Posted under TTC by Dr. Rajeev Agarwal

 

 

Trying to Conceive - Causes of Infertility in Women

Trying to Conceive - Causes of Infertility in Women

Conceiving a child can be the greatest challenge for some couples. No matter how much they try to expand their family, medical reasons often make it difficult for them to overcome the issue. Although technology now has solutions to make this wish come true; however, proper knowledge about the possible causes of infertility may help you understand it better. Here’re few possible causes of infertility:

Infertility is a condition faced by the “COUPLE” together and not by a single partner alone.

Broadly these can be classified into 3 categories:

A. FEMALE FACTORS
B. MALE FACTORS
C. UNEXPLAINED INFERTILITY

Following are the causes of Infertility in Women: -

Causes of Infertility in Women

Female partner’s causes of infertility could be one single factor or multiple factors at a time.

CAUSES%
OVULATORY DYSFUNCTION40%
TUBAL35%
UTERINE20%
PERITONEAL FACTORS5%

OVULATORY DYSFUNCTION

 Usually the presenting signs are reduced bleeding during menses (oligomenorrhoea) and/or no menses at all (amenorrhoea). Delayed menses is also seen commonly.

Most common causes: -

  • POLYCYSTIC OVARIAN DISEASE/ SYNDROME
  • OBESITY
  • EXTREME WEIGHT GAIN / WEIGHT LOSS
  • STRENOUS EXERCISE
  • THYROID DISORDERS
  • HYPERPROLACTENEMIA
  1. Polycystic Ovary Disease/ Syndrome (PCOS)

    It is one of the most common causes of ovulatory dysfunction seen in reproductive age group. Causes irregular ovulation/ anovulation in women and is one of the most common causes of female infertility. This is mainly caused by hormonal imbalance and enlarges the ovaries and cause the development of small cysts on the outer edges of the ovaries.
    Can be mild/moderate/ severe in presentation. Proper consultation with your fertility specialist is advised.
     
  2. Obesity

    Obesity is associated with menstrual irregularities. Also excess weight disturbs the hormonal balance and hence interferes with fertility. Thorough check up will help in outlining the problem and hence finding a solution at the earliest.
     
  3. Extreme weight gain and weight loss

    Any extreme fluctuations in your weight also hamper the potential to conceive. It disturbs the body metabolism, absorption of nutrients and hence in turn can cause hormones to go haywire. Proper method of weight gain.loss under proper guidance of your dietician and weight trainer should be undertaken. Always keep your gynaecologist informed about your weight gain/ loss regimens.

  4. Strenuous exercise

    Sudden change/ increase in the activity of your body can cause menstrual irregularities. Now-a-days sudden strenuous activity to lose weight too quickly has become a routine occurance.
     
  5. Thyroid disorders

    Both hypo as well as hyper thyroidism causes menstrual irregularities and hence low potential of conception. It is one of the most simplest to diagnose and treat. Routine screening of Thyroid hormone should be done.
     
  6. Hyperprolactenemia

    Again this is a type of hormone released from the brain. It can be raised due to many reasons. It causes delayed menses if raised. Routine hormonal assay is advised. And appropriate treatment to be taken as advised by your doctor.

TUBAL FACTORS TO CAUSE INFERTILITY IN WOMEN

On both sides of the uterus are the “FALLOPIAN TUBES”. In natural conception - The tubes pick up the egg, this is where egg and sperms meet to form an embryo. The embryo is then transported into the uterine cavity by the tubes for implantation and further development.

Any problem of the tubes can cause infertility in a couple.

  1. Blocked tubes: one or both the tubes can be blocked. The block can be near the uterus (corneal) or at the end near the ovary (fimbrial). Pregnancy can occur if one tube is healthy and functional, not if both are blocked.
  2. Swollen tubes : sometimes the tubes are filled with clear fluid (hydrosalpinx) or Pus (pyosalpinx). Presence of swollen tubes also decreases the chance of getting pregnant.

Patency / health of the tubes is checked by taking an X-ray (Hysterosalpingography), on ultrasonography (HYCOSY). Final testing is with the help of laparoscopy (chromopertubation of tubes).

 Your Doctor will advise which test is best suited in your case.

UTERINE FACTORS

The uterine cavity is where the implanted embryo grows into a baby. Any problems of the cavity might hamper chances of pregnancy.

  1. Endometrial polyps
  2. Uterine spetum (complete/partial)
  3. Defects in the shape of the cavity are some of the uterine cavity problems, a visit to your doctor and in detail workup and counselling is required in such cases.

PERITONEAL FACTORS

  1. Endometriosis (Condition to Cause Female Infertility)

    This is a condition where the inner lining of the uterus grows outside, affecting the ovaries, fallopian tube and the pelvic tissue. This is a painful condition and can develop on every organ that is a part of the conception process.
  2. Pelvic adhesions/ Adnexal masses

    This occurs when the organs are stuck to each other due to some or other reason. This disturbs the anatomy and hence interferes with occurrence of pregnancy. It can be painful or painless.

    Thorough investigation and diagnosis is important before attempting treatment. Visiting your gynaecologist or infertility specialist for the same is advisable.

    When pregnant, it’s essential for women to undergo first-trimester screening test to detect any possible birth defect in the foetus. Doctors often perform prenatal diagnosis for detecting genetic disorders in the embryo. This increases the chances of a healthy conception.
     

Are you battling infertility? Planning to undergo IVF?

Care IVF, one of the best fertility clinics and IVF centres in Kolkata can help you. Book an appointment and get in touch with our experts and infertility specialists for a solution.

About the author

The author, Dr. Rajeev Agarwal is a Fertility Consultant at Care IVF Kolkata. For an appointment with the doctor, call +91-33-66-398-600. You can also book a Skype Consultation here.

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