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The Most Common Causes of Female Infertility

Posted Monday, November 3, 2008 9:51 PM

Infertility CausesFertility is an issue among about 12% of the female population in the United States—well, at least among women between the ages of 15 and 44. That is a rather significant number of women who are either unable to become pregnant or who are unable to carry a baby to term. And this figure only represents the infertility among the women; it does not include counts of when fertility problems were found to be from the man.

That large number of infertile women—their infertility was not all caused by the same condition. Unfortunately, there are quite a lot of factors that can either cause infertility or increase a woman’s risk for infertility.

One of the most common—and commonly overlooked—is birth control. When women stop taking some types of birth control, their fertility can still be affected for months after their last dose. Many women do not realize this and neglect to take this into consideration when they begin trying to become pregnant. Luckily, though, this fertility factor is only temporary.

There are only a few other causes of infertility in women that could be temporary. Some of these include poor diet (which could be modified with a visit to a nutritionist) or obesity (a woman could go on a diet to lose weight). Another that could be temporary is high stress levels—perhaps a woman could begin seeing a therapist to get help in handling her stress.

The other causes of female infertility can basically be divided into five categories: ovary disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, hormonal disorders, uterus conditions, and other illnesses.
The first category, ovary disorders, can be something as serious as ovarian cancer or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Female infertility involving the ovaries could also be diagnosed if a woman has an infection in her ovaries.

Blocked fallopian tubes, the second category, can be caused by several different conditions. The tubes could be scarred or damaged from an earlier ectopic pregnancy or an early pregnancy termination, for instance. Or, pelvic inflammatory disease or endometriosis can cause a woman’s fallopian tubes to become blocked. If the tubes get blocked, that means they cannot let an egg travel through them; therefore, this causes female infertility.

Hormonal disorders that cause female infertility are widely known. Some women have too much or too little Estrogen or Progesterone, for instance. Others suffer from Adrenal Disorder, Hyperthyroidism, or Hypothyroidism. Imbalances in hormones can affect a woman’s egg count or egg quality, among other factors.

The fourth category, uterus conditions, includes cervix cancer and uterine cancer. Also included in this cause of female infertility are cervical mucus defects and uterus infections.

Lastly, other illnesses can cause a woman to experience infertility. This category is vast and encompasses many types of diseases and conditions. Several types of cancer are capable of causing infertility, for instance. So are some commonly known diseases, such as Cystic Fibrosis and Cushing’s syndrome. Other than those, there are many lesser-known diseases and conditions that can cause female infertility or that can have infertility as a side effect.

Female infertility is a complex issue, with many causes—probably more than anyone even knows. Because there are so many possible causes of infertility, it is important for doctors to do tests to find out why a woman is experiencing problems conceiving or carrying a baby to term. With each cause, there may be different possible treatment options available, so testing is necessary.

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