What is female infertility?
A fertile woman with a baby
Female infertility is the inability of women to produce offspring, after a period of 12 months of sex, without having used any contraceptive method.
Female infertility is a problem that affects many women and that increases as they get older.
For example, between 16 and 20 years, it only affects 4.5% of women with partners, but, between 35 and 40 years, 30% of women in a couple have fertility problems.
Symptoms of female infertility
Inability to get pregnant
Causes of female infertility
There are many causes that can lead to female infertility. Sometimes the problems stem from a lack of egg maturation or lack of ovulation. Other times there are barriers or obstacles that prevent sperm reaching the egg. There may be problems of incompatibility between the partners. Sometimes there are no reasons for why a woman is not fertile.
Diagnostics and treatments of female infertility
For any member of a couple to be assumed as sterile, there must be at least a period of one year during which relations have remained unprotected and well timed. After 38 years of age, female infertility may be suspected after half a year.
After this period of time, it could be advisable that the affected woman, along with the man, were subjected to a medical study to diagnose a possible infertility.
The doctor, in addition to general physical examinations for genital tract, may order other tests such as blood or urine. In the case of women other specific tests are:
- Analysis of basal temperature: The objective is to determine whether ovulation occurs. For this, the woman should note in a chart the temperature at rest when she get up. This check should be performed every morning by inserting a thermometer into the rectum or vagina. Theoretically, the graphics should show a temperature increase of between 0.2 to 0.4 º C after ovulation and during the second half of the menstrual cycle. When temperature changes occur before or after the appropriate time, this may be due to problems with ovulation.
- Sims Huhner test: A test to measure a sample of vaginal secretions inside the cervical canal to verify that there is a sufficient number of sperm and that they have adequate mobility. The test is performed prior to the twelve hours after intercourse and lets you know if the cervical mucus has the properties needed to achieve fertilization. To perform this test it is recommended for the man not to have sex for about four days before the meeting.
- Sperm penetration test: An alternative to the previous test. It is a testtube aimed to check whether the sperm is able to move well in the cervical mucus. For this purpose, male sperm, collected by masturbation after a few days without ejaculating, is put in contact with the cervical mucus of women.
- Hysterosalpingography (HSG): These are a set of radiographs of the pelvic cavity to see what state are the uterus and fallopian tubes. To this end, a catheter is inserted through the cervix and a substance is poured in the uterus and fallopian tubes that allow you to see any problem in these cavities.
- Microcolpohysteroscopy (MCH): It allows to clearly see the neck and the uterine cavity.
- Biopsy of the endometrium: It is an endometrial tissue study.
- Laparoscopy: This is the method that allows a clearer picture of the ovaries and fallopian tubes. To this end, a camera is inserted through the abdomen. To perform this test general or local anesthesia is used.
Treatments of general health to promote fertility
Firstly it is intended that both partners present a good physical or mental health. It is desirable that both men and women manifest their doctor about any possible physical problem so that it is treated properly.
The mental health of both partners is important. They will have to avoid stress or nervousness, avoiding any tension that may generate the “obligation” of a pregnancy. The general health and reproductive capacity of the couple depends largely on the diet. Proper nutrition can promote fertility.
Frequent sexual relations favor fertility. There is evidence that infertility rates are higher in those with few sex partners. In this sense it is very important that intercourse take place in the days when a woman is fertile, that is when ovulation has occurred. To find out if this is possible, the couple can use any of the methods known as, calendar, cervical mucus or basal temperature measurement.
After intercourse it is important that the woman remains for a while reclining with her legs slightly bent. It is not very convenient to get up and, above all, to take a shower.
Specific treatments to become pregnant
Sometimes the problems that lead to female infertility are more serious and require more specific treatments. For example, in case of infertility caused by infection, antibiotics and antiinflammatories are often given.
In case of ovulation problems hormone administration can solve the problem.
Sometimes you need medications to stimulate ovulation egg release.
Blockages of the tubes may require the use of surgery to fix them.
In any case, when the previous treatments fail, the couple should know about other reproductive methods such as artificial insemination or assisted reproduction.
Natural treatment of infertility
Natural treatment of infertility involves the use of a series of natural resources that help increase fertility in men or women.
More information on infertility and its natural treatment.