Common Causes of Infertility in Women
Infertility is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year. Although infertility can affect both men and women, approximately 80% of cases are female causes or factors. However, infertility is not the end of the road for you. You can explore different infertility treatments by working with Dr. Majid Fateh in New York City or a fertility specialist near you. Read more to find out about some common causes of infertility in women.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis controls the menstrual cycle. The ovarian endocrine system consists of three main hormones: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and estrogen. Each month during a woman’s reproductive years, FSH stimulates follicles in the ovaries to mature one egg (ovulation). The remaining follicles shrivel up (apoptosis), and estrogen production decreases. Rising LH levels trigger the burst of the mature egg from the ovary (ovulation). Estrogen prepares the uterus for pregnancy by thickening its endometrium or lining, increasing blood flow to the uterine tissues, and making tubal fluid more hospitable to sperm.
The uterus is a pear-shaped organ that sits low in the pelvis. Uterine abnormalities can affect your ability to carry a pregnancy to term. The cervix is the opening from the uterus into the vagina. It changes during pregnancy and childbirth, opening wider and shorter to allow a baby to pass through. Abnormalities of the cervix can make it difficult for sperm to reach the egg or for the baby to pass.
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus. This tissue can implant on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and other pelvic organs. In addition to infertility problems, women with endometriosis often suffer from chronic pelvic pain.
Fallopian Tube Problems
The fallopian tubes are two thin tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus. If a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked at any point, the egg cannot travel from the ovary to the uterus, and fertilization cannot occur. Most often, this is caused by scarring from surgery, infection, or other damage.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a general term that refers to inflammation of the pelvic organs. PID is often caused by a sexually transmitted infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. The condition can spread from the vagina and cervix to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Pelvic inflammatory disease can cause infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that implants outside of the uterus).
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are infections spread from one person to another through sexual contact. STDs can affect both men and women and can cause infertility. Common STDs affecting fertility include chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and human papillomavirus (HPV).
Infertility is a common problem affecting millions of men and women worldwide. In most cases, women with infertility experience pain due to hormonal variations, endometriosis, and uterine abnormalities. Infertility can also come about due to STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, and fallopian tube problems.