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Common Causes of Fertility Problems in Women

By Karisa Ding | 03 November 2020 | 0 Comments

Eleven percent of reproductive-age couples in the United States have trouble conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy. About one-third of these cases are due to female fertility problems, one-third to male fertility problems, and the rest to factors involving both partners or to unexplained causes.
If you've had regular, unprotected sex for more than a year without conceiving (or six months if you're older than 35), see your doctor. About 65 percent of couples that get treatment for a fertility problem is eventually able to have a successful pregnancy.
The success rates below are based on averages gathered from large groups of patients. Each couple is unique, so think of the success rate for any treatment as a general snapshot, not a prediction of your chances of having a baby. Read on to learn more about female infertility and available fertility treatments.

Ovulation problems
Anovulation problem occurs when eggs don't mature in the ovaries or when the ovaries fail to release a mature egg. This is sometimes known as a premature ovarian failure. Ovulation problems are common in women with infertility.
Possible symptoms: Absent or infrequent periods, unusually light or heavy menstrual bleeding, or lack of such premenstrual symptoms as bloating or breast tenderness.
Possible solutions: Managing bodyweight if it's too low or too high, taking fertility drugs, and having in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when tissue normally found in the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus, usually in the abdomen or pelvis.
Possible symptoms: Some women have no symptoms, while others have painful periods or intercourse, heavy bleeding or unusual spotting, and general pelvic pain.
Possible solutions: Surgery to remove endometrial tissue or open blocked fallopian tubes, fertility drugs, and IVF.

Poor egg quality
The quality and number of eggs the ovaries produce – naturally or with fertility treatment – declines significantly after age 35.
Possible symptoms: None.
Possible solutions: Fertility drugs, IVF using your own eggs, IVF with donor eggs or donor embryos.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which small follicles in the ovaries don't develop into the larger, mature follicles that release eggs. It's also characterized by hormone imbalances and unpredictable ovulation patterns.
Possible symptoms: irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne, and obesity.
Possible solutions: Lifestyle modifications (like diet and exercise), clomiphene citrate, injected fertility drugs, ovarian drilling, and IVF. In women with glucose intolerance, the diabetes drug metformin (Glucophage) can also help restore regular ovulation.

Tubal factors
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes prevent sperm from getting to your egg and also prevent the fertilized egg from getting to your uterus. Leading causes of tube problems include pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted infections, and previous sterilization surgery.
Possible symptoms: None.
Possible solutions: Surgery to open the tubes. If surgery fails, or if the tubes are too damaged to repair, they may be removed before having IVF to improve your chances of pregnancy.

Unexplained fertility problems
Your doctor may diagnose an unexplained fertility problem if there's no obvious reason for your infertility (meaning all test results are normal).
Some experts believe subtle differences in the way the reproductive system works may cause this type of infertility. This can include differences in follicle development, sperm function, or the fertilization process.
Experts also theorize that lifestyle factors – such as being significantly underweight or overweight, regularly consuming too much caffeine or alcohol, and smoking – may be contributing factors as well.
Possible symptoms: None.
Possible solutions: Fertility drugs (with or without artificial insemination) or IVF.

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