FertilityProblems

Infertility is “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse

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Common Causes of Infertility

Some women want children but either cannot conceive or keep miscarrying. This is called infertility. Lots of couples have infertility problems. About one-third of the time, it is a female problem. In another one-third of cases, it is the man with the fertility problem. For the remaining one-third, both partners have fertility challenges or no cause is found. Some common reasons for infertility in women include: Age – Women generally have some decrease in fertility starting in their early 30s. And while many women in their 30s and 40s have no problems getting pregnant, fertility especially declines after age 35. As a woman ages, normal changes that occur in her ovaries and eggs make it harder to become pregnant. Even though menstrual cycles continue to be regular in a woman's 30s and 40s, the eggs that ovulate each month are of poorer quality than those from her 20s. It is harder to get pregnant when the eggs are poorer in quality. As a woman nears menopause, the ovaries may not release an egg each month, which also can make it harder to get pregnant. Also, as a woman and her eggs age, she is more likely to miscarry, as well as have a baby with genetic problems, such as Down syndrome. Health problems – Some women have diseases or conditions that affect their hormone levels, which can cause infertility. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) rarely or never ovulate. Failure to ovulate is the most common cause of infertility in women. With primary ovarian insufficiency (POI), a woman's ovaries stop working normally before she is 40. It is not the same as early menopause. Some women with POI get a period now and then. But getting pregnant is hard for women with POI. A condition called luteal phase defect (LPD) is a failure of the uterine lining to be fully prepared for pregnancy. This can keep a fertilized egg from implanting or result in miscarriage. Common problems with a woman's reproductive organs, like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease can worsen with age and also affect fertility. These conditions might cause the fallopian tubes to be blocked, so the egg can't travel through the tubes into the uterus. Lifestyle factors – Certain lifestyle factors also can have a negative effect on a woman's fertility. Examples include smoking, alcohol use, weighing much more or much less than an ideal body weight, a lot of strenuous exercise, and having an eating disorder. Stress also can affect fertility. Unlike women, some men remain fertile into their 60s and 70s. But as men age, they might begin to have problems with the shape and movement of their sperm. They also have a slightly higher risk of sperm gene defects. Or they might produce no sperm, or too few sperm. Lifestyle choices also can affect the number and quality of a man's sperm. Alcohol and drugs can temporarily reduce sperm quality. And researchers are looking at whether environmental toxins, such as pesticides and lead, also may be to blame for some cases of infertility. Men also can have health problems that affect their sexual and reproductive function. These can include sexually transmitted infections (STIs), diabetes, surgery on the prostate gland, or a severe testicle injury or problem. When to see your doctor You should talk to your doctor about your fertility if: You are younger than 35 and have not been able to conceive after one year of frequent sex without birth control. You are age 35 or older and have not been able to conceive after six months of frequent sex without birth control. You believe you or your partner might have fertility problems in the future (even before you begin trying to get pregnant). You or your partner has a problem with sexual function or libido. Happily, doctors are able to help many infertile couples go on to have babies. Infertility treatment Some treatments include: Drugs – Various fertility drugs may be used for women with ovulation problems. It is important to talk with your doctor about the drug to be used. You should understand the drug's benefits and side effects. Depending on the type of fertility drug and the dosage of the drug used, multiple births (such as twins) can occur. Surgery – Surgery is done to repair damage to a woman's ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Sometimes a man has an infertility problem that can be corrected by surgery. Intrauterine insemination (IUI), also called artificial insemination – Male sperm is injected into part of the woman's reproductive tract, such as into the uterus or fallopian tube. IUI often is used along with drugs that cause a woman to ovulate. Assisted reproductive technology (ART) – ART involves stimulating a woman's ovaries; removing eggs from her body; mixing them with sperm in the laboratory; and putting the embryos back into a woman's body. Success rates of ART vary and depend on many factors. Third party assistance – Options include donor eggs (eggs from another woman are used), donor sperm (sperm from another man are used), or surrogacy (when another woman carries a baby for you). Finding the cause of infertility is often a long, complex, and emotional process. And treatment can be expensive. Many health insurance companies do not provide coverage for infertility or provide only limited coverage. Check your health insurance contract carefully to learn about what is covered. Some states have laws that mandate health insurance policies to provide infertility coverage. Content Source Feature Image Source

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Factors responsible for infertility

Some people with fertilityproblems never even know it until they try to have a baby. That’s because oftentimes infertility issues don’t have symptoms. So whether you’re actively trying to have children or just planning to in the future, it’s good to know if anything you or your partner are doing might reduce your chances of getting pregnant. While you can’t control everything that might affect your fertility, there are some things you can. Risk Factors for Infertility Men and women are equally at risk for fertility problems. In about one-third of cases, both partners have issues, or doctors can’t find the cause. Some of the factors that affect a couple’s ability to have a baby include: Age. A woman is born with a set number of eggs. That number drops as she ages, making it harder for her to get pregnant after she reaches her mid-30s. By 40, her chances of getting pregnant drop from 90% to 67%. By age 45, it’s just 15%. A man is less fertile after age 40. Can you lower your risk? Sort of. When you’re ready to have children, don’t wait. The younger you are the better. Smoking. If you smoke tobacco or marijuana, you’re less likely to get pregnant. Tobacco and marijuana can increase a woman’s chance of miscarriage, and decrease sperm count in men. Smokers also hit menopause about 2 years earlier than non-smokers. It can also cause erectile dysfunction(ED). Can you lower your risk? Yes. Don’t smoke or use tobacco products of any kind. Drinking alcohol. Doctors now say there’s no safe amount of alcohol women can drink during pregnancy. It can lead to birth defects. It may also lower your chances of getting pregnant and drinking heavily can decrease sperm count in men. Can you lower your risk? Yes. Men and women should avoid alcohol when trying to conceive. Weight. Women who are overweight can have irregular periods and skip ovulation. But women who are extremely underweight can also have problems -- their reproductive systems can shut down completely. Men who are obese can have lower-quality sperm or ED. Can you lower your risk? Yes. Talk to your doctor about how to exercise and eat to maintain a safe weight, especially if you’re over age 40. But don’t overdo it and strainyour body. Mental health. Both depressionand lots of stress can affect the hormones that regulate your reproductive cycle. Women dealing with these issues may not ovulate normally and men may have a lower sperm count. Can you lower your risk?- Yes. Try to reduce the stress in your life before and while trying to become pregnant. STDs. Having unprotected sex puts you at risk for STDs. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease and fallopian tube infections in women, and epididymis blockages that can lead to infertility in men. Can you lower your risk? -Yes. Use a condom every time you have sex to reduce your chances of getting certain STDs. Environmental factors. There may be factors in your everyday life that are reducing your chances of getting pregnant -- especially if your job involves toxic substances or hazards. Some dangers include pesticides, pollution, high temperatures, chemicals, or heavy electromagnetic or microwave emissions. Radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer can affect both sperm and eggs, too. Her Risks There are certain things that apply only to women. Any one of the following could cause problems with ovulation, hormones, or your reproductive organs: Endometriosis Fallopian tube disease Chronic disease like diabetes, lupus, arthritis, hypertension, or asthma Two or more miscarriages History of irregular periods Early menopause (before age 40) An abnormally shaped uterus Polyps in your uterus Leftover scar tissue from a pelvic infection or surgery Uterine fibroids or cysts Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) His Risks Some factors are male-only, as well, and could affect sperm count, sperm health, or sperm delivery, including: A repaired hernia Testicles that haven’t descended An inflamed or infected prostate Mumps any time after puberty Prescription medications for ulcers or psoriasis Cystic fibrosis Premature ejaculation or a blockage in your testicles Enlarged veins in your testes content source

Fertility test for women

If you and your partner are trying to have a baby but haven't been able to, you may start to wonder if you should get fertility tests. Experts say it's time to check with a doctor if you've had regular sex without birth control for 12 months if you are under the age of 35 and for 6 months if you are over 35. It's important for the two of you to go for testing together. When you see your doctor, he'll probably start by asking questions about your health and lifestyle. He'll want to know things about you and your partner like: Medical history, including any long-term conditions or surgeries Medicines you take Whether you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, eat or drink things with caffeine, or use illicit drugs If you had contact with chemicals, toxins, or radiation at home or work He'll also want to know about your sex life, such as: How often you have sex Your history of birth control use If you've had sexually transmitted diseases Any problems having sex Whether either of you had sex outside the relationship Your doctor will also have questions about things connected with your periods, such as: Have you been pregnant before? How often have you had periods over the last year? Have you had irregular and missed periods or had spotting between periods? Did you have any changes in blood flow or the appearance of large blood clots? What methods of birth control have you used? Have you ever seen a doctor for infertility, and did you get any treatment? Infertility Tests for Women There is no single best test for infertility. Doctors use a variety of ways to identify any problems that might help cause fertility trouble. You may get a Pap smear. It can detect cervical cancer, other problems with the cervix, or sexually transmitted diseases. Any of these can interfere with getting pregnant. To get pregnant, you need to release an egg each month -- called "ovulation." You may need tests that check for that. Your doctor may ask you to take a urine test at home for luteinizing hormone, or LH. This hormone shows up in high levels just before you ovulate. Your doctor also may check levels of the hormone progesterone in your blood. Increases in progesterone show that you are ovulating. On your own, you can check your body temperature each morning. Basal body temperature rises a bit just after ovulation. By checking it each morning, you'll learn your pattern of ovulation over several months. Your doctor may also run tests on your thyroid, or check for other hormonal problems, to rule out conditions that might cause missed or irregular ovulation. Tests of Reproductive Organs Before you can get pregnant, your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries all need to work right. Your doctor may suggest different procedures that can check the health of these organs: Hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Also called a "tubogram," this is a series of X-rays of your fallopian tubes and uterus. The X-rays are taken after your doctor injects liquid dye through the vagina. Another method uses saline and air instead of dye and an ultrasound. The HSG can help you learn if your fallopian tubes are blocked or if you have any defects of your uterus. The test is usually done just after your menstrual period. Transvaginal ultrasound. A doctor places an ultrasound "wand" into the vagina and brings it close to the pelvic organs. Using sound waves, he'll be able to see images of the ovaries and uterus to check for problems there. Hysteroscopy. Your doctor puts a thin, flexible tube -- with a camera on the end -- through the cervix and into the uterus. He can see problems there and take tissue samples if needed. Laparoscopy. Your doctor makes small cuts in your belly and inserts tools, including a camera. This surgery can check your entire pelvis and potentially correct problems, such as endometriosis, a disease that affects the uterus. Other Infertility Tests A doctor may order other tests to check for fertility problems. You may get a blood test to check your levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH, which triggers your ovaries to prepare an egg for release each month. High FSH can mean lower fertility in women. The FSH blood levels get checked early in your menstrual cycle (often on day 3). Clomiphene citrate challenge testing can be done with the FSH test. You take a pill of clomiphene citrate on the fifth through ninth days of your menstrual cycle. FSH gets checked on day 3 (before you take the medicine) and on day 10 (after). High FSH levels suggest you have lower chances of getting pregnant. Your doctor may also suggest a blood test to check for a hormone called inhibin B. Levels may be lower in women with fertility problems, but experts are divided about whether the test can predict infertility. Take this assessment to find out if there are other health care providers who can help with your symptoms. Another exam is called postcoital testing. Your doctor examines your cervical mucus after you've had sex. Some studies suggest it may not be so useful. Your doctor may also recommend an endometrial biopsy. In this procedure, he takes a sample of tissue from the lining of your uterus. But evidence is mounting that endometrial biopsy is not helpful in predicting or treating infertility. You may not need to have all these tests. Your doctor can discuss with you which ones are best in your situation. After the testing is done, about 85% of couples will have some idea about why they're having trouble getting pregnant. content source

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Symptoms of infertility

Infertility is when you cannot get pregnant after having unprotected, regular sex for six months to one year, depending on your age. The main symptom of infertilityis not getting pregnant. You may not have or notice any other symptoms. Symptoms can also depend on what is causing the infertility. Many health conditions can make it hard to get pregnant. Sometimes no cause is found. Signs of Potential Infertility in Women In women, changes in the menstrual cycle and ovulation may be a symptom of a disease related to infertility. Symptoms include: Abnormal periods. Bleeding is heavier or lighter than usual. Irregular periods. The number of days in between each period varies each month. No periods. You have never had a period, or periods suddenly stop. Painful periods. Back pain, pelvic pain, and cramping may happen. Sometimes, female infertility is related to a hormone problem. In this case, symptoms can also include: Skin changes, including more acne Changes in sex drive and desire Dark hair growth on the lips, chest, and chin Loss of hair or thinning hair Weight gain Other symptoms of disorders that may lead to infertility include: Milky white discharge from nipples unrelated to breastfeeding Pain during sex Many other things can be related to infertility in women, and their symptoms vary. Signs of Potential Infertility in Men Infertility symptoms in men can be vague. They may go unnoticed until a man tries to have a baby. Symptoms depend on what is causing the infertility. They can include: Changes in hair growth Changes in sexual desire Pain, lump, or swelling in the testicles Problems with erections and ejaculation Small, firm testicles When to See the Doctor If you are under 35 and have been trying to get pregnant without success for a year, see your doctor. Women 35 and older should see their doctor after six months of trying. Blood, urine, and imaging tests can be done to discover why you are having trouble getting pregnant. A sperm analysis can be done to check a man's sperm count and the overall health of the sperm. Your doctor may refer you to a reproductive endocrinologist. That's a doctor who specializes in infertility. You will be asked questions about your infertility symptoms and medical history. Before you go to the doctor, write down the following information and take it to your next doctor's appointment: All the medications you take, including prescriptions, vitamins, minerals, supplements, and any other drugs bought without a prescription How often you have unprotected sex, how long you have been trying, and the date of the last time you tried to get pregnant Body changes or other symptoms you have noticed Dates of any surgeries or treatments in the past, especially those involving the reproductive tract. Any radiation or chemotherapy you have had How much you smoke, how much alcohol you drink, and any illegal drug use Any history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) Any genetic disorder or chronic illness, such as diabetes or thyroid disease, in you or your family Listen to your body. Tell your doctor any time you notice a symptom. Early diagnosis of an infertility problem may improve your odds of getting pregnant. content source

5 ways to increase fertility

As women, all of us want to have children one day or another. However, at times the plan doesn’t go according to what we had laid down. Because of that, today we are going to talk about how to increase ones chances of becoming pregnant –  Maintain a Healthy Weight  A healthy weight is essential to ensure optimum fertility in women. Excess weight often (not always) means excess fat which affects the body’s production of hormones, which in turn affects ovulation.  Track Your Ovulation   You need to figure out when you ovulate. Three days before your ovulation is the best time to have sex. There are several apps and kits that can help you identify your fertile period.  Adjust Your Diet  A diet to increase fertility should include sufficient amounts of protein, iron, zinc, folic acid and the Vitamins C and D. If your diet does not include enough sources of all vitamins and minerals, you may have to take a multivitamin as well.  Cut Down Alcohol Intake   One should not indulge in alcohol if they want to get pregnant. Alcohol can affect oestrogen levels, which can harm the foetus as well as delay egg implantation.  Quit Smoking  It affects the DNA on a basic level and can lead to birth defects in babies. Do follow the above 5 points if one wants to increase their chances of getting pregnant. Apart from all the above, the very important thing is to have sex. Have as much sex as possible; this will only lead to having a healthy baby! Happy journey in trying to conceive.    Feature Image Source: 

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How Cervical Mucus Helps Predict Your Most Fertile Days?

There are many ovulation predictor kits on the market, but there’s one inside every woman that’s absolutely free. Cyclical changes in the secretions produced by the cervix provide a simple, easy way for women to monitor their cycles–and their most fertile times. As opposed to the change in basal body temperature that occurs after ovulation, the change in cervical mucus (CM) occurs several days prior to ovulation, giving women the opportunity to time intercourse for conception. For most of the cycle, CM acts as a barrier to sperm. It protects the cervix chemically–with white blood cells fighting foreign bodies–and mechanically–acting as a plug and closing the cervical canal. But during the fertile phase, the consistency and composition of CM changes. Instead of being a barrier, CM now aids and accelerates the sperms’ passage through the cervix. CM during the fertile phase also extends sperm longevity, allowing them to live for up to five days within the female body. The CM even acts as a quality control device, screening the sperm and catching any with irregular or curved swimming. By observing CM pinpoint the fertile phase, women can help increase their chances of conception. Changes in Cervical Mucus Changes in CM will indicate the days leading up to ovulation, and sexual intercourse during this time will ensure that sperm—nourished by fertile phase CM—will be present when the egg is released. What to Look For A woman can monitor her CM by feel or appearance. The sensation of CM in the vagina–dry, moist, or wet–is one clue to follow for detecting impending ovulation. The color (white, creamy, cloudy or clear) and consistency (sticky, or smooth and slippery) are others. Women can see and feel CM when it moistens their underwear, or when they wipe themselves with toilet paper. Bearing down (such as with a bowel movement) or releasing the muscles following a Kegel exercise may release more mucus. Women can also conduct a “finger test.” To do this, a woman should first thoroughly wash her hands, then carefully insert a finger into the vagina. When the finger is removed, she can observe and note the color and consistency of the CM by stretching it out between two fingers. Because it may sometimes be difficult to distinguish between CM and semen, it’s best to test CM before intercourse or wait for a while afterward. Cervical mucus can also be altered by vaginal infections, medication, and birth control. The chart below gives information for de-coding CM to detect ovulation. Phase Sensation CM Appearance Pre-ovulatory Dry No visible mucus. Fertile Moist or sticky White or cream-colored, thick to slightly stretchy. Breaks easily when stretched. Highly Fertile Slippery, wet, lubricated Increase in amount. Thin, watery, transparent, like egg white. Post-ovulatory Dry or sticky Sharp decrease in amount. Thick, opaque white or cream-colored. Content and Feature Image Source

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