What are the Different Causes of Infertility in Women?

Infertility in women can be caused by various issues, resulting in difficulty getting pregnant after one year of trying to conceive. One of the most common problems is scarring, which is most often caused by either endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. Cysts and fibroids that appear on the uterus or ovaries can also halt conception, or at least result in several years of infertility before pregnancy is achieved. A hormonal imbalance is another common cause of infertility in women, including early menopause and luteal phase defect.

Uterine scarring can make it difficult to conceive, and unfortunately, various issues with the female reproductive system may cause this problem. For instance, endometriosis often makes it difficult for fertilized eggs to stick to the uterine wall, and can also cause both cysts and extreme scars. While less than half of females with endometriosis are completely infertile, severe scarring can make it nearly impossible for an egg to travel to the fallopian tube. Another condition that has various consequences for the female human body is pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID, which can result in fever, pelvic pain, and extreme scarring. PID is most often caused by sexually transmitted diseases, unsafe abortions, and a ruptured appendix.

Cysts and fibroids typically have the same result as scarring, as these issues can make it difficult for the egg to travel to the fallopian tube. Uterine fibroids, for example, can block the fallopian tube, making it unlikely for the egg to reach its destination. Furthermore, fibroids can even change the shape of the uterus, so if conception does occur, the embryo may not be able to implant within the uterine wall. The cysts that are formed by polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, have a similar effect, except women with this disorder may not release any eggs during ovulation. Instead, eggs often become trapped inside follicles due to an unusually high amount of testosterone, forming large cysts that contribute to infertility in women.

Not all hormonal imbalances result in cysts, but many do cause infertility in women, especially when they make ovulation or implantation difficult. One example is early menopause, which is often caused by an increase in the follicle-stimulating hormone, or FSH. This reduces the number of follicles that are needed for ovulation, making it unlikely to conceive without getting medical help. Another hormonal issue that can result in infertility in women is a luteal phase defect, which is typically caused by insufficient progesterone. This hormone is required for the uterine lining to stay thick enough to support an embryo, so this issue often results in recurrent early miscarriages.


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