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7 Common Conditions That Can Affect Female Fertility

The processes involved in becoming pregnant and carrying a pregnancy to term are actually incredibly challenging. Several things can go wrong throughout these procedures, resulting in infertility. A woman having trouble conceiving or carrying a baby to term should consult the doctor about treatment options. In this article, we have gathered seven common conditions that can affect female fertility.

1. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) 

PCOS is a leading cause of female infertility. It's a disease in which a woman's ovaries and adrenal glands create more androgens (male hormones) than expected. High doses of these hormones disrupt ovarian follicle growth and egg release during ovulation. As a result, fluid-filled sacs known as cysts can form within the ovaries. 

PCOS affects 5% to 10% of women in the United States. The specific etiology of PCOS is unknown, however current research shows that the disorder is caused by a mix of hereditary and environmental factors.

2. Dysfunction of the hypothalamus

Each month, the pituitary gland produces two chemicals that stimulate ovulation: follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) (LH). Excessive physical or mental stress, extremely high or extremely low body weight, or a recent significant weight increase or decrease can all alter hormone production and interfere with ovulation. The most typical symptoms of this condition are irregular or missing periods.

3. Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects around one in every ten women and is caused by tissue comparable to that seen in a woman's uterine lining growing outside of the uterus. The major symptom is heavy, painful periods, but the disorder can also cause endometrial cysts and scar tissue (adhesions) to develop. 

These adhesions can spread on the intestines and the cervix and resulting in persistent discomfort and irregular menstruation. Most women with endometriosis are not infertile, but complications might arise, especially if there is extensive scar tissue damaging the ovaries and fallopian tubes.

4. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a condition that can decrease fertility by affecting the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries. It can cause pelvic adhesions and scar tissue to form between internal organs, resulting in persistent pelvic discomfort and the likelihood of an ectopic pregnancy (when a fertilized egg becomes implanted outside the uterus). PID is most commonly caused by sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea and chlamydia.

5. Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are the most common kind of noncancerous growth in women of reproductive age. Fibroids are formed of muscle cells and other tissues that develop in and around the uterine, or womb, wall. Fibroids have an unknown etiology but being African-American or overweight is a risk factor. Fibroid symptoms are:

  • Heavy or painful periods
  • Bleeding between periods (spotting)
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain in the lower back
  • Infertility, multiple miscarriages, or premature delivery 

However, some women will not have any symptoms. That is why it is critical to schedule routine examinations with your doctor.

6. Thyroid issues

Thyroid abnormalities, such as an under or overactive thyroid, can have a wide variety of effects on women's health, including fertility. Symptoms such as tiredness, skin, hair, weight and mood changes, joint and muscle discomfort, and very heavy or light periods might appear gradually and be quite subtle, but getting an appropriate diagnosis and treatment is critical.

7. Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)

Primary ovarian insufficiency, also known as premature ovarian failure, occurs when a woman's ovaries cease performing normally before the age of 40. Many women naturally suffer decreased fertility around the age of 40. As women approach menopause, they may experience irregular menstrual cycles. 

Women with POI experience irregular periods and diminished fertility before the age of 40. Sometimes it might begin throughout the adolescent years. POI can be caused by a natural source or by an illness, surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation.

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