Causes of Female Infertility and Treatment Options
KIC- The Infertility Super-Specialty Clinic
- Female infertility results from disease of the female genital tract, age, hormonal imbalances and other conditions preventing conception or maintenance of a full term pregnancy.
- Exposure to radiation or certain chemicals can cause infertility
- Women who smoke cigarettes can have enough nicotine in their cervical mucus to kill sperm.
The most common female-related causes of infertility are
Age -> Treatment Options
Causes of Female Infertility -AGE
KIC- The Infertility Super-Specialty Clinic.
Fertility clinic-Age is the single most important factor affecting a woman’s fertility. As she matures, the chance for pregnancy decreases and the odds for miscarriage increase. At 25, a woman has a 25% of chances becoming pregnant during unprotected sexual intercourse. This percentage begins to decrease between the ages of 32 and 34. After that, the decline is steady .Hence the chance for pregnancy is only 5 to 10% per menstrual cycle after a woman reaches age 40.
Although older women may be more likely to experience scarring and blockages caused by Endometriosis or other medical conditions, these are not significant contributors to infertility. Instead, infertility often is the result of age-related changes occurring in the reproductive hormones that stimulate egg development, trigger ovulation and support pregnancy. Perhaps most important, is depletion of a woman’s ovarian reserve- the eggs she is born with. During her reproductive years, some eggs never mature and others are released during her menstrual cycles. Those remaining, age with her and the older she is, the more likely they are to have hard shells (zona pellucida)- that keep sperm from penetrating or genetic defects that prevent fertilization or cause miscarriage. When the store of healthy eggs is depleted, menopause occurs.
Tubal disease -> Treatment Options
Female Infertility – Tubal Disease
KIC- Infertility Super-Specialty Clinic
The fallopian tubes carry eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. When tubes are blocked by scar tissue from Endometriosis, surgery or infection, the egg and/or the sperm cannot travel through. If a fertilized egg is trapped in the fallopian tube, the result is an Ectopic pregnancy, which must be treated with medication or surgery.
Tubal problems include
Infections : Sexually Transmitted Diseases, Gonorrhea and Chlamydia, often go unnoticed and untreated, causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Serious infection can cause scar tissue and damage the CILIA ( the small hairs lining the tubes to help the eggs move through). Symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases include inflammation and abnormal discharge. PID can result in pelvic or abdominal pain. Severe, untreated infection has been linked to Cervical and other Cancers, Chronic Hep
atitis and Cirrhosis of the liver.
Hydrosalpinges : This condition is caused by a severe blockage resulting from infection. It greatly reduces the chance of pregnancy without IVF because it stretches or distorts the fallopian tubes to the extent that they cannot be opened and/or repaired. When the tubes fill with fluid, there is a chance that it can leak back into the uterus. Because this fluid is toxic to embryos placed into the uterus during IVF, physicians often remove or surgically block the tubes before a cycle to improve embryo implantation rates.
Endometriosis : Tissue lining the uterus (Endometrium) grows and thickens during a menstrual cycle to receive a fertilized egg (implantation). Without a pregnancy, the lining sheds and is discharged with blood during a menstrual period. Endometriosis occurs when this tissue grows outside the uterus and the shedding process deposits blood and tissue in the abdomen. As a result, scar tissue can form in the fallopian tubes, adhere to the ovaries and/or cause misalignment of the organs, preventing natural conception. Although some women have no discomfort even with severe endometriosis, others experience abnormal menstrual bleeding and pain, tenderness in the abdomen and pelvis, and/or painful intercourse.
Tubal Ligation: A form of birth control, this surgical procedure involves tying, clamping off or burning the ends of the fallopian tubes so pregnancy cannot occur.
Fibroids and Polyps -> Treatment Options
Causes of Female Infertility -Fibroids and Polyps
Infertility Super-Specialty Clinic
These growths (Fibromas, Myomas and Leiomyoma’s) are benign tumors made up of thread-like tissue that clumps together to form masses. Usually found inside the uterus, they affect implantation of the fertilized embryo. Symptoms associated with fibroids – especially if they are large – include heavy bleeding, pain and abdominal pressure.
Treatment Options for Fibroids and Polyps
Medication: Although medications can shrink fibroids in some cases, the result is not permanent. Instead, they can only temporarily reduce symptoms, delay surgery or shrink the fibroid enough to allow for a less invasive surgical procedure.
Surgery: Required for removal of fibroids and polyps- if they are large enough and are affecting fertilization and/or embryo implantation.
Kiran Infertility Centre is the preferred destination for Infertility treatments.
Ovulatory Dysfunction -> Treatment Options
Female Infertility – Ovulatory Dysfunction
KIC- The Infertility Super-Specialty Clinic.
Ovulatory Dysfunction results from Congenital Defects, Hormonal Deficiencies and/or the ageing process. Common forms of Ovulatory Dysfunction include:
- Some women don’t have menstrual periods while others menstruate but don’t ovulate. -Women with Amenorrhea have never had a period or had irregular periods that stopped prematurely.
- With Anovulation, eggs aren’t released from the follicles.
- Luteal Phase Defects occur when a woman has a menstrual cycle and is ovulating, but the cycle is too short for the uterine lining to thicken properly.
Premature Ovarian Failure: Menopause usually occurs after several decades of menstrual cycles and natural depletion of the ovarian reserve. Premature ovarian failure or early menopause can be caused by
- exposure to certain chemicals
- Chemotherapy and radiation for cancer treatment.
- It also results from other conditions such as genital tuberculosis and endometriosis that affect the cycle-regulating hormones or damage the ovaries so they no longer produce eggs.
- Certain genetic disorders can trigger premature ovarian failure
- as can autoimmune diseases such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis – that cause the body to mistakenly attack the ovaries.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: Genetically linked hormonal imbalances can cause Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), a condition that prevents ovulation. Without the necessary level of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), the follicles don’t develop properly and the eggs don’t mature. An imbalance of Luteinizing Hormone (LH) causes overproduction of Estrogen, abnormal thickening of the uterine lining and very heavy and/or irregular periods. High levels of LH can trigger over production of male hormones including testosterone, which cause acne and facial hair in women. Over time the elevated estrogen levels associated with PCOS may create an increased risk of uterine cancer and diabetes.
This condition is associated with the pituitary gland located in the brain, which produces Prolactin to help regulate ovulation and stimulate breast milk production in pregnant women. Overproduction of Prolactin results from -tumors of the pituitary ,an under active thyroid (Hypothyroidism) or an adverse reaction to certain prescription medications( including Antihistamines, Oral Contraceptives, Tranquilizers and Antihypertensive). As a result, women experience irregular or no ovulation, and they may produce breast milk even though they aren’t pregnant.
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: The Hypothalamus gland, also located in the brain, produces Gonadotropin Release Hormone (GnRH). This chemical stimulates the pituitary gland to release Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). When the Hypothalamus stops producing GnRH as a result of this condition, it affects the FSH and LH levels needed for egg development and ovulation.