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What Causes Female Infertility?

What Causes Female Infertility?

There are a number of reasons why a woman may have difficulty conceiving. Female infertility is a common condition, and is usually a result of damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus, age or ovulation problems. If you and your partner have been having unprotected sex for 12 months without getting pregnant, you should schedule an appointment with your health care provider for infertility testing.

If you have a problem with ovulation, it could be caused by a hormone imbalance, or a cyst or tymor. Lifestyle can also affect fertility: if you use alcohol or drugs, are overweight, or are under a lot of stress, your ovulation may be irregular or stop altogether. Women with anorexia or bulimia often have trouble conceiving, even if they no longer suffer from the disorder.

Damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus also causes infertility, and could be a result of infection or disease. Conditions like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or scar tissue from a previous surgery or infection can lead to infertility. If you have had an STD in the past, you also need to inform your doctor as this is one of the leading causes of female infertility. The problem could even be as simple as abnormal cervical mucous, which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg during intercourse.

Your physician will do a complete physical exam, including a Pap test, bloodwork, and a sample of cervical tissue and mucous. He or she will also ask you a number of questions about your medical history, and have you track your ovulation with a basal body thermometer. A laparoscopy may also be performed, which involves inserting a laparoscope through your abdomen to look for blockages or scar tissue in the uterus or fallopian tubes.

If a fertility problem is diagnosed, your doctor will discuss treatment options with you. For a hormonal imbalance, your physician will prescribe hormones or other medications to help stimulate ovulation. If the problem is scar tissue or blockages in the uterus or fallopian tubes, minor surgery may be required.

Your doctor can also discuss other conception methods with you. In vitro fertilization can be effective for blocked fallopian tubes, and involves the implantation of a fertilized embryo into the uterine cavity. If your problem is not treatable with medication or surgery, your physician can also discuss adoption or foster parenting with you.

While many types of female infertility can't be prevented, you can minimize the risk by avoiding drugs and alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and protecting yourself against sexually transmitted diseases.


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