecting and stimulating mature eggs and fertilizing them with the sperm in a dish in the lab. The mature eggs are then implanted in the uterus after a few days of fertilization.

3. Is There a Cure For Female Infertility?

Yes. Infertility has cures depending on the root cause. Several fertility treatments include medications, therapies, IUI, IVF, etc.

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