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Infertility Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

  • 4.6 (5 Votes)
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If you fail to conceive then check out symptoms,causes and treatment of infertility. IVF treatment or IUI treatment can be the best treatments for infertility

Estimations suggest that one in seven couples encounter difficulties while trying to conceive. If you've been having regular unprotected sex for more than 12 months (or less, if you're over 35) and are still not pregnant, you may begin to wonder if you have infertility issues. The best thing to help you decide is to visit a doctor. Most fertility issues can be determined and a majority of them can be treated.

Female Infertility Causes:

1. Endometriosis: This condition, in which endometrial tissue (the uterine lining that sheds with each monthly period) grows outside the uterus, instead of inside it. Endometriosis is one of the major causes of infertility as it can cause blockage or damage in the fallopian tubes.

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  • Symptoms: Pain in the lower abdomen, lower back, pelvis or vaginal area; pain during intercourse; constipation or painful bowel motion; cramps; irregular periods; infertility
  • Treatment:Laparoscopic surgery to remove abnormal tissue or to cure blockage in tubes; hormone therapy in the form of pill, injection or nasal spray; Fertility drugs with intrauterine insemination (IUI) for mild endometriosis or in vitro fertilization (IVF treatment) for more severe cases.
  • Success rates: 81-84% women conceive after surgery in mild cases; 50% of women conceive after surgery in moderate cases and 25% of women conceive after surgery in severe cases; If untreated cases, IUI treatment has usual success rates if combined with fertility drugs. Untreated endometriosis usually has lower success rates than usual if endometriosis is left untreated.

2. Ovulation Dysfunction: Any condition (usually hormonal) that prevents the release of a mature egg from an ovary is referred as ovulation dysfunction.

  • Symptoms: Absent or irregular periods
  • Treatment: Ovulation-stimulating drugs such as clomifene and gonadotrophins, prolactin suppressants such as bromocriptine and IVF treatment with fertility drugs.
  • Success rates: About 70-85% of women ovulate and 23-28% conceive, depending on the drug and its dosage.

3. Poor egg quality: Eggs that become damaged or develop chromosomal abnormalities cannot sustain a pregnancy. This problem is usually age-related, as egg quality declines significantly in the late 30s and early 40s.

  • Symptoms: Difficulty conceiving and miscarriage.
  • Treatment:Egg or embryo donation, surrogacy or adoption.
  • Success rates: About 33% of women who use donor eggs or embryos in IVF treatment have a successful pregnancy.

4. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is caused by a hormone imbalance that disrupts ovulation. The ovaries develop many small cysts instead of ripening and maturing one egg each cycle.

  • Symptoms:Irregular periods, excessive hair growth, acne and weight gain.
  • Treatment:Changes in diet and lifestyle if overweight, ovulation-stimulating drugs such as clomifene, gonadotrophins, and IVF treatment.
  • Success rates: Lifestyle changes, weight loss of just five per cent can re-start regular ovulation in obese women. About 70-85% ovulate and 23-28% conceive depending on the drugs and its dosage.

5. Female tube blockages: Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes prevent eggs from reaching the uterus and the sperm from fusing with the egg. Leading causes include pelvic inflammatory disease, sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia, and previous sterilisation surgery.

  • Symptoms:Pelvic pain; Painful urination; Abdominal pain; Fatigue
  • Treatment: Laparoscopic surgery to open tubes, or if tubes are too badly damaged to repair, IVF treatment is an option.
  • Success rates: Conception rates vary widely, from 20-70%, depending on the severity of the blockage and the amount of scar tissue that develops after surgery. In case of untreated femal tube blockage, IVF treatment has usual success rates. 

iui treatment

Male Infertility Causes:

1. Male tube blockages: Any obstructions in the vas deferens or epididymis (the tubes that transport fertile sperm) result in male tube blockage. Infection, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, injury, or birth defects can also cause blockages. Varicoceles, enlarged veins in the scrotum, may also affect sperm production.

  • Symptoms: None. (Varicoceles occasionally cause pain or heaviness but are usually found during an examination.)
  • Treatment: Surgery to correct epididymal tube blockages.
  • Success rates: Depending on the problem and the surgical technique, 20-40% are able to get their partner pregnant within 12 to 18 months of surgery.

2. Sperm-related issues: Low or no sperm counts, poor sperm motility (the ability to move), and abnormally-shaped sperm can all cause infertility.

  • Symptoms:None
  • Treatment: Fertility drugs may boost sperm production. Other options include intrauterine insemination (IUI treatment) and donor insemination or injecting sperm directly into the egg (ICSI).
  • Success rates: Fertility drugs: About 40% of men with a hypogonadotropic hypogonadism are able to impregnate their partner after treatment and 56-70% of men with retrograde ejaculation can impregnate their partner; In untreated cases, 5-15% of women become pregnant per cycle via IUI treatment. ICSI has usual IVF success rates in untreated cases.

iui treatment

3. Sperm reaction: Some men have an immune reaction to semen, which causes them to produce anti-sperm antibodies that damage their sperm. This usually happens after vasectomy. About three percent of infertile men have an immune reaction to their own sperm.

  • Symptoms:None
  • Treatment: IVF treatment and ICSI.
  • Success rates:IVF and ICSI have usual success rates.

Other types of Infertility:

1. Unexplained infertility: This catch-all term is used when doctors can't find a cause for infertility after a full series of tests and assessments. Some experts think being significantly overweight or underweight, exercising excessively and even environmental toxins may be contributing factors.

  • Symptoms:None. It is a diagnosis of exclusion when results of tests for other causes of infertility are normal.
  • Treatment: At first expectant management is advised, which means continuing to try to conceive by having regular, unprotected sex. After two years of trying (including the year before fertility investigations), usually, IVF is suggested.
  • Success rates: Couples who keep trying have about a 15% chance of conceiving in the first year and 35% chance in the second year after fertility investigations. Age is an important factor. Young couples may have as high as 80% chance of conceiving within three years. IVF treatment has usual success rates for cases of unexplained fertility.

2. Combination infertility:The term used to describe couples who have both male and female infertility problems, or when one partner has more than one fertility problem.

  • Symptoms: Symptoms vary, depending on causes.
  • Treatment: Once all infertility causes are determined, appropriate treatments follow.
  • Success rates:Rates vary, depending on infertility causes.

Infertility tests can help you in identifying the underlying fertility issue. Also, do you want to accelerate your process of conceiving! Fertility boosting diet can help you in achieving your pregnancy goals faster.

Dr. R K Sharma

About The Author

Reproductive Endocrinologist, Hysteroscopic Surgeon Dr. R K Sharma
Delhi

Dr. R K Sharma has completed MBBS and MD in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Pune University in 1981 and 1989 respectively. Dr. R K Sharma is one of the pioneers in the field of IVF treatment in India. He specializes in IUI, IVF, Embryo transfer and Hysteroscopy procedures. He is also a member of Federation of Obstetrics and Gynecology Societies of India (FOGSI). Dr. R K Sharma is presently practicing at Primus Super Specialty Hospital, Chanakyapuri, Delhi. To know more, visit elawoman.com

SOURCES AND REFERENCES:

  1. Things to do before trying to get pregnant pregnant, Elawoman - 2017
  2. Endometriosis causes and symptoms Endometriosis, Elawoman - 2017
  3. Infertility - causes and risks causes of infertility, Elawoman - 2017
  4. Intrauterine insemination may help you conceive intrauterine insemination, Elawoman - 2017
  5. Everything you need to now about intrauterine insemination (iui) IUI treatment, Elawoman - 2017
  6. Can infertility drugs cause premature menopause fertility drugs, Elawoman - 2017
  7. Use ovulation calendar to know fertile days Ovulation, Elawoman - 2017
  8. What is in-vitro fertilization (ivf) and its needs IVF treatment, Elawoman - 2017
  9. Polycystic ovarian syndrome pcos sign and treatment PCOS, Elawoman - 2017
  10. Six factors determine ivf success rate IVF success rates, Elawoman - 2017

5 Comments

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Manisha Dutta

Thanks for sharing this. Really helpful and knowledgeable article. I would love to share this.

Oct. 12, 2018, 3:52 p.m. 5.0

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Shudhir Mishra

You can track your sperm quality and quantity at home with the aid of sperm evaluation kit. Along with the change in obtained results, you need to keep maintaining your healthy diet plan.

Oct. 1, 2018, 2:51 p.m. 4.5

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Swati Saini

I am trying to conceive for more than 4 years and still no results. Please help Ela.

Aug. 24, 2017, 3:24 p.m. 4.5

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Megha Rajput

IUI treatment can raise the chance of pregnancy with multiples. So if any couple wishes to have twins or triplets, IUI can work very well for them.

Aug. 24, 2017, 3:18 p.m. 4.5

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Sandhya Raghuvanshi

Avocados and walnuts helped my husband in elevating his sperm count. But I could not conceive naturally so we went for IVF treatment. Now, we have a 2 years old girl.

Aug. 24, 2017, 1:43 p.m. 4.5

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The information displayed on this webpage covers general information on several medical conditions, fertility treatments, IVF ICSI, surrogacy procedure, home remedies, and their respective treatments. The exclusive purpose of the displayed information is for the sake of general understanding and it has been collected from open sources which heavily rely on research and laboratory tests. However, the information shared here should not be considered as a medical advice or an alternative to consultation with a registered medical practitioner or licensed healthcare professional.

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