Causes of Female Infertility
There can be many factors that cause infertility in women. The female reproductive system is delicate, and there are many factors that alter conception and maintenance of a pregnancy. Conception and pregnancy, sometimes, are more difficult for women with certain illnesses.
Ovulation disorders are conditions like PCOS, hypothalamic dysfunction, premature ovarian insufficiency, and/or too much prolactin. PCOS is when there is a hormonal imbalance in the hypothalamus, which causes an imbalance. It’s the most common cause of female infertility. Hypothalamic dysfunction is when the two hormones, FSH and LH, aren’t producing enough, or are producing too much.
POI, premature ovarian insufficiency, is when the autoimmune system accidentally attacks the ovarian tissue. It can also be caused by premature loss of eggs due to chemotherapy. When too much prolactin is produced by the pituitary gland, it reduces estrogen, which can cause infertility.
Uterine and Cervical Conditions
Various uterine and/or cervical conditions can cause female infertility. There can be abnormal shape or growth of cervical, uterine, or pelvic tissue. These conditions can also be caused by tumors or fibroids, which only rarely cause infertility.
Benign tumors, or polyps, can cause a blockage on the fallopian tubes. Though they are common in the uterus, they do not always stop fertilization. Uterine abnormalities, such as an abnormal shape, can cause problems with getting pregnant. Cervical stenosis, or cervical narrowing, can be an inherited abnormality.
Fallopian Tube Damage or Blockage
Some of the causes of fallopian tube damage or blockage are pelvic inflammation due to STDs and/or an infection of the uterus or fallopian tubes. A prior surgery may have also caused damage to the tubes, such as an ectopic pregnancy. Also, pelvic tuberculosis is a major cause of fallopian tube infertility.
Pelvic adhesions are bands of scar tissue that may block the way for the sperm to fertilize the egg, depending on where it is. They may be caused by an infection, surgery, or major issues like appendicitis.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that occurs when uterine tissue grows in different places in the pelvis. This may cause scar tissue to grow which can obstruct fertilization.
Sometimes, there is just no explanation as to why a woman is infertile. There could be several factors between the environment of the reproductive system or a combination with her partner.
Other Conditions Associated with Infertility
Other conditions, not directly related to reproductive problems, can disrupt and cause problems with fertility. These are:
* Thyroid problems – This can include hypo- or hyperthyroidism. These can both disrupt the cycle and cause infertility by simply changing the hormone balance.
* Cancer and its treatments – Particular cancers, including those of the female reproductive system, can severely affect the reproductive cycle. The treatment can also cause someone to become infertile, even if there was no pre-existing issue.
* Other medical conditions - Amenorrhea, Cushing’s disease, sickle cell disease, kidney disease, and diabetes can all affect fertility in women. Even genetic abnormalities can make conception impossible.
* Certain medications – There are some medications that can cause infertility. Be sure to know the side effects of your medication before taking it. Most of the time, fertility comes back once the medication ceases.
There are many things that must come into balance in order for a woman to conceive. If even just one of those factors is missing, there can be problems. The woman has to be able to have intercourse, and her partner needs to have viable sperm. She needs to ovulate and have normal fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix.
An egg must be released into the fallopian tube. The sperm must travel up to fertilize the egg, and the egg must travel back down to the uterus where it implants. Any disruption of this process can affect conception and pregnancy.
It takes a fertility specialist to officially diagnose fertility problems. Sometimes, they may never diagnose anything, but instead try and treat the symptoms. Other times, they may find nothing. It can be a frustrating and long process. Sometimes getting a second opinion may be in order.
Rocky Mountain Fertility Center offers premier fertility treatments and for over 2 decades has been helping women reach their fertility goals. Dr. Deborah Smith is Board Certified, and helps work up the cause of infertility with subsequent expert treatments offered.
Call (303) 999-3877 for more information and scheduling today. Ask about the complimentary 15 minute phone consultations!