Infertility is a condition in which a woman can’t conceive for a year while having unprotected sex. Both men and women can be infertile. Female infertility can be caused by hormonal issues and other conditions that interfere with fertilization. In this article, we have gathered six common health issues that can cause female infertility.
1. Polycystic ovary syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which a woman has cysts in the ovaries that occur because of an increased level of male hormones. Other symptoms of PCOS include:
- Male-pattern baldness
- Excessive facial and body hair
- Weight gain
Due to the fact that PCOS contributes to the development of cysts on the ovaries, the ovaries can’t release an egg. That’s why many women with PCOS experience fertility issues. Hormonal therapy and medication can help ease the symptoms of PCOS and even increase your chances to get pregnant.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial tissue that lines the uterus tends to grow outside on the pelvic organs. In most cases, the endometrium grows on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, and bladder. However, in severe cases, it can even reach the diaphragm.
Due to the fact that the endometrium sheds during periods. Women with endometriosis often experience severe pain and menstrual cramping. When endometriosis affects the ovaries and fallopian tubes, it can lead to fertility issues. Conservative surgery and medication can help cope with some symptoms of endometriosis but only a hysterectomy can eliminate the condition.
3. Uterine fibroids and polyps
Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous tumors that grow in the uterus. In most cases, they can develop asymptomatically, but some women with fibroids can have lower back pain, heavy and painful periods, pelvic pressure, and pelvic pain. If uterine fibroids grow near the fallopian tubes, they can block them and cause problems with getting pregnant.
Uterine polyps, also known as endometrial polyps, are growths that develop in the uterus. In most cases, they are nop-cancerous but it is still recommended to remove them especially if they interfere with fertility. Endometrial polyps can also cause pelvic pressure and heavy blood flow during periods.
4. Cervical stenosis
Cervical stenosis is a condition in which the passageway through the cervix becomes narrow or completely closed. This condition usually doesn’t cause any symptoms but some women can experience pain during periods when the blood has no way out. In rare cases, the uterus can be filled with pus.
Due to the fact that the passageway through the cervix is narrow or closed, the sperm often can’t reach the egg. Treatment for cervical stenosis usually depends on the severity of the condition. Your gynecologist can perform a procedure that is called dilation and curettage (D & C) to widen or open the cervix.
5. Pelvic inflammatory disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a condition that occurs when the untreated vaginal infection (STI or bacterial vaginosis) spreads to the pelvic organs and makes them inflamed. The most common symptoms of PID include:
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Unpleasant vaginal smell
- Heavy and painful periods
- Chronic pelvic pain
Advanced PID can cause scarring and adhesions that may block the fallopian tubes and lead to infertility. Due to the fact that PID can be caused by some STIs, you and your partner or partners should be treated simultaneously to avoid reinfection. Even though most PID symptoms can be easily treated, any treatment options can’t cope with adhesions.
6. Thyroid disorders
The thyroid gland is an organ that produces hormones that regulate many functions of your body. The thyroid gland can be underactive and overactive. The underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) produces an insufficient amount of hormones. Women with hypothyroidism may experience tiredness, weight gain, irregular periods, fertility issues, and many other symptoms.
The overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism) overproduces hormones. This results in sudden weight loss, arrhythmia, anxiety, irregular periods, increased appetite, and other symptoms. If you have noticed at least some of the aforementioned symptoms, you need to contact an endocrinologist for a thorough diagnosis and treatment.
The bottom line
If you experience fertility issues and want to get pregnant in the nearest future, it is essential to visit a doctor and undergo treatment. You should understand that self-treatment can be not only useless, but unproven methods can also even do more harm than good.