What Causes Infertility in Women?
Infertility is the disease of the female or male reproductive system defined by the inability to get pregnant despite having regular, unprotected sex for at least 12 months or more. About one-third of the time, infertility Lake Mary results from female factors. It can also be due to a combination of female and male factors. Diagnosing the cause of female infertility can be difficult due to the many possible reasons that include:
The most common overall cause of female infertility is infrequently ovulating or failing to ovulate; this occurs in about 40% of women with fertility issues. Ovulation disorders result from problems regulating reproductive hormones by the hypothalamus or pituitary glands. Not ovulating may result from the following:
- Aging. The quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs in the ovaries decline with age (diminished ovarian reserve). However, sometimes women below 40 no longer produce eggs; this is called premature ovarian failure. It is usually a result of an autoimmune response or premature loss of eggs from the ovaries, possibly due to genetics or chemotherapy.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS affects ovulation because it causes a hormone imbalance. It is the most common cause of infertility in women and is associated with insulin resistance, obesity, acne, and abnormal hair growth on the face or body.
- Excess prolactin. Too much production of prolactin by the pituitary gland reduces estrogen production and can cause infertility.
Damage to fallopian tubes
When the fallopian tubes are damaged or blocked, sperm can’t get to the egg or the fertilized egg into the uterus. Fallopian tube damage or blockage can be due to pelvic inflammatory disease; the uterus and fallopian tubes can get infected due to gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other sexually transmitted infections. Your fallopian tubes can also get damaged or blocked after previous surgery in the abdomen or pelvis. For example, surgery for ectopic pregnancy can damage your fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy is whereby a fertilized egg implants and develops in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus.
Cervical or uterine problems
Various uterine or cervical problems can interfere with implantation and increase the risk of miscarriage. For example, fibroids or benign tumors common in the uterus can interfere with implantation. Polyps can also block the fallopian tubes and prevent fertilization. However, many women with fibroids or polyps eventually become pregnant.
Problems with the uterus from birth, such as an unusually shaped womb, can cause difficulties in becoming pregnant or carrying the pregnancy to term. Damage to the cervix can cause cervical stenosis and affect fertility. The narrowing of the cervix can sometimes be an inherited malformation.
Cervical mucus problems can also make it harder to conceive. When ovulating, your cervix produces thin mucus, allowing sperm to swim through it more easily.
Endometriosis is an often painful disorder when tissues typically grow in the uterus implant and grow in other places like the fallopian tube and ovaries. The tissues and their surgical removal can cause scarring, which can block the fallopian tube, preventing fertilization. Endometriosis can also disrupt the implantation of the fertilized egg and also seems to affect fertility in less-direct ways, like damage to the egg or sperm.
If you are struggling with infertility, visit your specialist at Christopher K Quinsey, MD, for treatment to improve your chances of getting pregnant.