Female infertility can happen to any woman. It doesn’t matter how young or healthy you are, you can suffer from infertility. Here are some of the most common reasons behind the challenge and heartbreak of female infertility:
Damage to the fallopian tubes. This is a very common problem for women struggling with infertility. In fact, 25% of women who visit fertility clinics end up discovering that fallopian tube damage or blockage is to blame. Your fallopian tubes are the tubes through which your eggs reach the uterus (otherwise known as your womb). If your fallopian tube has been damaged, the egg will not be able to travel to the uterus and thus will not be able to be fertilized. Damage can occur for many reasons, including ectopic pregnancy, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Surgery and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are both options for fallopian tube damage, and many couples are able to become pregnant after such treatments.
Endometriosis. As explained above, endometriosis can cause fallopian tube damage that can complicate fertility. Endometriosis occurs when cells from inside the uterus grow outside the uterus, which can lead to severely painful periods along with fertility struggles. Pelvic infection and genetic history can make you predisposed for endometriosis, but luckily there are several treatments available, including hormonal therapy and surgery.
Sexually transmitted diseases/infections. STIs are not only uncomfortable and life-threatening, they can lead to infertility if left untreated. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are two common STIs that can harm your reproductive health and negatively impact your fertility, as it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
If chlamydia is left untreated, up to 15% of cases will develop into PID, an infection that attacks a woman’s reproductive organs. PID often has no symptoms, so many women don’t know they have it until it is too late. However, when symptoms do develop, they include lower abdominal pain, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, fever, pain during intercourse, and irregular menstrual bleeding. PID can be treated with antibiotics; it is crucial not to delay treatment because the longer a woman waits, the more damage occurs to the reproductive organs and her health.
If a woman passes gonorrhea onto her mate and it is left untreated, it can lead to infertility in men by causing epididymitis, a painful condition that affects the ducts attached to the testicles.
Stress. Stress is a big factor for women when it comes to infertility. Sadly, infertility and stress create a vicious circle. A woman becomes stressed about not achieving pregnancy, which in turn makes pregnancy that much more difficult. To this end, a healthy lifestyle including plenty of relaxing exercise such as yoga can be helpful. Meditation and acupuncture have also been used successfully.
Hormonal issues. It’s important to get a hormonal panel performed if you are having trouble getting pregnant. Imbalanced hormones could be to blame, especially if you have been diagnosed with a condition such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Thankfully, there are treatments available, including IVF.
Although all these issues are frustrating and can even be frightening, the right doctor can help you learn about and understand all your options and find the right treatment. The most important thing is to stay positive and continue communicating with your partner.