Some medical conditions lead to infertility. Discover what are these conditions and know their causes and symptoms.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recorded that about 12% of both men and women of all reproductive age in the United States experience infertility. The causes of infertility have different factors such as environmental factors, physical factors and conditions that affect the production of hormones needed for conception.
Some diseases and conditions contribute to the difficulty in conceiving. These are fallopian tube damage, blockage, or pelvic adhesions, ovulation disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, decreased ovarian reserve, uterine abnormalities, and male factor infertility.
Aside from reproductive medical conditions, some illnesses in the body cause infertility. These include diabetes, pituitary gland disease, hypothalamus disorder, multiple sclerosis, chlamydia, prostatitis, Cushing’s syndrome, hypogonadism, and mumps.
Conditions that Lead to Infertility
A diagnosis is essential if a couple is having difficulty conceiving for more than a year. Some of these conditions may grow worse if continuously ignored. Know the symptoms and set an appointment with your doctor as soon as you experienced some symptoms.
Fallopian tube damage, blockage, or pelvic adhesions
Pain in the pelvis or the belly can be a symptom of a blocked fallopian tube.
Fallopian tubal disorders are conditions wherein the fallopian tubes consist of adhesions, blockages or scar tissue that obstruct the sperm or the embryo movement. A blockage can be caused by harmless, temporary contractions of the uterine muscles or infection, inflammation or endometriosis. It prevents the sperm from reaching the egg.
Often, blocked fallopian tubes don’t have symptoms except for the difficulty of conceiving. However, some women experience pain in the pelvis or belly, especially during their period. Also, others have an ectopic pregnancy.
On the other hand, adhesions occur when the bands tissue form between the fallopian tubes and the ovaries, sticking them together. Due to this, the fallopian tubes can’t carry sperm or embryos, preventing successful fertilization.
Fallopian tube adhesion is characterized by painful sensation in the low abdomen and can appear as swelling pain, dull pain, tingling pain, and sharp pain. To prevent this from occurring, it is advisable to pay attention to menstrual hygiene by the daily cleaning and changing clothes. Also, prevent inflammation in other reproductive systems.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Women who have PCOS can experience male-pattern baldness.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder for women of reproductive age. Women who struggle with PCOS have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods and have excessive male hormones.
Although the exact cause of PCOS is still unknown, some factors are linked to it. Some of these are excess insulin produced in the pancreas, low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, heredity, and abnormally high levels of androgen produced by the ovaries.
Women with PCOS commonly experience infrequent, irregular, or prolonged menstrual cycles, excessive facial and body hair, occasional severe acne and male-pattern baldness, and enlarged ovaries.
PCOS could lead to infertility, gestational diabetes, miscarriage or premature birth, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, abnormal uterine bleeding, and endometrial cancer.
Painful intercourse is associated with endometriosis
Endometriosis happens when the tissue similar to the lining of the wombs appears on ovaries, fallopian tubes and other parts of the body. For a time, the tissue spreads and behaves like the uterus and bleeds during menstruation. It results in daily adhesion formation and pelvic pain. Endometriosis disrupts the anatomy and creates a harsh environment for the sperms and the eggs.
This condition is caused by retrograde menstruation, peritoneal cells, embryonic cell transformation, surgical scar implantation, endometrial cell transport, and immune system disorder. If ignored, the disease may lead to infertility and ovarian cancer.
The common symptoms associated with endometriosis include painful periods, painful intercourse, pain with bowel movements or urination, excessive bleeding, and infertility. If you are experiencing these symptoms, it is recommended to consult your doctor immediately.
Backache is one of the symptoms of uterine fibroids.
Fibroids are benign tumours that originated from the muscle cells within the uterine cavity. The continuous growth and protrusion of the fibroids in the cavity of the uterus may result in low fertility or miscarriages. These tumours can only be detected during a pelvic exam or prenatal ultrasound.
Even though doctors don’t know the exact cause of uterine fibroids, researches and clinical experience point out some factors. These include genetic changes, stimulation from estrogen and progesterone, insulin-like growth factor, and extracellular matrix- a material that makes cells stick together.
Some of the symptoms you must watch out for are heavy menstrual bleeding, menstrual periods lasting more than a week, pelvic pressure or pain, frequent urination, difficulty emptying the bladder, constipation and, backache or leg pains.
A woman with polyps may experience heavy bleeding.
Endometrial polyps are growths that occur in the lining of the inner wall of the uterus and often grow large enough that they can extend to the uterine cavity. These polyps are usually benign; however, come can be cancerous or eventually turn into cancer.
Like uterine fibroids, the exact cause of endometrial polyps is still unknown. However, an increase in estrogen production is seen as a factor since it is responsible for thickening the endometrium, making the polyps possible.
Symptoms of endometrial polyps include irregular bleeding during childbearing years, or trouble getting pregnant, heavy bleeding during period, spotting after sex, and vaginal bleeding after menopause. The tests conducted to detect polyps are water ultrasound and hysteroscopy.
Dr. Yaron Seidman DAOM