The ABCs of Female Infertility

A

Age: Fertility declines as a woman ages.

Excessive use of alcohol can cause problems in ovulation and general health.

Anorexia is an eating disorder that can cause ovulation problems.

Autoimmune factors: Anti-thyroid antibodies, anti-sperm antibodies and activated natural killer cells can contribute to infertility.

B

Blood Coagulation Disorders: A family history of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, or heart attack may indicate blood clotting disorders. This, in turn, can cause a number of problems if a woman becomes pregnant.

Bulimia is an eating disorder that can also cause ovulation problems.

C

Cancer and its treatments: Some cancers, such as female reproductive cancers, can significantly impair fertility. Cancer treatments such as radiation and chemotherapy are likely to affect a woman’s ability to reproduce.

Caffeine: Excessive caffeine consumption has been associated with delayed pregnancy in women trying to conceive.

Celiac Sprue is a disease that affects men and women and causes an intolerance to gluten, a common food chemical. It can affect nutrition, immune factors, and hormones. However, infertility can be reversed if a strict diet is followed.

Cervical Injury can include: weak cervical mucus, narrowing of the cervix, cervical infections or even an immune response to sperm known as a “sperm allergy.”

Cushing’s Disease is an endocrine or hormonal disorder that can cause infertility.

Cysts can cause ovulation problems.

D

Diabetes: Many women with type 2 diabetes also have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and getting pregnant may be more difficult than women without diabetes.

TO

Ectopic Pregnancy: Certain treatments or surgeries for any previous ectopic pregnancy can make it difficult to get pregnant.

Endometriosis: Endometriosis can interfere with ovulation, embryo implantation, and in severe cases, scar tissue may develop that disrupts the pelvic anatomy.

Environmental toxins such as lead, pesticides, parabens and phthalates cause health and reproductive problems in people who are constantly exposed to these powerful chemicals.

Excessive exercise that causes significant body fat loss.

F

Damaged or blocked Fallopian Tubes.

Fibroids can block the fallopian tubes, causing infertility.

G

Genital system: Obstruction in the genital tract can prevent sperm from reaching the egg.

H

Harsh Chemical Solvents: Work environments with extremely harsh chemical solvents such as hair salons, dry cleaners, and spas have been associated with increased miscarriage rates among female employees.

HIV/AIDS and related treatments cause abnormalities in a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Hormone Imbalance creates anovulation. (lack of ovulation)

I

Illicit Drug Use: Drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and ecstasy have all been shown to have dramatic effects on male and female fertility. If these drugs are used for a long time, they can cause permanent reproductive problems that prevent conception.

Infection not only physically interferes with ovulation, but can also cause hormonal imbalance that leads to anovulation.

Iron Deficiency: Women who take extra iron have a significantly reduced risk of being anovulatory.

J

Start Fertility Fast by adopting healthy habits. Eat healthy. Do moderate exercise. Practice good personal hygiene and avoid heavy substance abuse.

K

kidney disease

L

Lifestyle Balance: Keeping your lifestyle balanced will ensure that many causes of infertility are under your control.

M

Malfunction of the Hypothalamus: For ovulation to occur, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland must function correctly.

Medications: Medications such as antidepressants, steroid injections, and high blood pressure medications can all negatively affect the reproductive system.

Menopause: Premature menopause is the absence of menstruation before the age of 35 and the premature depletion of ovarian follicles.

Absence or Irregularity of the Menstrual Cycle: Some signs that a woman is not ovulating normally include absent or irregular menstrual periods.

Metabolic Syndrome is a pre-diabetic condition that is highly associated with heart disease. This condition is diagnosed when at least three of the following are present: Abdominal obesity; Insulin resistance; high triglyceride levels; high blood pressure; and Low HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

N

The number of eggs a woman has is important. As a woman ages, she produces fewer eggs.

HE

Ovulation Disorder is abnormal, irregular, or absence of ovulation.

P

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is known to be a long-term consequence of many sexually transmitted diseases as well as bacterial vaginosis (BV), pelvic surgery and other gynecological procedures that cross the cervix. Pelvic inflammatory disease is inflammation of a woman’s upper reproductive tract, including structures of the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.

Poor Diet can affect a woman’s hormonal balance.

Q

Egg Quality: Egg quality greatly affects your fertility. Poor quality eggs will make it harder for you to get pregnant and get pregnant.

R

Recurrent Miscarriages: While having a previous miscarriage does not increase your risk of recurrent miscarriage, women who have experienced two pregnancy losses are more likely to experience recurrent pregnancy losses.

S

The scar tissue formation of the fallopian tubes can impair fertility by securing the tubes and preventing movement designed to find and catch entrained eggs.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which is caused by the same bacteria and causes infertility.

Sickle Cell Disease: There is no evidence that female fertility is affected by Sickle Cell Disease, but pregnancy can cause many serious problems such as higher miscarriage and stillbirth rates; preeclampsia, infections and more.

Steroid Usage: Anabolic steroids are derived from the male hormone testosterone. Therefore, steroid use can have a dramatic effect on both the male and female reproductive systems, permanently affecting fertility.

Stress can affect a woman’s hormonal balance.

T

Thyroid dysfunction can stop ovulation by disrupting the balance of the body’s natural reproductive hormones.

Tobacco Use: Women who smoke are 60% more likely to be infertile than non-smokers.

Tumors not only physically prevent ovulation, but can also cause hormonal imbalance that leads to anovulation.

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Unruptured Follicle Syndrome occurs in women who produce a normal follicle with one egg in each month but prevent ovulation because the follicle has not ruptured.

Unexplained Infertility: In about 20% of couples, the cause of infertility cannot always be determined.

Uterus: Polyps and other problems in the uterus can cause infertility.

V

Various Gland Disorders: Problems with the glands such as the pituitary, adrenal, and thyroid can delay or prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs.

W

Weight: Women who are significantly heavier or lighter than their ideal body weight are more likely to be anovulatory and therefore infertile than women who are within the normal body weight range.

x

X Chromosome Abnormality: A woman needs two working X chromosomes for normal reproduction. When one is abnormal, ovarian function fails.

Y

If you lead a balanced and healthy lifestyle, your chances of becoming infertile are reduced.

Z

Zinc helps your system synthesize and use the hormones you need to get pregnant and get pregnant.

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