Infertility is characterized as the inability to become pregnant after one year of unprotected sex. About 12 percent of U.S. women ages 15-44 have difficulty with fertility or carrying a pregnancy to term, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Here are 11 of the top causes of female infertility.
1) Ovulation Disorders
Ovulation disorders discourage or prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. These disorders happen either when the eggs don't mature in the ovaries, or when the ovaries can’t release a mature egg.
2) Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that can interfere with normal ovulation. With PCOS, small follicles in the ovaries don't grow into the larger, mature follicles that are responsible for releasing eggs.
3) Uterine or Cervical Abnormalities
These abnormalities are found in the cervical opening, in the mucus. Abnormalities may also be found in the uterine cavity or in the shape of the uterus.
Benign tumors (uterine fibroids) in the uterine wall may alter the uterine cavity, and thereby interfere with the fertilized egg being implanted, according to Mayo Clinic.
4) Fallopian Tube Blockage or Damage
Women with a history of pelvic infection, a ruptured appendicitis, sexual transmitted diseases (like gonorrhea or chlamydia), or abdominal surgery may be at risk for blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.
These can prevent the egg from joining the sperm or making it to the uterus.
Endometriosis happens when tissue ordinarily found in the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, usually in the abdomen or pelvis, fallopian tubes and ovaries. This excess tissue then affects the function of the reproductive organs.
6) Primary Ovarian Insufficiency
POI is also referred to as early menopause. That’s when the ovaries stop working and menstrual periods end before age 40.
Generally the cause is unknown, but conditions associated with POI can include immune system diseases, radiation or chemotherapy and smoking, said Mayo Clinic.
7) Diminished Ovarian Reserve
When the ovary’s ability to produce eggs is diminished because of a genetic, medical, surgical or unexplained cause that’s called DOR. Another thing to remember in regards to DOR, egg production significantly drops after women turn 35.
8) Pelvic Adhesions
Pelvic adhesions lead to scar tissue that can mess up reproductive organs. They are caused by appendicitis, abdominal or pelvic surgery or pelvic infection.
9) Thyroid Problems
Thyroid problems — either too much of the thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) — can disrupt menstrual cycles or cause infertility, stated the Mayo Clinic.
10) Lifestyle Factors
Some experts believe that being significantly overweight or underweight, consuming too much caffeine or alcohol on a regular basis, and smoking may play a part in female infertility, wrote BabyCenter.com.
11) Other Medical Conditions
Conditions such as celiac disease, Cushing's disease, diabetes, kidney disease or sickle cell disease are related to delayed puberty or lack of menstruation, and can negatively affect female fertility.
Reviewed April 26, 2016
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
"Common Causes of Fertility Problems in Women | BabyCenter." BabyCenter. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
"Infertility." Causes. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
"Infertility FAQs." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
"What Causes Female Infertility?" Stanford.edu. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.
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