10 percent of women in the United States have difficulty getting and staying pregnant. This means 6.1 million U.S. women are infertile. The ages range from 15 to 44.
Even if you’re not infertile, getting pregnant is rather difficult. The ovulation stage lasts two weeks a month, on average. Only one of those weeks is a woman at the most fertile.
When a couple is ready to have kids, they usually plan conception around the woman’s ovulation cycle. Is this not helping you? You could be one of the 6 million infertile women.
But how did you become infertile? Here are seven causes of female infertility.
1. Irregular Hormones
A woman’s menstrual cycle depends on many hormones. This includes estrogen, progesterone, and others. When these hormones are balanced, your cycle is regular.
But when you have a hormonal imbalance, it throws your cycle off course.
This is why women have irregular periods, irregular ovulation cycles, and even skip periods or have multiple periods in a month.
Irregular hormones can have multiple underlying causes. For most women, there’s something wrong with the hypothalamus and/or pituitary gland, which secretes reproductive hormones.
2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is the most common cause of female infertility.
This condition deals with hormone irregularities, but these hormonal issues cause cysts in the ovaries. This inhibits the normal function of the ovaries, causing irregular periods and can even stop your period for months.
This condition is so common, many women live with PCOS and have no idea.
That’s because symptoms are very subtle and are often misdiagnosed. These symptoms include abnormal menstruation and spotting, as well as other hormonal symptoms such as weight gain and acne.
PCOS can occur at any time in a woman’s life. Fortunately, the cysts themselves aren’t dangerous. But the disorder can be debilitating if you want a child.
STI, or sexually transmitted infection, can interfere with getting pregnant. That’s because STIs cause physical changes that could affect fertility. This can include changes to the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes.
A common issue that causes infertility is salpingitis. This is the inflammation of the fallopian tubes, which can damage the fallopian tubes. The most common cause of this is STIs, specifically Gonorrhea and Chlamydia.
In addition, fallopian tube blockage is also common. This is what occurs when the infection spreads from the cervix to the fallopian tubes. The sperm is unable to enter the fallopian tubes, therefore contraception can’t occur.
If you’re infertile and show additional STI symptoms, visit your doctor.
Fortunately, most STIs are curable. But you need to treat the STIs before trying to get pregnant.
Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus starts forming in other places.
This includes the ovaries and the fallopian tubes. This causes irritation and even the development of scar tissue. Most women experience severe pain while some women won’t experience any symptoms.
Like STIs, this can also cause fallopian tube blockage, making pregnancy almost impossible.
The best way to treat endometriosis is with surgery. The surgical procedure involves cutting out the scar tissue. If your endometriosis is mild, you can try medication. There are details here.
Keep in mind, some women may need fertility treatments because endometriosis may degrade egg quality.
5. Unhealthy Body Weight
If you’re overweight or lose too much weight, this can affect your chance of getting pregnant. Even if you do get pregnant, you have a higher risk of miscarriages.
This phenomenon lies within the pituitary gland. An unhealthy body weight causes your pituitary gland to malfunction.
As mentioned previously, the pituitary gland secretes the female reproductive hormones. This is why women with an unhealthy body weight experience irregular periods or no periods.
Fortunately, this can be reversed. Talk to your doctor and find a way to achieve a healthy body weight. If your unhealthy weight is due to an underlying problem, you’ll have to combat that problem.
More women are breadwinners, meaning they take their education and career seriously enough to hold off having kids. Because of this trend, the “having children after 35” stigma is diminishing.
Unfortunately, biology doesn’t support women in this decision. While it’s definitely still possible to have a healthy child after 35, there’s a higher risk you’ll face difficulties.
In short, a woman is born with only a certain amount of eggs. In her early 20’s, these eggs are healthier and more abundant. They start decreasing as you age and there’s a risk you’ll have more low-quality eggs or abnormal eggs.
Fortunately, technology is advancing, making it possible for women to have a healthy pregnancy at 35. There are many fertility treatments and surrogate options. If you’re still young, you can always freeze your eggs.
7. Lack of Cervical Mucus
During ovulation, do you notice that jelly substance your vagina releases? This is cervical mucus. This mucus helps direct the sperm to the fallopian tubes for contraception.
The two main causes include ovulation problems and hormonal imbalances. Other causes include bacterial infection, older age, weight, and not drinking enough water.
Without this mucus, contraception is still possible.
However, there’s still a chance the sperm can’t reach the egg. If this is the case, there’s no known method to increase your cervical mucus. But there are treatment options available, including artificial insemination.
Keep in mind, this is very rare. Only 3% of couples face contraception issues due to a lack of cervical mucus. It’s best you rule out other options.
Combat Female Infertility!
Many women face issues getting pregnant. This is called female infertility. If you’re struggling to get pregnant, don’t panic. Visit your doctor and ask to do a fertility check.
From there, your doctor will find out what’s preventing your pregnancy.
Did you end up getting pregnant? Congratulations! If you want to look good after pregnancy, here’s how to get rid of stretch marks.
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