Medically, Infertility is defined as a condition where the couple is unable to conceive even after trying for a year. A few causes for infertility in women include endometriosis, uterine fibroids and thyroid disease. In men, the main reasons are low sperm count or low testosterone. Age is a common factor for infertility in both men and women.
What is infertility?
Medically, a couple is infertile if they try but fail to get pregnant within one year. For women over 35 years of age, trying to conceive drops to six months to diagnose as infertile. But women over 40 should go for an immediate evaluation. Unable to carry a child till birth or miscarriage does not count as Infertility.
Infertility and its causes
Problems with the female reproductive system cause infertility. Research shows that 1 in 10 women aged 15 and 44 are having issues with conception. There are mainly 2 types of infertility:-
- A woman who was never pregnant and cannot conceive after one year of not using birth control is known to experience Primary Infertility.
- If a woman can’t get pregnant again after having at least one successful pregnancy, it is known as Secondary Infertility.
Known factors that increase the risk of infertility are :
- Women above the age of 35
- Uncontrolled Diabetes.
- Excess eating or poor eating habits.
- Excessive consumption of alcohol and drug abuse.
- Long-term exposure to lead and pesticides, i.e., environmental toxins.
- Cancer treatments like Radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Smoking habits.
- Stress, tension and anxiety.
- Obesity or underweight
- Abnormal menstruation.
- Blocked fallopian tubes.
- Past ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Ovarian cysts
- Endometriosis, uterine fibroids and uterine polyps.
Top 3 Causes of Infertility
Out of all the reasons listed above, let us discuss the top 3 reasons for infertility in detail:-
- Hormonal disorders:- The criticality of hormones in the proper functioning of the reproductive system cannot be over-emphasized. Excess or under-production of hormones interferes with fertility. Below are a few of the hormonal disorders which result in infertility:-
- Male hormones in women affect the release of eggs from the ovaries, resulting in hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome.
- Prolactin – Hyperprolactinaemia is a hormone that stimulates breast milk production, and excess production of this hormone also interferes with ovulation.
- Thyroid hormone – Excess (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) can affect the menstrual cycle resulting in infertility.
- Reproductive system abnormalities:-
- Abnormalities of the uterus or cervix – Polyps in the uterus Non-cancerous (benign) tumours in the uterine wall (uterine fibroids) cause infertility. The shape of the uterus also causes infertility.
- Blocked fallopian tubes prevent fertilization (An egg and sperm usually meet in the fallopian tubes for fertilization).
- Damage or blockage of the Fallopian tube – Inflammation blocks the fallopian tube (salpingitis). The pelvic inflammation is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection, endometriosis or adhesions.
- Cancer and its treatment – Reproductive system cancers directly affect fertility. But cancer in any other part of the body also can result in infertility, especially if the patient has undergone radiation and chemotherapy.
When should you seek help for infertility?
Consult a doctor if you do not see results based on your age. If the woman’s age is more than 35 who isn’t pregnant after one year of trying should see a fertility expert. You should seek help sooner if you’re older than 35. A woman’s chances of pregnancy reduce as age progresses. Comparatively, a 30-year-old woman is considered half as fertile as a 20-year-old. Irrespective of your age, if you have any of the above-mentioned risk factors then it would be a good starting point to consult a fertility expert before you embark on your pregnancy journey.
Can one prevent Infertility?
Though the reasons mentioned above sound final, there are many measures couples can take to avoid Infertility. Women can adapt the following practises to protect their fertility:
- A well-balanced diet and regular exercise, yoga and meditation.
- Avoiding smoking, drugs and limiting alcohol consumption.
- Seeking appropriate help for STDs.
- Take appropriate care if one has to live in toxic atmospheres or work with toxic materials.
- Plan your pregnancy so that you are able to conceive naturally and without external help.
- Keep an eye on your reproductive health and if one observes any abnormalities, consult a specialist without delay.
At ZIVA fertility center, we offer counseling sessions to couples and address any questions related to fertility. If a couple has a suspicion about being infertile due to the above causes, then we have private counselling for them so that they can discuss freely. Contact us today at +91-9100002737, +91-9392834024 or email us at Info@zivafertility.com