Top 10 Factors that can cause Infertility
This journey called life is replete with one particular lesson, that is, life is not fair. It is a lesson that keeps showing its ugly head more often than not. It often starts at a tender age when our siblings manage to take away all the attention thus leaving us irritated. This lesson shows its worst nature when it comes to infertility. There are women who would prefer to remain childless throughout their lives but it is often seen that it is these very women who end up getting pregnant while the other section who nearly plans their sex life scientifically and religiously charts their cycles seems to have no luck at conceiving in months or even years at an end. It is this very particular section of women who then start scheduling appointments with doctors in order to get to the bottom of the issue as to what exactly prevents them from conceiving. These appointments are never easy on a couple and hence getting the facts in place is the first step towards a plausible solution to the problem. Here is a list of 10 factors that can cause infertility:
10. Hormonal Problems-
A complex balance of the hormones need to be maintained and the interaction among them needs to be successful to ensure proper ovulation. Any hindrance or disruption in this process of ovulation can lead to infertility in women. The first major source of this problem include the failure to produce mature eggs because ovulation can rarely take place with immature eggs which in turn makes the chances of fertilization almost negligible. The second reason can be attributed to the malfunctioning of the hypothalamus due to which the process of egg maturation cannot be initiated. The third reason for this problem is the failure of the pituitary gland as a result of which the ovaries fail to ovulate properly.
9. Scarred Ovaries-
A major reason of failed ovulation can be physical damages caused to the ovaries. This mainly takes place due to numerous extensive surgeries performed to remove ovarian cysts and this may damage or scar the ovarian walls permanently which thus prevents the follicles from maturing and proper ovulation from taking place.
8. Premature Menopause and Follicle problem-
There exist certain women for whom menstruation ceases at an early age and instead they enter the menopause phase before the normal deemed age. The reason of this occurrence is yet not known concretely but it is based on the hypothesis that the natural supply of eggs for these women gets depleted. This problem is mainly associated with women who are into athletics or even in those who have a history of maintaining very low body weights or in those who are indulged in extensive exercising. This issue might also be due to genetic disorder. Follicle problem has been vaguely explained till date and it mainly implies that women with this problem manage to produce a normal follicle that contains an egg inside it but due to reasons yet unknown this follicle fails to rupture as a result of which the egg remains confined within the follicle and proper ovulation is hindered.
This problem seems to be common to 10% of the total infertile couples. The chance of getting pregnant for women detected with endometriosis reduces by 12 to 36%. Diagnosis for this disorder can be confirmed only through diagnostic laparoscopy through which the uterus, fallopian tube and pelvic cavity are viewed directly and excessive growth is observed in these parts. The symptoms associated with endometriosis include prolonged menstrual periods, rectal bleeding, urinary urgency and premenstrual spotting. A large percentage of women who are detected with endometriosis are infertile.
A woman’s fertility is intricately linked to her age. It is known that the fertility level of a woman attains a peak value during her early and mid twenties after which it follows a gradual decline and this decline rate gets enhanced once she reaches 35. This age is often regarded by most doctors as the threshold age for a woman to conceive. But it is still not known with certainty as to the exact age till which a woman can conceive as post 35 it depends on a number of factors that includes the body constitution of the woman in consideration along with the fertility rate of her male partner.
5. Tobacco smoking-
While it is known that tobacco smoking is harmful for one and all, it especially takes a negative toll on the ovaries. The degree of damage depends upon the extent to which a woman is indulged in tobacco smoking or is exposed to such an environment. The presence of nicotine and other harmful chemicals in cigarette hinders the process of estrogen creation by the body which in turn creates a negative impact on ovulation. Studies show that smokers are more prone to miscarrying and infertility as compared to non-smokers. It has been observed that smoking triggers the early onset of menopause in a woman which in turn results in infertility.
4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases-
One of the leading causes of infertility can be attributed to sexually transmitted diseases. The main problem associated with this is that the symptoms of such diseases are never visible in time. Due to this reason it becomes extremely difficult to detect such issues at an early stage so as to prevent infertility. An example of such a disease is Chlamydia which damages the fallopian tube of a woman and at the same time causes inflammation of a man’s scrotum. There are various other sexually transmitted diseases that can cause infertility.
3. Body Weight and Eating Disorders-
Most people fail to realize the importance of nutrition in the early stages of life but it has been proved that our diet plays a very important role in determining the level of fertility of an individual. It is seen that a very high percentage of the women who are unable to conceive are either over weight or under weight. Excess fat in a woman’s body leads to higher production of estrogen in the body due to which the body behaves as if it is on birth control and this reduces the chances of getting pregnant. On the contrary a lack of minimum fat can also prove detrimental because too little fat in a woman’s body often disrupts her menstrual cycle due to improper levels of estrogen production. Irregular cycles are common to both overweight and underweight women alike and this causes inadequate levels of ovulation. It is also observed that the pregnancies of such women are replete with complications.
This is considered to pose a very high threat to fertility. Chemotherapy that is associated with the possibility of causing infertility are procarbazine and few other alkylating drugs. Chemotherapy often alters the sperm production rate and hence patients are advised to opt for fertility preservation methods prior to starting chemotherapy. It often accentuates the rate of infertility in a woman by enhancing ovarian problems.
1. Environmental and occupational factors-
There are various toxins present in our environment which adversely affects pregnancy and causes mutation, birth defects, infertility, abortions, sterility etc. Such toxins are known as reproductive toxins. Exposure to these toxins and various other chemicals present in our surroundings often pose a threat to the conceiving power of a woman. One such toxin is lead. Lead is believed to produce abnormal sperm which in turn is responsible for artificial abortion and hence it has been proved that lead has a negative impact on the fertility of an individual. Another well known chemical that is known to induce early miscarriage and has the potential to bring about birth defects in early pregnancy is ethylene oxide.