The common causes of infertility
If you are struggling to conceive, be reassured that you are not alone. One in every 5 couples has problems in conceiving. However the good news is that by 1 year, 80% of couples have successfully become pregnant. However when you are in the midst of your fertility journey and find out that you have a condition affecting your fertility, that statistic doesn’t give you much comfort. Here are some of the most common causes of infertility…………
1. Not having enough sex or having sex at the right time.
This is actually one of the most common causes of infertility, believe it or not! Couples are just not having enough sex or having sex at the right time. The general recommendations are that you should have sex every 2-3 days throughout the cycle. Charting your cycles and your natural fertility indicators like your basal body temperature and your cervical secretions will help you to identify when you are most fertile. This knowledge then helps you to plan and ensure that you can have plenty of sex around the fertile time.
2. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
1 in 10 women have diagnosed PCOS and it is believed that many more have undiagnosed PCOS or PCO (a less severe form of PCOS, but which can still cause problems in conceiving). PCOS is one of the main causes of infertility in women. Women who have PCOS have many tiny cysts on the ovary, which prevents the ovary from maturing and releasing an egg. As a consequence of PCOS women will also suffer from hormonal imbalance that disrupts the cycle and can cause unwanted side effects such as irregular (or non existent) periods weight gain, excessive hair growth and acne. If you are worried that you may have PCO/S see your Doctor for assessment and diagnosis and to discuss how you can get help in conceiving.
Endometriosis is a common cause of infertility among women. It is a condition that causes the lining of the womb to grow in other places within the pelvis, such as the bowel, ovary and fallopian tubes. The main symptom is excessive pain at menstruation and later problems in conceiving. Treatment is available for endometriosis and many women go one to conceive successfully. If you are concerned about endometriosis speak to your doctor for more advice.
4. Tubal Factor Infertility
Tubal blockages is one of the common causes of infertility. If a woman’s fallopian tubes are damaged or blocked, this can impede the passage of the fertilised embryo to successfully implant in the uterus. The most common cause of tubal factor infertility is previous infection such as from Chlamydia or Gonorrhoea infection that can cause scaring and blockage or damage from previous surgery. Tubal Factor Infertility is diagnosed by ultrasound scan and investigative surgery.
5. Luteal Phase Defect
The luteal phase is the second half of the cycle after ovulation. To support an implanting pregnancy this phase needs to be of adequate length. In some short cycles, it may be that the luteal phase is 9 days or less and if this is the case, conceiving may be more difficult. There are a number of natural solutions you can try to increase the length of your luteal phase, however if you are concerned that you have a short luteal phase, see your Doctor to discuss the medical treatments that can help.
A varicocele is responsible for a percentage of male infertility and is caused by an enlarged vein in the testicles. This causes the production of sperm to be affected. This condition can generally be successfully resolved with surgery, after which a couple have a good chance of conceiving naturally.
7. Diminished Ovarian Reserve
Diminished ovarian reserve or ovarian ageing is a devastating cause of infertility. A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have. As we go through life we naturally lose eggs along the way. As we age so do our eggs, affecting the quality of the eggs we have available. Some women will suffer from diminished ovarian reserve earlier than others. Often the first sign that our egg reserve is low is long cycles and infrequent periods. If you are concerned about your ovarian reserve, take action sooner rather than later and see your Doctor to have your egg reserved assessed.
8. Cervical Mucus Defect
A woman’s natural cervical secretions play a very important role in conception, not only do they tell you when you are fertile but they assist the journey of sperm from ejaculation to being able to fertilise the egg. It is very common for women to initially find it difficult to identify fertile secretions, however after time, a bit of practice and a great deal of persistence the majority of women are able to do this effectively. If however you are not able to recognise fertile secretions or have very limited secretions, take the opportunity to discuss your concerns with your doctor. Natural solutions as well as medical treatments are available to help improve cervical secretions when trying to conceive.
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