Around 10 per cent of women have fertility problems. This means one in 10 couples will have trouble either getting or staying pregnant. Of this 10 per cent, the causes of fertility problems can be categorised into three main areas. A third will be caused by female fertility problems, a third by male fertility problems, and the remaining third will be caused either by both male and female issues, or the cause will remain unknown. Women trying to conceive are understandably interested in common fertility problems in women, and whether they may be affected.
There are a number of common fertility problems in women including:
Endometriosis – small pieces of the lining of the womb are found outside the womb. This chronic condition can cause painful periods, abdominal pain and fertility problems, but it may also be asymptomatic. This condition affects between 10 and 15 per cent of women during their reproductive years. If treatment is needed, surgery and drug therapy are both viable options. For severe cases of endometriosis, 40 per cent of women conceived within 15 months following surgery. Endometriosis is the cause of infertility in around 30 per cent of women with infertility problems.
Ovulation problems – this refers to any condition that prevents a mature egg developing in the ovaries. Symptoms include absent or irregular periods. Fertility drugs and IVF are both possible solutions.
Poor egg quality – there are no symptoms for this condition. It is diagnosed during the course of fertility testing by your healthcare provider. Possible solutions include IVF using donor eggs.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome – this condition affects how the ovaries work. It can be characterised by cysts developing around the ovaries, a lack of ovulation and either a higher level of male hormones, or more active male hormones than is normal. Symptoms include acne, excessive body hair, irregular or light periods, weight gain and trouble conceiving. Some overweight women find that simply losing weight and adopting a healthier lifestyle will allow ovulation to return. Other solutions include fertility drugs or IVF.
Fallopian tubes – blocked or damaged fallopian tubes can prevent pregnancy. This can be caused by pelvic inflammatory disease, chlamydia and other sexual infections and sterilisation. There are no symptoms for blocked or damaged fallopian tubes. Surgery can be used to repair the tubes and clear any blockage. If surgery is not a viable option due to the severity of the condition, IVF may be a better option to achieve pregnancy.
It can take up to two years for a perfectly healthy couple to conceive naturally. If you are over 35 or have known fertility problems, you should see your healthcare provider after six months of trying to conceive without success. If you are younger than 35, you are not advised to seek medical help until you have been actively trying for a year.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2013. All rights reserved.