Infertility is a medical condition that affects 1 in 8 couples in the United States. Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after six months to one year of unprotected sex, or experiencing multiple miscarriages.
About a third of infertility is referred to as female-factor, meaning it is caused by a problem in a woman’s body. A third is referred to as male-factor, and a third is either unexplained or due to health conditions in both partners.
Various medical conditions can cause or contribute to infertility in women. Here at Westover Hills Women’s Health, our board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, Houmam Al-Hakeem, MD, is an expert at diagnosing and treating a full range of gynecological conditions, including those that may play a part in infertility.
Factors affecting your fertility can broadly be divided into problems with ovulation, the uterus, or other hormonal or lifestyle factors.
The most common causes of female infertility are ovulation disorders. When you ovulate, your ovaries release an egg that, if fertilized by sperm, can grow into a pregnancy.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an ovulatory disorder in which hormone imbalances and problems with metabolism, prevent your body from producing and ovulating an egg each month.
PCOS affects 1 in 10 women of childbearing age and most often present with irregular cycles, Hair loss or facial hair growth and obesity. It is one of the most common causes of female infertility but also one of the most treatable.
Having uterine problems such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or other structural issues can make it harder for a fertilized egg to implant in your uterus and progress into a healthy pregnancy.
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when tissue from inside your uterus grows in places where it shouldn’t, such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and elsewhere in your pelvic cavity.
uterine fibroids are large cell growths that can form inside the muscle wall of the uterus. These can cause irregular bleeding and difficulty for a pregnancy to implant and grow in the uterus.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection of the uterus that can be caused by untreated sexually transmitted infections. This may cause scarred tissue in the reproductive organs making pregnancy more difficult.
In addition to the medical conditions listed above, female infertility may also be caused or exacerbated by hormone and thyroid imbalances, bleeding problems, smoking, obesity, alcohol use, stress, and poor diet.
If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, Dr. Al-Hakeem can provide you with an infertility evaluation that includes whatever assessment and diagnostic testing you need to get to the root of your medical issues.
To schedule an appointment for an examination at one of our two San Antonio, Texas, offices, call us today or use our online tool.