Few things are more frustrating for a couple than struggling with infertility. Infertility turns sex into a chore, puts you on a monthly roller coaster of emotion and can make you both question your own worth.
To make matters worse, it’s not always easy to tell what exactly is causing infertility in a given situation. There are so many factors – for both men and women – that it can be hard to get to the root cause.
For example, any number of medical conditions can impact your fertility in a negative way. Here are some of the most common ones to watch for:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). PCOS is a disorder that causes your ovaries to have trouble releasing mature eggs into the fallopian tubes, where they can be fertilized. PCOS can be especially frustrating because it doesn’t always respond to medication. Women diagnosed with PCOS tend to have the best chances of success when they combine medication therapy along with lifestyle changes including exercise, low-carb diets, and weight loss. In fact, one of the best things a woman with PCOS can do is talk to a nutritionist.
- Early menopause. If your period stops before you turn 40 years old, you’re experiencing premature menopause. This condition is genetic, so if your mother, sister or grandmother has gone through premature menopause there’s a chance you will, too. It doesn’t always mean you can’t get pregnant, but it does mean you won’t ovulate. You’ll have to turn to advanced fertility therapy like in vitro fertilization (IVF) if you’re going to overcome this one.
- Anovulation. This simply means you don’t ovulate. Your ovaries don’t release any eggs. According to some research, anovulation is responsible for infertility in as many as 40% of women. There are any number of underlying causes for anovulation, but many women will be able to overcome this simply with the fertility medication Clomid.
- Endometriosis. The tissue that lines the interior of your uterus can sometimes grow and enter your other organs, including your fallopian tubes. This tissue that’s out of place can cause interruptions in your menstrual cycle. It can also cause a number of internal problems including inflammation, adhesions and internal bleeding. Surgery is often the only treatment available when endometriosis is interfering with infertility.
- Fibroids. Uterine fibroids consist of non-cancerous tumors that can occur either inside or outside of your uterus. They can cause abnormal bleeding and can result in infertility. The location and the size of the tumors will determine whether or not they can be removed via surgery. If the fibroids are inside the uterus, your doctor is more likely to be able to remove them.
- Damage to the fallopian tubes. A whole or partial blockage or scarring of your fallopian tubes can interfere with fertility. Depending on how severe the damage is, you might be able to have reconstructive surgery on the fallopian tubes or you might need to turn to IVR>
- Low ovarian reserve. This means you have fewer eggs and that your eggs are of a lower quality. This means not only will you have trouble trying to conceive, but it can even lessen your odds of success with IVF.
Understanding and treating the causes that create your infertility can, in many cases, help you have a happy, healthy pregnancy.