Female Infertility: Some Important Facts You Should Know
Female infertility is a fairly common problem and accounts for one third of all fertility issues in unions.
Let me start by saying I know a few couples who suffer from infertility; female infertility. Now, while I can’t claim to know firsthand how these couples feel, I have seen their struggles and know the emotional turmoil infertility can bring to a couple and marriage.
Infertility generally as a health complication, is actually more prevalent than most people realise. In fact, it is estimated that 1 in 6 couples actively trying to conceive will experience difficulties doing so.
Also, contrary to the widely held notion, infertility is not just a woman’s problem; it actually is a general one as only about one third of all reported cases affect the woman. Another one third is attributed to men while the rest is tagged unexplained infertility.
Some Other Key Facts About Female Infertility You Should Know
- As a couple, you are said to be experiencing fertility issues if you have been actively trying to conceive for a year without success.
- A couple is also said to be infertile if the woman in question is 35 years and older and they’ve been actively trying for six months.
- For every couple, there’s just 25% chance of conceiving each month no matter how hard you “try” and this chance gets slimmer with the presence of any underlying reproductive health complications.
- As a woman, you are mostly fertile in your 20s and fertility begins to drop gradually as you enter your early 30s. The rate of decrease further from 35 years of age.
- There’s also an increased risk of miscarriage from 35 years of age.
- Women with blood type O are more at risk of having problems with their egg quality.
- Consuming two or more servings of low fat dairy daily also increases your risk of infertility.
- As a woman your fertility stops 5 -10 years before you hit menopause. Although this is not necessarily seen as female infertility, it does mean you’re unlikely to conceive at this time.
- Smoking and drinking are two dangerous lifestyle habits that affect fertility. In some cases, these habits have been known to bring menopause four years earlier.
- Being constantly exposed to toxins and harmful chemicals also greatly impacts tour chances of conceiving.
- Most women are usually unaware of any underlying problems with their reproductive health until they start actively trying to conceive.
- A large number of women diagnosed with infertility have gone on to know the root cause of their fertility issue.
- Knowledge of the root cause of your fertility issue is a huge step towards getting the corresponding treatment and a large percentage of women treated become pregnant.
What Causes Infertility in Women
Female infertility can be caused by a number of factors including
- Ovulation Issues
Ovulation issues is one of the most common causes of fertility issues in women. Women experiencing this problem will find they have irregular periods or no periods at all. Other symptoms they are likely to experience include frequent weight gain, hair sprouting in various parts of the body like the chin or chest, constant acne or pimple breakout, and hair thinning.
With the woman not ovulating, there would be no egg to be fertilized.
Lack of ovulation, also called anovulation, occurs when there’s a disruption to the part of the brain that regulates ovulation and this could occur for any of the following reasons: weight issues (obesity or too low weight)’ premature ovarian failure, hyperthyroidism, hyperprolactiamia, undergoing a strenuous exercise regime, and extreme stress.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease(PID)
From research, it is reported that 1 in 5 women diagnosed with Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) are infertile, while a large percentage become pregnant.
PID occurs when bacteria get into your cervix and travel all the way up to your fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries. This disease is so dangerous as it could leading to scarring of the fallopian tube, among others.
With the tube scarred, it becomes very difficult for sperm to get to the egg to fertilize it and in the event fertilization does take place, the egg is unable to travel to the uterus, leading to an ectopic pregnancy.
Some common symptoms of pelvic inflammatory disease to look out for include frequent vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, fever, irregular periods, and possible bleeding during intercourse.
- A History of Infection
Frequent infections, especially STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, could have a major negative impact on your reproductive health and fertility.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), chlmydia infection is fairly common as over 2.8 million cases of it get reported yearly. This disease is so widespread due to the diverse ways it can be contracted (vaginal, oral and anal intercourse).
Symptoms of chlamydia start to appear as early as one to three weeks after infection and include painful urination, abdominal pain, vaginal discharge, and bleeding.
Chlamydia works by infecting your reproductive organs, and if left u treated, could possibly lead to PID, scarring of the fallopian tubes and ectopic pregnancy.
Endometriosis occurs when tissues that are usually present in the uterus appear outside of it. Some common places where these tissues are likely to appear include in the fallopian tubes, on the ovaries or even the intestine.
Endometriosis causes painful period, pain during intercourse, severe cramping, pelvic pain and infertility.
- Hormonal Imbalance
Ovulation is regulated by female hormones and when one or more of these hormones fails to function at the right time, it could lead to infertility.
You are also at risk of infertility if there’s an overproduction of one of these female hormones at the expense of another.
Luckily, hormonal imbalance can be treated through hormone therapy upon diagnosis.
- An Abnormal-Shaped Uterus or Fallopian Tube
Woman born with an abnormal-shaped womb or fallopian tube also find they experience problems with infertility.
With the irregular shape of the uterus or fallopian tube, reproductive functions is greatly impacted. Such a situation is caused by diethylstilbestrol (DED), a drug that was popular for controlling miscarriages.
Other risk factors of having an abnormal-shaped uterus include ectopic pregnancy and premature labour.
Some Signs of Female Infertility
Some signs of female infertility you should look out for include:
- Painful or heavy period.
- Irregularities in your cycle.
- Anovulation (lack of ovulation).
- Pains during sex.
- Reduction in Your Sex Drive
- A Severe Case of Acne
- Thinning Hair
- Heavy or Unusual Discharge
- Soreness and Itching
How’s Female Infertility Treated
Female infertility is treated through a single or an array of medication after the cause is properly diagnosed.
Here are some common treatments for female infertility you can expert to receive:
- Hormone therapy to address the problem of hormonal imbalance.
- Taking medications to stimulate ovulation if a lack of ovulation is the problem.
- Undergoing tubal operations to treat damaged or blocked Fallopian tubes.
- Treating infections with antibiotics upon diagnosis.