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Causes of female infertility

Nowadays problems with having babies increase enormously. Sometimes causes of female infertility are not so evident, and woman starts to ask herself “Why I cannot become pregnant?”. Today we will talk about some reasons of female infertility and timely response to it.

What is an infertility?

According to World Health Organization, infertility is an inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year. There is a large number of possible causes of infertility and they may be divided into four general groups: female-related causes, male-related causes, combined causes and idiopathic or unexplained causes. In this article we are going to list some female diseases which may cause infertility.

Cause 1: Polycyctic ovary syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which ovaries and, in some cases, adrenal glands produce more androgens than normal. Even though the name suggests that the ovaries are the central organs of the disease, cysts are just a symptom but not a cause of the disease. Some symptoms of PCOS will persist even if both ovaries are removed; the disease can appear even if cysts are absent.

The cause of PCOS is not fully known. There does appear to be a genetic connection. Besides, high insulin level also increases a woman’s risk of developing PCOS.

Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of PCOS include irregular menstrual cycle, acne, excess facial and body hair, obesity, alopecia, and infertility.

In 2003, a consensus workshop organized by European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology and American Society for Reproductive Medicine has developed so-called “Rotterdam criteria of PCOS”. Most of modern guidelines rely on them.

They include:

  1. oligoovulation and/or anovulation
  2. excess androgen activity
  3. polycystic ovaries (by gynecologic ultrasound)

 PCOS is considered to be present if any 2 out of 3 criteria are met, in the absence of other entities that might cause these findings.

How to cure PCOS?

There is no cure for PCOS, but you can manage the symptoms of it. You and your doctor will work on a treatment plan based on your symptoms, your plans for having children, and your risk of long-term health problems such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Many women require a combination of treatments, including hormonal birth control, anti-androgen medicine and medications which lower the concentration of glucose in blood via different mechanisms.

IVF may be also an effective option if medicine does not work. Compared to medicine alone, IVF has higher pregnancy rates and better control over your risk of having twins and triplets.

 Surgery is also an option if the other options are not effective. The cortex of ovaries is thickened in women with PCOS and thought to play a role in preventing ovulation. Ovarian drilling is a surgery in which the doctor makes a few holes in the surface of your ovary using a laser or a fine needle heated with electricity. Surgery usually restores ovulation, but only for 6 to 8 months.

Cause 2: Sexually transmitted diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections that are passed from one person to another through sexual contact. The causes of STDs are bacteria, parasites, yeast, and viruses. There are more than 20 types of STDs, including chlamydiosis, gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, genital herpes, syphilis, trichomoniasis, etc.

Symptoms

 Most of STDs have typical signs and symptoms which lead a woman to the doctor. However, some of them, such as chlamydiosis and gonorrhea, may be totally asymptomatic and the woman may learn about them only when she tries to conceive.

Untreated gonorrhea and chlamydia in women can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which might cause scarring that blocks the fallopian tubes and does not allow the egg to get fertilized.

Treatment

When diagnosed in time, most of the STDs are treated with antibiotics. However, taking in account that some of them are “silent”, prophylactics remains the best option  for STDs. Practicing safer sex can reduce your risk of getting STDs. Male condom is the only secure option in this case. Besides, it is recommended to screen all sexually active women 25 and younger every year for STDs. Women older than 25 who have multiple sex partners or a new sex partner should also be screened every year. Pregnant women must also pass a screening.

There are numerous surgical techniques which are aiming to unblock the tubes. However, often they are not effective and IVF remains the only option for the patient with infertility.

There are a lot of other causes of female infertility, however, with modern diagnostic and treatment approaches, the chances to become parents are high. In a case if your fertility specialist will prescribe you an IVF treatment and our Team will provide you with the best possible options.

Ask today for a free skype-consultation if you have any other questions, related to female infertility!

Author: Oleksandr Petrenko, Medical Manager of Pons Medical Group

female infertility

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