Infertility affects millions of couples worldwide. There are many causes of infertility, but sometimes the leading cause is unknown. However, some medical conditions can lead to fertility problems. These diseases can lead to problems with ovulation, sperm production, and transportation. In some cases, they can also cause structural problems with the reproductive organs.
This article will discuss 9 diseases that affect fertility, including endometriosis, PCOS, Fibroids, and more.
Endometriosis is where tissue that usually lines the womb (the endometrium) grows outside it. Endometriosis causes pelvic pain, painful sex, painful urination or bowel movements, and heavy or irregular periods. In most cases, endometriosis does not affect fertility but causes chronic inflammation affecting the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments such as IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) that manage the symptoms of this issue. The procedure of IVF involves retrieving eggs from the ovaries and fertilizing them in a laboratory dish. Then the embryos are implanted into the uterus. This way, the embryos are implanted into the uterus without encountering endometriosis or polyps, which can block or damage the egg or embryo.
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Polycystic ovaries syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common endocrine disorder that affects about 5% of women. PCOS is an issue in which the ovaries produce high levels of androgens (male hormones), which interferes with ovulation. PCOS can lead to painful periods, irregular menstrual cycles, acne, thinning scalp hair, infertility, and weight gain. PCOS can also cause other health problems, such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. If you are struggling with PCOS, you’ll need medications like birth control pills or Depo-Provera injections (hormone injections used in birth control).
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
The fallopian tubes are two long, narrow tubes carrying eggs from the ovaries to the uterus. They are also referred to as the oviducts or the uterine tubes. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, sperm may not reach the egg, or the egg may not be able to travel to the uterus. This issue makes it difficult or impossible to get pregnant. Tubal disease is a leading cause of infertility, affecting millions of women worldwide. If you’ve been diagnosed with tubal disease, you may wonder if you can still have a baby. IVF is one of the most common and effective treatments for infertility caused by tubal disease. IVF can help you become pregnant even if your fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are a significant public health concern due to their high prevalence and potential consequences. STDs can cause several fertility issues, including pelvic inflammation, ectopic pregnancy, congenital infections, risk of miscarriage, preterm labor, and low birth weight. STDs can be severe, but many couples can still have successful pregnancies with proper treatments. IVF may be an appropriate infertility treatment for couples with difficulties conceiving due to STDs.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
Pelvic inflammatory disease is one of the infections of the reproductive organs that can cause infertility. PID occurs when bacteria from the vagina or cervix travel upwards into the uterus and Fallopian tubes. Bacteria transmission can happen during sexual intercourse, childbirth, or miscarriage. PID is a serious condition that requires prompt treatment. If you think you might have PID, you must visit a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment may help prevent serious problems, such as infertility. IVF is considered an effective infertility treatment due to PID.
A fibroid is a benign tumor that grows in a womb and can be as small as grains of sand or up to 10 centimeters long. Uterine fibroids have been related to other health issues, such as endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). They also affect fertility and may lead to severe complications such as miscarriage or postpartum bleeding.
Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland does not produce enough of the hormone thyroxine. Hypothyroidism causes metabolism problems, leading to weight gain, fatigue, and fertility issues. Hypothyroidism is often treated with synthetic thyroid hormone replacement therapy (levothyroxine).
Polyps are tissues that cover some parts of the uterus lining. They are usually benign (non-cancerous), but in some cases, they can become cancerous. Polyps can vary in size, from tiny protrusions to large masses. Polyps are a common cause of infertility that block the fallopian tubes. So, the egg can’t travel to the uterus. Polyps can also interfere with implantation by making the egg less likely to attach to the uterine wall. Polyps sometimes prevent the egg and sperm from meeting.
Premature ovarian failure
Premature ovarian failure (POF) happens when ovaries stop functioning before age 40. POF causes include genetic disorders, autoimmune diseases, chemotherapy, family history, and environmental factors. Certain medical conditions, such as premature menopause, can also cause POF. POF is a complex disease, and its symptoms can vary from woman to woman. The most common symptoms of POF are irregular menstrual periods, night sweats, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mood swings. Generally, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is used to treat POF.
What are infertility treatments?
Infertility is a complicated problem that comes with many possible causes. As a result, no single treatment is effective for all couples. Choosing the best treatment depends on the infertility cause, the age, the partners’ health conditions, and other factors. In some cases, lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, managing stress, having a healthy diet, and exercising, may increase the chance of pregnancy. Most common infertility treatments include medication, surgery, and assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Depending on the cause of infertility, doctors may recommend one or more treatments.
Medication treats infertility issues caused by endometriosis, PCOS, and thyroid disorders.
Surgery is often used to repair damaged fallopian tubes, remove ovarian cysts, or treat endometriosis.
Assisted reproductive technologies (ART)
ART refers to a group of fertility treatments that involve retrieving eggs from a woman’s ovaries, fertilizing them with sperm in a laboratory, and transferring the embryo back into the uterus. IVF is the most common ART procedure. Doctors recommend IVF for women with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis, or a history of pelvic infections. They also recommend IVF for men with a low sperm count or abnormal sperm function. IVF is a complicated and costly procedure that is not always successful. The success rate of IVF depends on many factors, such as the woman’s age, the cause of infertility, and the number of fertilized eggs.
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Many factors can affect fertility, including lifestyle, health conditions, and age. Pelvic inflammatory disease, STDs, polyps, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids can block or damage the fallopian tubes, making it difficult for the egg to fertilize. Premature ovarian failure, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and hypothyroidism lead to ovulation disorders.
As there are many infertility treatments, working with a fertility specialist helps you to determine the proper procedure. IVF is often considered the best option. CarefulTrip is a health tourism agency based in Iran with well-known expertise and surgeons that provide all kinds of infertility treatments, including IVF.