Trying to get pregnant does not always seem as easy as others claim it to be. There are many infertility causes that make it difficult to pinpoint why getting pregnant may be harder for some than others.
In some cases, women would find themselves anxious about not being able to conceive despite taking all measures advised by their obstetrician.
Although success stories about couples who finally conceived after a long time are always heartwarming, it is important to understand that there is a guided science behind such achievement.
There are multiple infertility causes among women. The good news is, the earlier the condition is diagnosed, the sooner you can get immediate treatment and resolve the issue.
Types of Infertility
Female infertility can be classified into two:
1. Primary – A woman never experiences pregnancy even after a year of actively trying to conceive.
2. Secondary – A woman who has successfully gotten pregnant at least once fails to get pregnant again.
Signs and Symptoms of Female Infertility
Most women do not find out about their fertility issues until they start trying to get pregnant. However, there are subtle signs and symptoms telling there is something wrong in your reproductive system.
1. Irregular Periods
The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. But there are women who experience shorter or longer cycles. Some get 21 days, others have a 35-day cycle. It’s clearly normal for women to experience varying cycles.
However, it becomes an issue if your menstrual cycle changes month after month that you’re not able to keep track of your period. Likewise, it also raises an alarm if you often miss your period for too long after experiencing years of the regular menstrual cycle.
2. Painful Periods
Cramps (dysmenorrhea) is an unpleasant inclusion of menstruation.
While it is perfectly normal to experience pain because of uterine contraction, intolerable pain that disrupts your regular functions is a red flag. It could suggest conditions such as endometriosis.
3. Heavier or Lighter Periods
A period that is too light or too heavy than normal can be a cause of concern if it happens within several months. Some women typically experience lighter flow or occasional absence of bleeding especially if they are using birth control. But if this becomes consistent even without your usual contraceptives, it’s time to see your gynecologist. Even more so when you experience constant heavy bleeding.
4. Painful Intercourse
We have to admit, there are occasions wherein sexual intercourse is less pleasurable – at least for women. But, if sex is borderline agonizing, that’s simply not normal at all. Painful sex can be an indication of reproductive conditions such as STIs, PID, endometriosis, and other diseases.
Diseases Linked to Female Infertility
Factors such as age, stress, weight problems, exposure to toxins, and alcohol or drug use affect fertility. These factors either create damages in the female reproductive organs such as the uterus and fallopian tube or impacts the production of viable egg cells.
In the same way, there are specific medical conditions or diseases that can affect fertility such as the following.
Endometriosis is a condition characterized by the growth of tissue outside the uterus. The tissue is similar to that of the endometrium or uterine lining. It causes pain, inflammation, adhesions, and scar tissues that can alter the pelvic structure.
Although women who are diagnosed with endometriosis experienced dysmenorrhea and pelvic pain, 20% to 25% of these patients are asymptomatic.
A common result of endometriosis is infertility. Nonetheless, there are therapeutic approaches that effectively manage and treat this condition.
2. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Untreated STDs can cause more than just discomfort. It leads to infertility and PID. Two STDs associated with female infertility are chlamydia and gonorrhea. Both diseases can cause damages to the fallopian tubes and uterus which ultimately leads to infertility.
According to the CDC, there are approximately 2.86 million cases of chlamydia and 820,000 cases of gonorrhea yearly in the US. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are both preventable and can be cured before they cause permanent damage.
However, because they can be asymptomatic, women do not et to find out about the condition if they don’t get tested for STDs regularly.
3. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease or PID can be signaled by symptoms such as pain in the pelvic area or lower abdomen, unusual vaginal discharge, painful intercourse and urination, fever, and chills.
PID is often linked to an infection contracted through sex or an imbalance in the number of healthy bacteria in the vagina. It accounts for 25% to 35% of female infertility among American women.
If left untreated, PID grows scar tissue in the fallopian tube creating a blockage. This blockage prevents the fertilization of the egg cell and the sperm cell, hence, causing complications in infertility and conception.
4. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is one of the most common causes of female infertility. It is a condition caused by a hormonal imbalance that affects the production of egg cells in the ovaries.
Women diagnosed with PCOS fail to develop or release a mature egg cell during ovulation. Without the presence of the egg cell, fertilization can never be completed.
Common symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, weight gain, growth of skin tags, excessive hair, and acne. If diagnosed, PCOS can be treated and fertility can be improved.
How To Deal With Infertility Causes
Dealing with female infertility can be a daunting experience. But it is comforting to know that hope is not entirely lost if you take action soon. Planning to have a baby, in the near or far future, means taking control of your health and wellness. A crucial step in this endeavor is getting tested for diseases that can harm your fertility especially as most of them appear to be symptomatic. If you aren’t sure where to start, a good place is Personalabs’ Female Infertility Test. You’ll be able to find out which potential causes you may have and follow up with a Telehealth appointment with one of our Physicians.