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What are the Most Common Fertility Problems?

By Patti Kate
Updated May 17, 2024
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The most common fertility problems in women are endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). In men, the most common fertility problems are low sperm count and testicular injury. Hormonal problems in women often account for fertility problems as well. Many other factors may be responsible for fertility problems for couples, such as age, smoking, or even sexually transmitted diseases. Difficulty in conceiving can also be attributed to poor diet.

When couples try unsuccessfully to conceive a child, often they will be directed to fertility specialists and clinics to determine a possible cause. Doctors will typically perform tests on both partners. An extensive evaluation of medical history will also be conducted. For many women with fertility issues, a main cause is the condition of endometriosis.

Most women who have endometriosis will suffer from pain and irregular menstrual cycles. This is not a condition that will typically go unnoticed. In normal situations, tissue will line the inside of the uterus, but in cases of endometriosis, the lining becomes prominent on the outside. This tissue may spread to other surrounding areas as well. Scarring of tissue is common and without treatment, it may make becoming pregnant difficult.

For women with endometriosis, the fallopian tubes may become blocked, causing fertility problems. In some cases, medications may improve the situation. For more severe cases that cannot be improved or corrected with drugs, surgery may be recommended. Many women are helped through this type of surgery.

Polycystic ovary syndrome, also known as PCOS, may cause a women to have difficulty becoming pregnant. These fertility issues may arise as a women advances in age. Often it is due to hormonal changes or imbalances. This condition may also cause small cysts to form on an ovary as well. Ovulation may become impaired and infrequent menstrual periods are a major sign of this disorder. Difficulty in conceiving is often a concern for women with this condition.

If left untreated, PCOS can lead to complications, such as diabetes, hypertension, and complete infertility. A pelvic examination by the patient's gynecologist will typically provide a diagnosis. An ultrasound of the pelvic area is also recommended. Certain medications may be prescribed. The doctor may also recommend dietary changes, as well as modification of lifestyle.

Fertility problems attributed to low sperm count in men is a relatively common occurrence. Fortunately, there are ways to counteract this and improve the odds of a couple conceiving. In many cases, the root of the matter may be attributed to non-medical issues.

After the man has undergone a physical examination that shows no medical conditions are present, low sperm count may be attributed to stress. Emotional issues such as worry, anxiety, or pressure on the job may all factor into this. Environmental issues, such as very warm weather can also play a role. As a solution, the man should try relaxation techniques and ways to control stress. Not becoming overheated through physical exertion may also improve a low sperm count.

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Discussion Comments
By candyquilt — On Feb 16, 2014

@donasmrs-- Have you read the article? Endometriosis is a cause of blocked fallopian tubes, so it's definitely a common problem.

But endometriosis does not cause infertility in every case. It depends on how severe the endometriosis is and which reproductive organs it is affecting. If endometrial tissue grows in the ovaries and fallopian tubes. But every women with endometriosis is not going to experience this. So to sum it up, endometriosis is one of the more common problems that women experience but it may or may not affect getting pregnant.

By ddljohn — On Feb 16, 2014

@donasmrs-- I'm not a doctor so I'm not entirely sure. But I don't think that issues with the fallopian tubes are uncommon. For some women, they're blocked, others have very long fallopian tubes, or the tubes are injured or filled with fluid. But these issues are treatable. In some cases, surgery may be required to unblock or repair the tubes.

My wife had only one fallopian tube blocked, so she was still able to get pregnant and she didn't require treatment. I think that sometimes, women don't even know that one is blocked since they are able to conceive without problems. So it's probably a more common problem than we realize.

By donasmrs — On Feb 15, 2014

What about blocked fallopian tubes? Is this a common fertility problem in women? I just found out that my sister has this. She's devastated.

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