What is Fertility? 10 Causes of Infertility
Having children is a married couple’s dream. But sometimes to get offspring can not be obtained easily. This depends on the fertility or fertility of the husband and wife. One in seven married couples have difficulty conceiving.
Fertility is defined as the natural ability to get pregnant. But unfortunately, fertility does not come easily for everyone.
Fertility levels will be seen when a couple has the inability to produce a pregnancy naturally or is called infertility. Based on the results of research in the United States, about 11% of couples will face infertility or infertility after one year of sexual intercourse without contraception.
More than 8 out of 10 couples where the woman is under 40 will get pregnant within a year if they have regular unprotected sex. More than 9 out of 10 couples will get pregnant within 2 years.
Fertility is not the only problem that occurs in women’s health. Both men and women can experience infertility or infertility problems. Infertility can be caused by many factors, ranging from health factors to lifestyle.
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Causes of Infertility
Infertility is generally caused by problems with ovulation. Ovulation is the process of releasing a mature egg (ovum) from the ovary (ovary). Usually, women will ovulate every month after the fertile period.
Infertility problems that often occur in women are characterized by several symptoms, such as irregular menstrual cycles; unusually light or heavy bleeding and excessive menstrual cramps; very heavy menstruation or abnormal menstrual bleeding; pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse.
The following are common causes of infertility:
disorders Ovulation disorders are problems with the process of releasing eggs from the ovaries. Ovulation is usually experienced by women every month. If ovulation is interrupted, it will be difficult for a woman to release a fertilized egg to get pregnant.
Factors that can cause ovulation disorders:
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS);
- thyroid problems – an overactive thyroid gland and an underactive thyroid gland can prevent ovulation; and
- premature ovarian failure – where the ovaries stop working before the age of 40.
Fallopian tube blockage
Damage or blockage of the fallopian tubes is often caused by inflammation of the fallopian tubes (salpingitis). This can result from pelvic inflammatory disease, which is usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection, endometriosis, or adhesions.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus where it doesn’t belong. Like the lining of the uterus, this tissue breaks down and causes bleeding in response to hormonal changes.
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Benign tumors in the uterine wall can cause infertility by blocking the fallopian tubes or stopping a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.
Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause)
Primary ovarian insufficiency (early menopause) occurs when the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age 40. Although the cause is often unknown, certain factors are linked to early menopause, including immune system diseases, certain genetic conditions such as Turner syndrome or carriers of the disease. Fragile X syndrome, and radiation treatment or chemotherapy.
Pelvic inflammatory disease
Another cause of infertility is pelvic inflammatory disease, which is an infection of the upper female genital tract, which includes the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
It is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Pelvic inflammatory disease can also damage and injure the fallopian tubes, making it nearly impossible for an egg to descend into the uterus.
Side effects of drugs
Infertility in women can also be caused by side effects of using drugs. These include drugs that can affect a woman’s fertility.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs);
- neuroleptic drugs;
- Illegal drugs, such as marijuana and cocaine, can seriously affect fertility and make ovulation difficult.
Infertility does not only occur in women but also in men. The following are the causes of infertility in men.
Poor sperm quality
A common cause of infertility in men is poor quality semen, the fluid containing sperm that is secreted during intercourse.
- Factors that cause poor sperm quality:
- Low sperm count;
- The movement of sperm that is not good makes it more difficult for sperm to swim to the egg;
- Abnormal sperm shape;
testes can be one of the causes of infertility in men. The testes are the site for producing and storing sperm. If damaged, it can greatly affect sperm quality.
Some men experience ejaculation problems that can make it difficult for them to expel sperm during sex.
To get a pregnancy, the reproductive organs must function optimally. If one of the reproductive organs is problematic, a fertility test can be done to determine the cause. Fertility tests between women and men are certainly different based on the actions and treatments.
Female fertility check
procedure that must be carried out to check female fertility has several stages:
Hysterosalpingography (HSG) is an examination using X-rays or X-rays to see the internal shape of the uterus and show whether the fallopian tubes are blocked.
The HSG procedure is performed by inserting a thin tube through the vagina and cervix. A substance known as a contrast material is injected into the uterus.
Another procedure to check a woman’s fertility is through a transvaginal ultrasound. This procedure is done to take an image of the reproductive part by inserting an ultrasound device through the vagina.
Transvaginal ultrasound can be done to see the condition of a woman’s uterus, ovaries, tubes, cervix, and pelvic area.
Laparoscopy is a procedure to examine the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and pelvic cavity for the presence of fibroids, polyps, or cysts. A laparoscopic procedure is performed by inserting a laparoscope (a small-diameter telescope) through a small incision just below the navel.
procedure that can be done to check a woman’s fertility is a hysteroscopy. This procedure is done by inserting a hysteroscope (a small diameter telescope) which will be inserted through the vagina. Hysteroscopic procedures are performed to determine the condition of the uterus to check for possible abnormalities of polyps, adhesions, and fibroids. This female fertility treatment procedure also helps map the uterus for future use.
Male fertility check
Besides occurring in women, reproductive organ disorders can also be experienced by men. To find out the cause of infertility in men, of course, a fertility check is carried out with several procedures.
Sperm analysis is the first diagnostic step to determine the number and quality of sperm.
Hormone examination is done with a simple blood test that will show the level of sex hormone levels such as Follicle Stimulating hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) in an individual. The results of the calculation of hormone levels that are outside normal levels indicate a hormonal imbalance and the use of hormone replacement drugs is highly recommended.
A testicular biopsy will be done to check if there are problems with sperm production.
Genetic testing is done to check if there is a genetic disorder that causes infertility.
All the necessary procedures to check the fertility of women and men can be done at the fertility clinic that provides these services. This should be done with an expert who will handle the procedure.
- National Health University. How Common is infertility? Updated 2018.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2012) Quick facts about infertility. Retrieved June 11, 2012.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2012). Optimizing natural fertility. Retrieved May 31, 2016.
- American Urological Association Male Infertility Best Practice Policy Panel. (2010). The optimal evaluation of the infertile male: AUA best practice statement. Retrieved January 7, 2016.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia.
- HSG test for female infertility.
- Laparoscopy (keyhole surgery).