Female Infertlity: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

  • Overview
  • <b>Signs and Symptoms of Female Infertility:</b>
  • <b>Causes of Female infertility:</b>
  • <b>Diagnosis of Female Infertility:</b>
  • <b>Treatment</b>
  • <b>Female Infertility Treatment in Ayurveda:</b>
  • <b>Prevention of Female Infertility:</b>

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Overview

Infertility is defined by the inability of a woman to get pregnant after having frequent intercourses for one year or more. An approximate of 10 to 18 percent of couples have trouble getting pregnant or having a successful delivery. Most couple indulge in unprotected sex 2-3 times a week to be able to conceive. But, when pregnancy does not occur even after one year, and after diagnosis, the woman is confirmed to have a certain problem, she should get treated or seek medical help.

It is important to note that female infertility is not always the reason for the woman not getting pregnant; infertility can be a result from problems in the man, the woman, or both the partners. A woman should not be considered infertile without proper medical diagnosis. To understand if a woman is infertile or not, proper diagnosis is of utmost importance.

Infertility is a common phenomenon and it is increasing with the changing lifestyle and habits . According to a report by the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, 10-14% of the Indian population suffers from infertility. According to some estimates, this amounts to roughly one in every six couples in urban India.

Facts about Female Infertility:

  • Abnormal or irregular ovulation accounts for approximately 25% of all female infertility problems.

  • If a woman faces trouble conceiving due to body weight disorders, it is possible for her to reverse the infertility by attaining and maintaining a healthy weight.

  • The risk of miscarriage and coceiving problems are higher for women who smoke.

  • Smoking cigarettes accounts for up to 13% of female infertility cases all over the world.

  • Infertility affects both men and women equally.

Signs and Symptoms of Female Infertility:

  • The main symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant

  • If the menstrual cycle is too long (35 days or more) or too short (21 days or less), you have irregular periods and miss your periods frequently, it can also mean that you are not ovulating.

Causes of Female infertility:

There are a number of factors that might be keeping you from getting pregnant:

  • Damage to the fallopian tube:

    Fallopian tubes often get damaged due to scars after endometriosis, pelvic surgery, and pelvic infections. The damage can prevent the sperm from reaching the egg in the tube.

  • Hormonal problems:

    Sudden changes in hormones can also prevent you from getting pregnant.

  • Cervical issues:

    Some women have issues in their cervical canal which prevents sperm from passing through.

  • Uterine trouble:

    Uterine polyps or fibroids can often interfere with a woman from getting pregnant.

Apart from these, there are approximately 20% couples who face infertility due to unexplained reasons.

Diagnosis of Female Infertility:

If you are unable to conceive after regular unprotected sex for more than a year, seek medical help. To confirm infertility, and to help you with the best treatment, the doctor needs to do a few tests. This may include ovulation testing, a blood test, hysterosalpingography, ovarian reserve testing, hormone testing. Besides these, the doctor will also need to do imaging tests to look for any uterine or fallopian tube disease. A laparoscopic test can also help the doctor to identify endometriosis, blockages or any other abnormalities in the fallopian tubes, ovaries or uterus.

Hysterosalpingography (HSG) - This process involves imaging tests of the woman's reproductive organs. The doctor will inject saline or dye into the cervix which travels to the fallopian tubes. This process is mainly done to check for blockages in the tube.

In laparoscopy, a thin tube with a tiny camera is inserted through a small cut near the belly button. Through this, the doctor can get a view of the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes and check if there are any abnormalities.

Treatment

The treatment will depend on the evaluation of the infertility. Depending on the cause, the doctor might suggest medication or surgery.

The doctor might recommend medications like Clomiphene which are used to stimulate the ovary to release one or more eggs. The medications also work to adjust your hormonal levels. The doctor might also recommend Luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone which are used to stimulate the ovaries to release eggs.

When medications fail, the doctor might suggest you to undergo surgical treatments where matured eggs are harvested after fertility drug treatment. This includes Intrauterine insemination (IUI) and In vitro fertilization (IVF).

Female Infertility Treatment in Ayurveda:

  • Vatanulomana -

    The main dosha which is involved in infertility is Vata. Vatanulomana is very beneficial for the treatment of infertility in women. Healthy diet and regular exercises are a very significant part of Vatanulomana.

  • Sodhana -

    It is important to do proper sneha swedas before sodhana. Depending on the condition of the patient, treatment like Vamana (emesis), Virechana (puragation), Vasti (medicated enema) and Utharavasti are administered.

  • Gokshura (Tribulus terrestris) -

    This herb is beneficial for both. In women, it stimulates ovulation.

Prevention of Female Infertility:

  • Avoid illicit drugs.

  • Cut down on liquor and smoking.

  • Take precautions to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Adopt good personal hygiene practices.

  • Have routine check ups with your gynecologists.

  • Maintain healthy body weight.

  • Limit consumption of processed foods.

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