Causes of Female Infertility
“I am struggling through a very deep depression due to the fact that I can’t have baby. No one in my social circle understands it, neither do my family. I feel so alone and unhappy”, pleads one of my sister’s friend.
Female infertility is defined as a disease or condition of the reproductive system resulting in the inability to conceive after one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse or the inability to carry a pregnancy to the delivery of a live baby.
There are two types of infertility in women. They are primary infertility which refers to a condition in which a woman has never been able to conceive; and secondary infertility in which the woman was successful in conceiving once but unsuccessful at the second time. Now let us take a look at the common reasons as to why the female is infertile.
1. Obesity – affects hormone production which thereby decreases ovarian function. Obese women at the age of 18 are sure to get Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is the most common and leading cause.
2. Being too lean – makes one’s periods irregular or even absent.
3. Getting older – due to perimenopause occurs, ovulation decreases and egg count declines.
4. Household chemicals – pesticides, pollutants, industrial wastes decrease pregnancy by 29% says a study.
5. Mother – women should ask their mothers about how old she was when she got her menopause. If she got early then probably their daughters too will. Every female is born with some amount of eggs. Certain genetic factors make them born with more or fewer eggs or use those eggs faster than an average woman.
6. Smoking – nowadays it is common among teenage and young adults. In the first place, smoking affects your chances of getting pregnant, in the second place it hurts the developing fetus. Even moderate smoking or second-hand smoking may damage endocrine function and lead to significant fertility issues. 13% of infertility cases are due to smoking.
7. Alcohol – few drinks a week won’t affect but heavy drinking leads to ovulation problems. A Swedish study tracked 7000 women for 18 years and found that heavy drinkers sought out fertility treatments. Drinking during early stage causes premature births.
8. Breastfeeding – it is a myth that pregnancy is impossible during breastfeeding but it is true that a woman nursing a child has trouble conceiving another one. A 2014 study from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine shows that women who wait less than 18 months have a shorter pregnancy or preterm birth.
9. Exercise – a 2012 study published in Fertility and Sterility say that normal-weight women who exercise vigorously have a harder time getting pregnant. The obvious sign may be a change in menstrual cycle.
10. Birth Control – if a woman stops taking all forms of hormonal birth control she will become pregnant within a month.
11. Thyroid Disease – subclinical undiagnosed hypothyroidism have subtle effects on fertility of women.
12. Caffeine – interferes with muscle contraction that helps eggs travel from ovaries to the womb.
13. Medical Conditions – health issues like polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometrioses (endometrial tissue implants and grows outside the uterus leading to pregnancy complications), uterine fibroids (non-cancerous lumps in or outside a woman’s womb leading to heavy bleeding during pregnancy, frequent urge to urinate, painful sex and infertility in women) can affect women’s chances of getting pregnant. Also, a woman suffering from autoimmune disorders, have trouble conceiving since their bodies reject fertilized egg.
14. Sexual Infections – sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia or gonorrhea cause pelvic inflammatory disease and fertility problems even after many years a woman contracts them.
15. Stress – it is not only the problem but women who have trouble getting pregnant are adopting stress management programs. Perceived stress can certainly alter hormonal levels and ovulation.
16. Epileptics – reproductive abnormalities and fertility problems are common in epileptic females.
17. Unexplained Reasons – the causes are not clearly defined or identifiable that happens in 20% of infertility cases.
These may be overcome by using drugs to stimulate ovulation, surgery in some cases, intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization.
There is a unique pain that comes from preparing a place in your heart for a child that never comes. Those couples who have undergone this incomparable pain lament, “We wanted to write exactly what it is to lose a child, but for some reason, the page stayed empty. And we could not have explained it any better.”
All those who suffer out there my feeble advice will be ‘adopting a child may not change your world but for that child, the whole world may change.’