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What Factors Affect a Woman's Fertility?

Last updated 5 years ago

Infertility refers to the inability to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after one full year trying to conceive. However, infertility in couples over the age of 35 is typically diagnosed after trying to conceive for six consecutive months. According to the National Infertility Association, one-third of all infertility cases may be attributed to female factors.

Female fertility problems may be attributed to a number of factors, including ovulation problems due to a hormone imbalance, the presence of cysts or tumors, or thyroid gland problems. Ovulation issues may also be the result of eating disorders, excessive alcohol or drug use, stress, excess weight, and brief menstrual cycles.

In some cases female infertility is caused by damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus. This may be the result of a previous infection, scar tissue, adhesion, chronic medical illnesses, or taking certain medications, such as DES—or a medication used to prevent miscarriage or premature birth. Fallopian tube and uterine damage may also be caused by:

  • Uterine fibroids
    These are non-cancerous masses that grow inside, outside, and within the wall of the uterus. Symptoms of uterine fibroids may include heavier or longer periods, feelings of pressure in the stomach, low back pain, frequent urination, and painful intercourse.
  • Polyps
    These growths are attached to the inner wall of the uterus and protrude into the uterine cavity. Symptoms of polyps include bleeding between periods, irregular menstrual cycles, and excessively heavy periods.
  • Endometriosis
    This is a condition in which the endometrial tissue that typically lines the uterus is displaced in other areas of the body. This lining is designed to shed each month during a woman’s menstrual cycle—however, displaced endometrial tissue cannot leave the body properly and therefore causes internal bleeding and scar tissue formation.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
    This condition is caused by vaginal intercourse with a partner infected with chlamydia or gonorrhea and can cause permanent damage of the female reproductive organs.

Whether you’re interested in undergoing infertility diagnosis or IVF treatment, Fertility Centers of Illinois is here to help. Contact FCI at (877) 499-8730 for more information on our infertility treatment methods.


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