Infertility – Diagnosis, Causes, and Treatment

infertility

Infertility can be defined as a condition when you are not able to get pregnant even after trying for almost a year. Infertility is not a new thing. Almost, 10-15% of couples in the USA face infertility, but fortunately, various methods will help you overcome this problem.

A woman who can conceive but has not been able to get pregnant for a year will be categorized as infertile. Primary infertility is a term used for women who are not able to get pregnant. Secondary infertility is the term used for the women who had a successful pregnancy at one stage of life but are not able to get pregnant now.

Usually, women are linked with infertility, but infertility can also affect men. The chances of men becoming infertile is the same as women.

Male causes of infertility

There are many risk factors and medical conditions that may lead to male infertility. Infertility in men is linked with the following factors:

  • Sperms production
  • Shape of sperms
  • Movement of sperms
  • Sperm count
  • Smoking or excessive use of drugs
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Older age
  • Low testosterone hormone
  • Veins swelling in testicles
  • A side effect of a medication that may result in destroying the sperms
  • Chemotherapy

All these factors may contribute to male infertility, but there may be other factors involved.

Female causes of infertility

Female infertility can be due to several reasons like:

  • Ovulation
  • Fertilization
  • Implantation

Any problem with the above processes may lead a woman to become infertile. There may be some other causes and risk factors associated with female infertility. 

  • Older age
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Obesity
  • Smoking or use of drugs like cocaine and marijuana
  • Chemotherapy
  • PID (Pelvic Inflammatory disease)
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Failure of ovaries

Diagnosis in men

Men must visit their doctor if they are facing any one of these issues.

  • Low sex drive
  • Delayed or retrograde ejaculation
  • Pain in genitals
  • Swelling of genitals
  • Erectile dysfunction

Your doctor will first check you physically and see your medical history. You will be asked for a semen sample. Sperm production, shape, and movement will be diagnosed. Depending upon the results – your doctor may ask for a hormonal test, ultrasound, and genetic test.

Diagnosis in women

The chances of women getting pregnant decrease with age. A woman must visit a doctor after 6 months if she is above 35. A doctor may ask you about your physical health, sexual health, and history of any illness. Examination of the pelvic area and ovulation test may be part of it.

You can perform this ovulation test at home by using a kit or providing a blood sample to your doctor. Ultrasound, X-ray, and laparoscopy may be performed to examine the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, or other internal organs.

Treatment for men

Depending upon the cause of infertility, men are treated. Treatment options available for men include 

  • Surgery
  • Medication
  • ART (assisted reproductive technology)

Surgery is used to remove the obstructions. These obstructions hinder sperms from reaching the ejaculate.

Medications are used to increase sperm count in males or to treat hormonal abnormalities in men.

ART is a treatment where sperms and eggs are collected for treatment outside the body like IVF (in vitro fertilization).

Treatment for women

Treatment options for infertility in women also include surgery, medications, and ART. Surgery is performed to remove the fibroids, eradicate the obstructions in fallopian tubes, and correct the abnormal shape of the uterus.

Medications are used to correct the hormonal imbalances in the body.

ART involves the removal of eggs from a woman. These are then fertilized with male sperm in the laboratory and placed back into the uterus.

Natural remedies and infertility

Several dietary approaches and home remedies may help in promoting fertility like:

  • Taking the recommended amount of vitamins and minerals may help in promoting fertility. These vitamins include folate, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and iron.
  • Several teas are also available in the market that may promote fertility, but their credibility is doubtful. However, green tea is safe to consume, and recent studies have also suggested its linkage with improved sperm counts.
  • The use of essential oils for bathing and massaging promotes relaxation by reducing stress. It is linked with improving fertility -however, more research is required to reach definite results.

Certain foods may improve fertility in women, like fiber-rich foods, whole grains, vegetable-based proteins, and high-fat dairy products. Similarly eating a nutrient-rich diet may also help in promoting sperm production in men.

Implementing dietary changes, regular exercise, and being active can promote fertility in both men and women.

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