Infertility – Causes and Treatment
If you are struggling with infertility, you are not alone. In Singapore, about ten to fifteen percent of couples have difficulty getting pregnant. There have been serious strides in the medical field to provide options to these couples. Many have found success with one or more methods of female infertility treatment.
How to Know If You May Be Infertile
There are many methods to test for infertility, but the truest test is time. If you have been trying to get pregnant for at least a year, it is time to seek help from a physician.
There are some situations in which you should visit your doctor before the one-year mark. If you are experiencing or have experienced symptoms, you may want to consult with your doctor earlier. Symptoms of possible infertility include:
- Inability to get pregnant
- Irregular or absent menstruation
Most doctors who specialize in women’s health or fertility can assist you in administering a test. There are four major kinds:
- Ovulation Testing. This is determined by way of a blood test.
- Hysterosalpingography. An X-ray imaging test that checks the uterus and Fallopian tubes for blockages.
- Ovarian Reserve Testing. A hormone test that checks the quality and quantity of eggs.
- Other Imaging Tests. These can find out if there are any uterine or Fallopian tube diseases present.
These tests not only can assess for infertility but the cause as well. Knowing the cause is crucial in being able to administer the proper infertility treatment or procedure.
What Causes Infertility in Women?
There are numerous reasons that a woman might be experiencing difficulties conceiving. These causes can be congenital, or they can be the result of various risk factors.
Having a child is a process that requires the use of many organs and systems within the body. If there is even damage to one of these, it can cause infertility. The ovaries, uterus, cervix, and Fallopian tubes are some of the most important components in this process.
The controllable risk factors that may lead to difficulty getting pregnant are:
- Tobacco use
- Alcohol use
- Being overweight or underweight
- Strenuous exercise
In addition to these risk factors, several disorders and abnormalities can cause infertility. Here are a few of the major causes of infertility in women:
Damage can occur and interfere with the ovulation and menstruation processes through:
- Thyroid conditions including hyperthyroidism (too much thyroid) and hypothyroidism (too little thyroid)
- Excessive exercise
- Eating disorders
- Hormonal disorders including polycystic ovary syndrome and hyperprolactinemia (too much prolactin)
These can all do damage to or prevent the ovulation process. Ovulation is necessary to conceive a child. Disruption to the ovulation cycle can inhibit or prevent pregnancy.
Abnormalities in Reproductive Organs
For a successful conception, the cervix, uterus, and Fallopian tubes need to be functioning. Damage to these organs can lead to infertility. Some abnormalities can lead to damage to these vital organs.
Abnormalities include polyps as well as benign tumors and fibroids such as cysts. These growths can impact the uterus negatively. Abnormalities in the cervix can cause infertility if they interfere with its opening.
Early menopause is also known as primary ovarian insufficiency. This means that menopause symptoms begin to occur before the age of 40.
Primary ovarian insufficiency can result from:
- Genetic conditions like Turner syndrome
- Immune system diseases
- Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation
- Smoking is a risk factor for both men and women’s fertility
Damage or Blockage in Fallopian Tubes
The Fallopian tubes are essential elements of fertility. As such, scarring or blockage in the Fallopian tubes is a major cause of infertility in women. This scarring can result from various maladies or past impacts. These include:
- Endometriosis – the overgrowth of uterine lining tissue outside the uterus.
- Pelvic Adhesions – scar tissue as a result of an infection or surgery.
- Salpingitis – inflammation as a result of pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Damage as a result of a pelvic infection.
Isolating the exact cause within the Fallopian tube area is necessary. With a diagnosis, medical providers can properly treat the issue.
Medical Treatments and Procedures for Infertility
Finding out about your infertility might make you feel hopeless. However, it does not have to be a hopeless situation. There are boundless treatments and procedures for infertility. These can help you to overcome this hurdle and continue on your path to having a child.
Depending on the specifics of your situation, you may be advised to try one or several treatments. In all scenarios, it is important to consult with a doctor. A medically trained professional can help to determine the best course of action for you and your partner. Potential treatment options include:
Treatment via fertility drugs is most often recommended for those with ovulation disorders. These drugs can regulate or even stimulate ovulation.
These drugs can cause the release of better or extra eggs. Because of this, using fertility drugs as a primary treatment for infertility can increase the risk of a multiple pregnancy. A multiple pregnancy consists of the development of two or more fetuses.
The most common fertility drug is Clomiphene Citrate. Women take Clomid or Serophene orally once daily. When consumed, this drug stimulates the pituitary gland. In turn, this releases more follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH). This causes an ovarian follicle to grow with an egg.
Clomiphene citrate has a 50% success rate within three cycles. A benefit of using fertility drugs is that they are non-invasive. They don’t require an expensive and invasive procedure.
While fertility drugs stimulate the pituitary gland, injectable hormones stimulate the ovaries directly. This causes the release of multiple eggs by stimulating ovulation. Just like with fertility drugs, there is an increased chance of a multiple pregnancy when using injectable hormones.
The common injectable hormone for infertility is Gonadotropin. It is used early on during the menstrual cycle. While using Gonadotropin, your physician may monitor your progress using ultrasound. This is to ensure that there are no negative side effects of the hormone.
Surgery for Infertility
Commonly, surgery is the last resort for treating infertility. Surgery can be expensive and is less practical than other methods of treatment. However, if a patient hasn’t found success with fertility drugs or injectable hormones, they may want to try laparoscopic surgery.
Laparoscopic surgery can remove scar tissue, endometrial polyps, and fibroids. This can correct infertility that results from one of these abnormalities. Other surgeries include hysteroscopy and tubal procedures. Hysteroscopic surgery treats abnormalities in the uterus. Tubal surgery treats blocked Fallopian tubes.
Many praise this method as the most effective, non-invasive method of treatment for infertility. It tends to be a catch-all that addresses the most possible causes of infertility. It is an alternative to fertility drugs and injectable hormones. Fertility massage can effectively prevent or correct any hormonal imbalance. It can also:
- Break up and reduce scar tissue
- Improve circulation
- Strengthen the hormonal feedback loop
- Reposition the uterus, if tilted
- Promote hormone balance
Many individuals struggle with the notion of using invasive procedures or hormone drugs. In these cases, a fertility massage is a great option. A fertility massage can function much in the way that procedures, drugs, and injectable hormones do. It is a completely natural, viable, and inexpensive process.
You may be dealing with any number of issues that cause infertility including:
Damage or blockage in the Fallopian tubes
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Poor egg health
Or unexplained infertility
Fertility massage can help women with lower fertility conceive by reversing the negative effects of these conditions on your reproductive organs.
Patience Is Key
Whatever process you choose, treatment for infertile organs can take time. To get through it, you need to be patient with yourself. Finding what works for you can take time. You have already taken some of the first steps. Remember that thousands of other couples are dealing with the exact same thing, and there is hope.
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