Infertility: Causes & signs in men & women
Are you trying to get pregnant but it just isn’t working out? You might be concerned about whether you or your partner need to get checked out for a medical issue. Let’s learn what infertility is and the possible causes and symptoms in women and men.
What is infertility?
Infertility is the inability to become pregnant after engaging in frequent, unprotected intercourse for anywhere between six months and a year, depending on your age. Not all cases of infertility result in “sterility”—the inability to ever produce a child. A child can eventually be born to half of couples who receive medical assistance.
Obstacles to conception can affect both men and women. 20% of infertile couples have issues with both partners’ fertility. After conducting all necessary testing, no cause is identified in 15% of couples. We refer to this as unexplained infertility.
What are the causes of infertility in men?
Causes of infertility in men may include:
- Abnormal sperm development or function as a result of undeveloped testicles, genetic flaws, medical conditions like diabetes, or infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, the mumps, or HIV. Varicocele (enlarged veins in the testes) can also lower sperm quality.
- Sperm delivery issues due to sexual problems such as structural issues such as a blockage in the testis, early ejaculation, genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis, or damage or injury to the reproductive organs.
- Excessive exposure to radiation and other environmental elements such as pesticides and other chemicals, and radiation.
- Fertility can also be impacted by cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, marijuana use, anabolic steroids, and intake of drugs for depression, high blood pressure, and bacterial infections.
Causes of infertility in women may include:
- Ovulation disorders, may prevent the ovaries from producing eggs normally. Ovulation may be impacted by conditions including polycystic ovarian syndrome, hyperprolactinemia (increased prolactin hormone), and irregular thyroid hormone. Other possible underlying causes include excessive activity, eating problems, or cancer.
- Abnormalities in structure of uterus or cervix, growth of polyps in uterus or cervix, all such conditions can lead to recurrent miscarriages or implantation failure. Uterine fibroids, which are benign (noncancerous) tumors of the uterine wall, can prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus or block the fallopian tubes, both of which can result in infertility.
- Inflammation of the fallopian tube is frequently the cause of fallopian tube injury or obstruction (salpingitis). This may be the outcome of pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted infection, tuberculosis or any other infection affecting reproductive system.
- The ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes may all be affected by endometriosis, which develops when endometrial tissue spreads outside of the uterus. It may lead to formation of adhesions which may hamper the normal functioning of the fallopian tube. Endometriosis also has adverse effects on the ovarian reserve and on implantation.
What are common signs of infertility in men and women?
Unable to conceive is the only sign for infertility. There may be no sign or symptom of infertility in both males and females.
An estimated 15 to 20 percent of couples who are attempting to get pregnant will experience infertility issues. Infertility due to female factors often accounts for 40% of problems, whilst infertility due to male factors accounts for 30% to 40% of problems. 20 to 30 % of the time, a combination of these variables results in infertility.
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