Infertility is defined as the condition wherein a couple is unable to conceive despite all natural efforts over the course of one year or more. In the past, it was originally believed that majority of the problems of conception lie with the female. However, research has shown that both female and male infertility factors each account for 30 percent of all infertility cases.
For this article, we shall take a look at the causes of female infertility, which are divided into three categories, namely Ovulation Problems, Damage to the Fallopian Tubes and/or Uterus, and Cervix Problems.
Female Infertility Due to Ovulation Problems
Problems with ovulations are common causes of infertility, accounting for approximately 25% of all infertility cases.
Ovulation problems can affect the number of eggs that a woman produces inside her ovaries as well as their quality. These ovulation problems can be the result of the following factors…
- Hormonal imbalance
- Tumour or cyst in the ovaries
- Very short menstrual cycles
- Eating disorders, like anorexia or bulimia*
- Intense exercise causing severe loss of body fat*
*Note: Body fat is essential in the production of the hormone oestrogen which is necessary for ovulation.
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Thyroid problems
Female Infertility Due to Damage to the Fallopian Tubes and/or Uterus
Certain conditions can cause damage and blockage to the fallopian tubes and/or uterus, thus preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. These conditions include the following…
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
- History of previous sexually transmitted disease/infection
- Presence of uterine polyps or fibroids
- Presence of scar tissue or adhesions
- History of an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the fallopian tube)
- Chronic medical illness
- History of medication with Diethylstilbestrol (DES Syndrome)
- Birth defect
Female Infertility Due to Problems in the Cervix
The main cervical problem that causes female infertility is abnormal cervical mucus, which contains immunological factors that kill sperm during sexual intercourse. In other cases, cervical mucus can be abnormally thick, preventing the sperm from swimming toward the egg or prevent them from penetrating the egg.
Diagnosis of Female Infertility
A doctor may suspect female infertility based on a thorough medical history and a complete physical examination. To arrive at the definitive diagnosis, your doctor may order the following tests…
- Urine or blood test = to check for infections, hormone imbalance, and thyroid function
- Pelvic and breast exam
- Examination of samples of cervical mucus and tissue = to determine if ovulation is taking place normally
- Laparoscopy = to inspect the uterus and other pelvic organs for scar tissue, adhesions or blocks
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) = involves the injection of a dye into the fallopian tubes in order to visualize blockage or adhesions within the uterus and tubes
- Hysteroscopy = insertion of a scope with a fibre light into the uterus to detect any abnormalities.
If you suspect that you are suffering from female infertility, let our experts at Sincere IVF Centre give you a thorough and confidential examination.