Infertility or being unable to conceive is a condition that affects a significant section of the population. Infertility is diagnosed when a couple is unable to conceive after trying for a year. The common causes of female infertility consist of issues with ovulation, damage to fallopian tubes or uterus, or problems with the cervix. Age can contribute to infertility because as a woman ages, her fertility naturally tends to decrease.
There is still a stigma attached to infertility, and hence, awareness about the issues mentioned above isn't common. However, it is beneficial to know of the reasons that can cause infertility since the couple will then starts looking for the best available alternatives to conceive.
Here are some causes of infertility in women:
Issues with Ovulation
This is the most common cause of infertility in women. Ovulation is the process of creating a healthy ovum, which leads to the production of an embryo when unified with the male sperm. Problems with ovulation may lead to infertility. Extremely irregular menstrual cycles can be a symptom of an ovulation issue. PCOS is one such concern which affects many women and can be a cause of infertility in women.
Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess male hormone levels. Due to this, the ovaries may develop numerous small collections of fluid (follicles) and fail to regularly release eggs. Lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy body weight and regular healthy eating habits help to manage PCOS.
Damage to the Fallopian Tubes
Fallopian tubes are structures which carry eggs from your ovaries to the uterus. Any type of pelvic infection or conditions like Endometriosis can affect the chances of having a baby. The most common symptoms of endometriosis are period and abdominal pain. Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that lines the uterus (called endometrial tissue) grows in other parts of the body, usually in the pelvis. This endometrial tissue bleeds in the same way as the lining of the uterus, except it is trapped and causes irritation and inflammation. Endometriosis can thus be a major cause of infertility in women as it can damage the ovaries, causing difficulties in ovulation.
A woman's age is one of the most important factors influencing her fertility. Women are born with a finite number of eggs, and as they age, their tendency to produce eggs decreases too. Also, as women age, the conditions like endometriosis (mentioned above) can also progress to a level where it may impact fertility as well. The best way to work your way around this is to have a good family planning map worked out.
Untreated Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)
Sexually Transmitted Infections like chlamydia or gonorrhoea, if untreated, can be a cause of infertility in women since they lead to PID. PID or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is the infection or inflammation of the organs and tissues in the pelvis. PID can cause scarring in the fallopian tubes, which blocks the path of the egg. Unfortunately, women infected with an STI, particularly chlamydia, do not always experience any symptoms or if the symptoms are vague, they do not seek treatment. Stay cautious and reach out to the doctor if you have a smelly vaginal discharge or if you have pain during urination.