We understand that for the many single women and couples dealing with infertility, receiving a diagnosis and understanding the treatment can be a long, lonely and frustrating process. Below are guides to some of the most common fertility problems and treatments.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) is a common female hormone imbalance that may affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiovascular system and physical appearance. The term describes the appearance of cysts in the ovaries on an ultrasound scan. This imbalance in hormone production means that egg ovulation may occur irregularly or not at all, making it difficult to get pregnant naturally.
How do I know if I have PCOS?
Women with PCOS may experience at least two of the following criteria:
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissues lining the uterus starts growing elsewhere in the body such as on the ovaries, bowel, bladder and other areas of the pelvic region. Endometriosis is typically diagnosed in women between the ages of 25 to 35 and commonly first presents itself with pelvic pain, along with menstrual period. Although cramping is common during menstrual period, the menstrual pain associated with endometriosis is far more than usual and the pain increases over time. This can cause physical discomfort, irregular bleeding and infertility.
Tubal Factor Infertility is a common cause of female infertility and is caused by blocked fallopian tubes. The fallopian tubes which connect the ovary to the uterus, pick up an egg each month during ovulation from the ovary and transport it to meet a man’s sperm. This is also where fertilisation takes place. A blockage in the fallopian tubes will not allow the egg and sperm to meet or the embryo may implant in the tube, resulting in ectopic pregnancy.
Are there any symptoms of tubal blockage?
Most women with tubal infertility do not show symptoms and are unaware that their fallopian tubes are blocked until they consult a doctor for infertility, although women with extensive tubal damage may experience chronic pelvic pain.
The fallopian tubes may be blocked due to a number of reasons including:
It is advisable to consult your physician who can test for the presence of blocks, scars or any damage to the fallopian tubes. Surgery and IVF treatment are common and successful treatment options to improve the couple’s chances of conception.
Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children, when the birth of the first child did not involve any assisted reproductive technologies or fertility medications.
Are we experiencing Secondary Infertility?
Secondary Infertility is common and often not talked about. The ease with which the first child was conceived results in many couples being caught off guard by a diagnosis of secondary infertility when trying to get pregnant again. Most doctors advise the couple to not be concerned unless they have been trying to conceive for at least one year and the female partner is under the age of 35. If the female partner is over 35 and have been trying for 6 months, the couple should consult a physician. Women over 30 with a history of pelvic inflammatory disease, painful periods, miscarriage, irregular cycles, etc., and men with known low sperm count are advised to not wait one year to seek medical advice.
Diminished Ovarian Reserve is a condition in which the ovaries lose their normal reproductive potential, resulting in infertility. Although this is most commonly caused by aging, it can also be caused by disease, endometriosis, pelvic infection, chemotherapy or injuries caused by previous surgery.
What can I do about my diminishing ovarian reserves?
Once the physician has identified that the ovarian reserves are diminished the couple is advised to promptly plan to reproduce before fertility is further compromised.
Irregular menstrual cycles can be caused by hormonal imbalances and can affect a woman’s fertility. If menstrual cycles are irregular, the chances of ovulation are lower as the ovaries are releasing eggs less frequently than normal.
What can I do about my irregular menstrual cycle?
Having irregular periods indicates that ovulation may not be happening which makes it a challenge to plan a pregnancy. Although in most cases irregular menstrual cycles are treatable, it is important to be evaluated for other conditions that could interfere with ovulation, such as thyroid conditions or abnormalities of the adrenal or pituitary glands.
Infertility can be caused by uterine growths which are tissue enlargements of the uterus. These are benign (non-cancerous) growths which include uterine fibroids, adenomyosis and uterine polyps which interfere with the normal functioning of the uterus.
Do these growths cause any symptoms?
Spotting during sexual intercourse, heavy menstrual bleeding or irregular periods, are all symptoms of adenomyosis, uterine polyps and fibroids. Some fibroids may interfere with pregnancy and cause infertility, while adenomyosis, although benign, can enlarge the uterus and appear to be a growth.
A physician can diagnose the presence of such growths through ultrasound, hysteroscopy or examination under a microscope of a uterine tissue sample.
Please reach out to us if you have any queries. A member of our team will respond as soon as possible and answer any questions you may have.