If you have been trying to get pregnant but have been unsuccessful, you are not alone. Although comforting to know, the challenge comes in finding your reason for infertility, and there happens to be many possibilities. Once you become acquainted with the causes, you can learn how to better your odds against them.
Definition Of Infertility
Couples who have been trying to get pregnant and have not succeeded for a full year are diagnosed as infertile. This also includes carrying the baby to term. It applies to women up to age 35 who have had frequent instances of sexual intercourse without success. This can be due to problems with the female, male, or a combination of both.
As a result, it is estimated that between 10 and 18% of couples have trouble getting pregnant and having a successful delivery according to Mayo Clinic.
Common Causes Of Female Infertility
There are a few main causes of female infertility including problems with ovulation, damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus, problems with the cervix, and age.
Having irregular periods or not having a period for months at a time makes getting pregnant almost impossible, yet this is a situation many women experience. Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS occurs when small cysts on the ovaries cause a hormonal imbalance which results in irregular periods, or none at all.
Primary ovarian insufficiency accounts for irregular ovulation as well. In this case the ovaries stop functioning and no longer produce eggs prior to age 40.
Other ovulation issues can be due to a number of factors like hormone imbalance, stress, alcohol or drug use, eating disorders, being overweight, or thyroid problems.
Issues With The Fallopian Tubes and Uterus
Damage to the fallopian tubes keeps sperm from reaching the egg, or blocks passage of the fertilized egg to the uterus.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus starts to grow in unusual places like the ovaries, behind the uterus or in the fallopian tubes. This sometimes painful condition causes scar tissue which can block the fallopian tubes, cause an inflammation in the pelvic area, and prevent implantation of the egg.
Pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, is a bacterial infection caused by an STI (sexually transmitted infection) like gonorrhea or chlamydia in the reproductive system. It is especially problematic when scar tissue forms in the fallopian tubes blocking them and causing infertility.
Fibroids in the uterus along with polyps and cysts can be a factor in infertility, as well as surgery for a previous ectopic pregnancy or any surgery in the abdomen.
Ways To Better Your Odds Against Common Causes Of Female Infertility
Some of the issues causing infertility need to addressed by an obstetrician. Others can be helped by lifestyle changes and taking certain precautions.
Have Children When You Are Young
Many women today are waiting longer to start a family. The fact is the eggs of a young woman are healthier and of a higher quality thereby increasing your odds of getting pregnant. Waiting to have children until your late 30s or early 40s can be challenging because there are less eggs, and the ovaries are less able to release any of the existing eggs.
Freeze your eggs
If a woman prefers to wait to have children, inquire about freezing your eggs for when you are ready. The uterus doesn’t age, so healthy eggs provide better odds of getting pregnant.
Reduce your BMI
Take control of your unhealthy body weight, and set up a weight loss plan to reach your desired weight before you get pregnant. Genesee Valley Obstetrics and Gynecology can help.
Ask your OBGYN about surgery to remove scar tissue, fibroids, or cysts and if it will increase the likelihood of getting pregnant.
Ask for Help
If you have tried to become pregnant for a full year with no success, it is time to seek help. There are multiple treatments available to both find the cause of your infertility and to correct the issue, but it all starts with a visit to the doctor!
Don’t Give Up!
Talk with one of our OBGYN specialists and find out the cause and the right treatment to help you get pregnant.