Female infertility has always been considered a taboo, not something very interesting and pleasing to talk about. To be honest, society talks so less about it that now many people don’t even know about it, until they have dealt with it on a personal level. One of the best fertility specialists in India, Dr. Indira Ganeshan discusses the issue of infertility. She says “Infertility is no longer uncommon now. A decade ago, the scenario was different but in present times, one cannot term infertility as being rare as there is an increase in the number of infertility cases every year. There are numerous respective tests subjected to determine the cause of infertility accordingly.” Usually, the causes of infertility can be indirectly linked to diseases, drug abuse and lifestyle. Whereas the causes may be directly linked to women reproductive dysfunction.
Indirect causes of infertility are linked to-·
Obesity- Obesity or Overweight women are likely to have high cases of menstrual dysfunction and anovulation. Obesity can structurally hamper the female body and thus affecting the female hormones which are liable for infertility. The risk of conception rates, miscarriage rates, and pregnancy complications are increased in women suffering from obesity.
· Drug abuse- Marijuana can elevate risks of infertility due to lack of ovulation. Marijuana slows down the flow of eggs through the oviduct, preventing implantation in the uterus. Cocaine abuse can lead to heavy drinking; being underweight which can also may result to infertility.
· Advanced age- Female fertility starts to decline several years prior to menopause and infertility becomes more pronounced at age 35, however by age 40 that chance drops drastically.
· Exposure to radiation and cancer treatments- Chemotherapy drugs used in cancer treatments can damage a woman’s eggs. Cancer cells are killed using high energy rays which damages the ovaries leading to high chances of miscarriage, low-birth weight infants, and premature births.
Whereas the direct causes of infertility are associated with-
Hyperprolactinemia- high level of prolactin hormone in the body hampers ovulation which can hamper pregnancy leading to infertility. Whenever the ovary starts growing eggs without ovulating or losing them, this leads to polycystic Ovary builds up leading to no ovulation thus any pregnancy.
· Sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) – sometimes infertility can also be a result of an STI like Chlamydia and gonorrhea. These infections causes blockage of the fallopian tubes because of which eggs cannot reach the uterus impeding fertilization.
· A surgical procedure on the vagina- A dilation and curettage procedure (D&C), is a surgical procedure in which the uterine lining is scraped to remove abnormal tissues. But sometimes D&C leads to scar tissue formation called Asherman’s syndrome which results in infertility and changes in menstrual flow.
· Stenosis of the uterine cervix- Cervical stenosis means that the opening in the cervix is narrower than typical leading to menstrual abnormalities. It can also cause infertility because sperm cannot pass through the cervix to fertilize the egg.
· Vaginismus- Sometimes the vagina might be too narrow to allow access for the penis to penetrate. This is a sexual pathology called Vaginismus. Vaginismus causes involuntary spasms of the muscles in the vagin.
Infertility can be quite stressful and hard to cope with, but you should acknowledge your feeling, Share your questions and fears. Staying connected with loved ones can help relieve the stress. Communicating with your partner can be very effective to cope with the stress.