Struggling With Infertility? You Are Not Alone
Infertility is extremely common. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 Americans struggle with infertility. Knowing some common causes of infertility can boost chances of getting pregnant. Additionally, all couples can follow some simple tips to increase chance of pregnancy.
Cause #1: Imbalanced hormones are the number one problem
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a female hormonal disorder that causes problems with ovulation. In fact, PCOS is the number one cause of female infertility. Women with PCOS have more male hormones and larger-than-normal ovaries. Both of these factors will cause problems with ovulation, leading to infertility.
Women with PCOS can work with a healthcare provider to treat infertility. Treatments for PCOS may include birth control pills or additional medications to regulate ovulation and increase chance of pregnancy. Additionally, women with PCOS are advised to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, and maintain a healthy weight.
Cause #2: You must have healthy sperm
In about one-third of cases, infertility is due to problems with the male partner. Producing healthy sperm is key to getting pregnant. However, many men deal with low sperm count or an inability to produce sperm at all. Male infertility can be caused by childhood illnesses, infections, genetic disorders, problems with the testicles, or even environmental factors.
Couples who are dealing with male infertility have treatment options. Sperm washing, sperm extraction, and injecting sperm directly into an egg through ICSI can all be effective treatments for male infertility.
Cause #3: The underlying disorder of severe pelvic pain
Endometriosis is closely linked to infertility. In this disorder, a woman’s uterine lining grows outside the uterus instead of inside the uterus. Endometriosis can cause severe pelvic pain, especially around menstruation, and can lead to infertility when left untreated.
Many women find that simply treating endometriosis itself decreases infertility symptoms. In some couples, undergoing infertility treatment may be necessary. Women who are infertile because of endometriosis can often still get pregnant through in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), or other assisted reproductive technologies.
All couples can increase chances of pregnancy
In all couples, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will increase chances of pregnancy. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a nutritious diet, and limiting caffeine and alcohol intake. Women who are trying to get pregnant should also begin taking prenatal vitamins with at least 400 micrograms of folic acid.
Some other key factors to increase chances of pregnancy include managing stress, getting regular well-woman check-ups, and paying attention to sex habits. For example, lubricants can increase chances of sperm dying before it reaches the egg. Any couples who have had unprotected sex for a year or longer should seek a healthcare professional’s advice for infertility treatment.