Female Infertility: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

December 5, 2023

Female Infertility: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment
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Female Infertility: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

The definition of infertility is the inability to conceive after at least a year of frequent, unprotected sex. It can be challenging to identify the causes of female infertility. Various treatments exist, contingent on the underlying cause of infertility. Female infertility refers to the inability of a woman to conceive and carry her pregnancy to term. It may occur from several reproductive system-related issues that hinder the successful fertilization or implantation of eggs into her uterus.

Symptoms of Female Infertility

The inability to conceive is the primary sign of infertility. An excessively long (35 days or longer), short (less than 21 days), irregular, or non-existent menstrual cycle may indicate that you are not ovulating. There may not be any more symptoms or indicators.

Shedding Light on the Causes of Female Infertility

Infertility can result from a variety of mental and physical conditions. Issues with the man, the woman, or both might bring it on. Millions of women throughout the world struggle with female infertility, which also affects couples who are trying to conceive.

Female infertility is primarily caused by one or more of the factors below:

  • Ovulation disorders

Mostly, infertility is caused by irregular or non-existent ovulation. Ovulation disorders can result from issues with the pituitary gland, hypothalamus, or ovary, which control reproductive hormones, which can broadly be termed as:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Ovulation is impacted by a hormone imbalance brought on by PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome. Acne, obesity, insulin resistance, and abnormal facial or body hair growth are all linked to PCOS. It is the most typical reason why women are infertile.

  • Hypothalamic dysfunction

Each month, the pituitary gland secretes two hormones called luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that cause ovulation to occur. Overwhelming physical or mental strain, extreme weight gain or loss, or a recent significant weight shift can all interfere with the production of these hormones and interfere with ovulation. The most prevalent symptoms are irregular or non-existent periods.

  •  Primary ovarian insufficiency

   Often known as early ovarian failure, this is typically brought on by an autoimmune reaction or early ovarian egg loss, which can happen as a result of chemotherapy or heredity. In women under forty, the ovary reduces the amount of estrogen it produces and stops producing eggs.

  •  Too much prolactin

Infertility can result from the pituitary gland’s overproduction of prolactin, or hyperprolactinemia, which lowers the production of estrogen. You may also be taking medication for another condition, which could be the cause of this.

  • Damage to fallopian tubes (tubal infertility)

Fallopian tubes that are damaged or obstructed prevent sperm from reaching the egg or the fertilized egg from entering the uterus. Fallopian tube damage or blockage can result from the following causes:

– Pelvic inflammatory disease, which is an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes brought on by gonorrhea, chlamydia, or other STDs.

– Past abdominal or pelvic surgeries, such as those performed to treat ectopic pregnancies, in which a fertilized egg implants and develops outside of the uterus, typically in a fallopian tube

  • Endometriosis

When tissue that normally grows in the uterus implants and grows elsewhere, it can lead to endometriosis. The surgical excision of this extra tissue growth may result in scarring, which may obstruct fallopian tubes and prevent the union of an egg and sperm.

Moreover, endometriosis may prevent the fertilized egg from implanting properly. Additionally, there appear to be indirect effects of the condition on fertility, such as harm to the sperm or egg.

•   Uterine or cervical causes

Several uterine or cervical conditions can hinder the egg’s ability to implant or raise the chance of miscarriage like:

–  Benign polyps or tumors (fibroids or myomas) which can impact fertility by obstructing fallopian tubes or preventing implantation.

–  Birth defects affecting the uterus, such as an atypical uterine shape, can make it difficult to get pregnant or stay pregnant.

Damage to the cervix or an inherited deformity can result in cervical stenosis, a narrowing of the cervix.

  • Unexplained Infertility

Sometimes the cause of infertility remains unidentified. Several small factors in both partners may contribute to inexplicable fertility issues.

 Types of Infertility in Females

Female infertility can be either primary or secondary:

Primary Infertility: A woman who has never been able to conceive is said to have this condition. Primary infertility refers to the inability to conceive after six months (if you are older than 35) or a year (if you are younger than 35) of trying.

Secondary Infertility: When women who have previously become pregnant struggle to conceive again, it is known as secondary infertility.

     Knowing When to See a Doctor

When to get assistance can vary based on your age:

  • Before testing or treatment, most doctors advise attempting to conceive for a minimum of a year before age 35.
  • After six months of trying, talk to your doctor about your concerns if you’re between 35 and 40.
  • Your doctor may immediately recommend testing or treatment if you are over 40.
  • The doctor might want to start treatment if you’ve previously had endometriosis, cancer treatment, recurrent miscarriages, irregular or painful periods, or pelvic inflammatory disease.

Diagnosing Female Infertility Step by Step

A variety of fertility tests are used to diagnose female infertility in women, including:

Ovulation Tracking: Monitoring basal body temperature and cervical mucus changes

for signs of ovulation.

      Blood & Imaging Tests:  Blood and imaging are the most common tests. Among women, these could be:

  •   Blood tests to measure progesterone and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), among  other hormones
  •   DIY kits for detecting ovulation in urine
  •   Monitoring body temperature each morning to check for ovulation, or the release of eggs    from the ovaries
  •   The clomid challenge test and FSH
  • Testing for antimullerian hormones (AMH)

Imaging: Ultrasound and hysterosalpingography can be used to observe reproductive organs visually. HSG stands for hysterosalpingography. An X-ray or ultrasound of a female’s reproductive organs is part of this procedure. The doctor can use this technique to see if there are any blocked tubes.

Laparoscopy: Laparoscopy is an advanced, minimally invasive surgical technique to diagnose conditions like endometriosis. This process allows the doctor to see any abnormal growths on the outside of the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus. Additionally, the doctor can check for blockages in the fallopian tubes.

Effective Treatment Options for Female Infertility

The goal of treating female infertility is to address its underlying causes. Among the potential interventions are:

Medication: Ovulation is aided by fertility medication. These medications assist in controlling the timing of ovulation. They promote the development and release of fully developed eggs. Ovulation medications can stimulate multiple egg releases. The likelihood of having twins and other multiples increases as a result.

  • Surgery: These procedures are performed with precision to remove endometrial tissue, cysts, or blockages that have resulted in obstructions. Endometriosis and blocked fallopian tubes are two conditions that can be treated or corrected with surgery. Laparoscopy may be used to accomplish this.
  • Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART): More involved therapy may be required for certain couples. Even though ART treatments can be expensive, many are being used successfully. These include:
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)
  • Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)
  • Donor eggs
  • Embryo cryopreservation

Lifestyle Modifications: Making dietary and exercise changes to lead a healthier lifestyle.


The inability of a woman to conceive through routine, unprotected intercourse is known as female infertility. A problem with the reproductive system is infertility. It hinders the body’s capacity to procreate. The majority of female infertility cases are resolved with medication or surgical repair.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does stress cause infertility in women?

        Although stress by itself is unlikely to be the cause of infertility, stress can hinder a woman’s ability to conceive. Studies have indicated that women who have experienced depression in the past are twice as likely to become infertile. Anxiety can also increase the amount of time it takes to become pregnant.

2. How common is female infertility?

Female infertility is a prevalent illness. At least 10% of women and those who are born with the female gender assigned to them experience some form of infertility. As one gets older, the likelihood of infertility rises.

3. At what point should one consider seeking medical help?

It is recommended that women under 35 who have a regular menstrual cycle attempt to become pregnant for at least 12 months, after 6 months in women over age 35 before seeking assistance, or if there are known problems causing infertility.

4. What to expect in the first visit to the doctor?

       A doctor will want to talk with you in-depth to determine the cause of your infertility.  In addition to asking you about your health history, a doctor will quickly examine you physically. To obtain a more complete picture of your situation, a doctor may also ask you several questions regarding your sex life, periods, daily routine, and past pregnancy.

5. Can female infertility be cured?

       Yes, female infertility can be cured. It depends on the cause. Due to the complexity of infertility, treatment necessitates large time, financial, physical, and psychological commitments. Treatments can either use advanced techniques to help you become pregnant or try to restore fertility through medication or surgery.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.





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