What is infertility?
Failing to conceive or get pregnant even after a year of unprotected sex.
Is infertility only a woman’s problem?
No, both men and women can have infertility issues.
What are the symptoms of female infertility?
Women may experience different symptoms depending upon the reason behind her infertility. The most common among them are
- Abnormal periods, either very heavy or very light bleeding
- No bleeding, either you never had your periods or it suddenly stopped
- Irregular bleeding, where the dates vary every month
- Painful menstrual cycles, when you experience severe back pain, pelvic area pain or cramping
Women suffering from infertility issues due to hormonal imbalance may have
- A visible change in their skin colour and become more prone to acne
- A change in their sex drive
- Some dark hair growth on their lips and chin
- Severe hair loss or thinning of hair
- A sudden weight gain
Apart from these symptoms, painful sex is another very prominent symptom of female infertility.
What are the reasons behind female infertility?
Some very prominent reasons behind female infertility are
- Age – fertility in women decreases by 3%-5% every year and she is least fertile after 40.
- Obesity- excessive weight gain may result in menstrual dysfunctions, miscarriages and other neonatal complications.
- Smoking and/or drugs – Smoking, alcoholism and drug addictions may give rise to menstrual complications and genetic abnormalities which on its turn makes a woman infertile or delays the chances of pregnancy.
- Hormonal causes – Ovulation problems happening due to improper hormonal imbalance responsible for egg release and thickening of the uterine lining.
- Damaged fallopian tubes – A damaged fallopian tube, caused due to any pelvic surgery, infections of endometriosis, preventing the meeting of the egg and the sperm.
- Cervical reasons- An unfavourable cervical condition that does not allow the sperm to reach the cervix. This might be due to non – receptive mucus formation or due to the presence of antisperm-antibodies.
- Uterine reasons – Development of Polyps, Fibroids or due to unusual anatomy of the uterus.
- Unexplained reasons – The reasons behind infertility cannot be detected.
When to see a doctor?
Fertility in women decreases rapidly after the age of 30. If a woman is below 35 and trying to conceive for over a year without success, then she should see the doctor. For woman over 35, the time limit is 6 months, after that she should seek medical help.
How is female infertility evaluated?
- Pelvic examination to examine the pelvic area for abnormalities and infections
- Measuring female hormones like estrogen, FSH and progesterone to ensure proper ovulation
- Measuring thyroid Functions
- Pap smear
- Tests require to investigate about the factors like tubal patency.
What Assisted Reproductive Technologies a woman can opt for?
A woman can opt for
- IUI – Intrauterine Insemination
- IVF- In-Vitro Fertilisation
- ICSI – Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection
A woman cannot choose the treatment procedure on her own, she needs the assistance of a fertility expert to direct her towards the right option that will yield the best possible result for her.
Can infertility be prevented? How?
Infertility may happen due to a numerous factors. So, it cannot be prevented altogether. However, you can reduce the factors causing infertility in women to a considerable extent. All it requires is to eat a healthy and balanced diet that includes a plenty of folates (folic acid), exercise regularly, maintain a proper body weight and taking care of personal hygiene.