Female Infertility

July 1, 2010

Female infertility has a large number of potential causes, some of which are more commonly diagnosed than others. Female fertility problems may be attributed to hormonal imbalances in the female reproductive system; underlying medical disorders affecting the organs of the female reproductive system; or to lifestyle factors. In some cases, a woman's inability to get pregnant and have a baby remains unexplained.

Causes

Hormones - there are certain hormones in the female body which basically power the entire ovulation system. If the levels of these hormones don't rise and drop at correct rates and at the right time, ovulation may be impeded. A woman who doesn't ovulate normally may have problems conceiving. These hormones include: follicle-stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone, progesterone and estrogen. A woman who doesn't ovulate normally is said to have an ovulatory disorder.

Medical conditions - medical problems such as endometriosis, PCOS, and uterine fibroids (among others) can all interfere with female fertility. Some STDs, which can cause damage to the female reproductive organs (such as twisting of the fallopian tubes), and thereby give rise to fertility problems in women.

Lifestyle factors - being overweight, eating poorly, drinking alcohol, smoking and using drugs can all reduce female fertility. The positive side to this is that stopping these habits and losing weight can restore fertility in women.

Unexplained infertility - sometimes, even after extensive testing, the root cause of a woman's fertility problem cannot be explained. This is very frustrating, but even women in this situation have eventually given birth thanks to female fertility treatments.

Female Fertility Tests

Tests for female infertility are aimed at detecting some of its more common causes before moving on to look for less common causes of the problem.

- Hormone tests are usually carried out as blood or urine tests.

- Surgical procedures, such as a laparoscopy (in which a tiny camera is inserted into a woman's uterus to look for problems with the reproductive organs), may help to diagnose the infertility problem. Ultrasound exams are given for the same purpose.

The tests described above are usually carried out in a fertility clinic or a hospital, but there are some non-invasive fertility tests which can be used in the privacy of your home.

Female Fertility Treatment

The first step in female fertility treatment is generally to look for possible lifestyle problems and rectify these. If fertility is not increased, other treatments may be considered. These include: fertility drugs, surgery to correct problems in the reproductive organs, and artificial reproduction technologies such as in-vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination.

Coping With Female Infertility

Infertility is a stressful experience for any woman, particularly if no diagnosis can be given and treatments are not working. A woman may need support from her partner, family and friends, or perhaps even from a therapist or psychologist to help her get through.

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