Common Causes of Infertility in Males and Females
Understanding the causes of infertility in males and females can help you select the best available treatments and supplements, increasing your chances of achieving a healthy pregnancy.
In the United States, 10-15% of couples suffer from certain conditions that can cause infertility. These specific causes can vary, but are usually dependent on certain lifestyle, genetic, and environmental aspects. Below, we’ll discuss some of infertility’s most common causes for both men and women.
Conditions that Cause Infertility in Women
While there are many different conditions that cause infertility in women, the good news is that many of them are treatable. But, the first step to infertility treatment is always diagnosis. Let’s take a look at some common female infertility causes so you know which treatment route is best for you.
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS is most often caused by an imbalance in androgens and insulin, although there may be other lifestyle factors at play. Women with PCOS typically experience irregular and painful periods, weight gain or trouble losing weight, and infertility or miscarriages. Luckily, PCOS can typically be treated by either lifestyle changes or medication.
Girls and women with endometriosis are often told that their painful and heavy periods are normal, so they often go undiagnosed. The disease affects the tissue around female reproductive hormones and can cause infertility if not discovered and treated early. Treatment includes anti-hormonal drugs and possibly surgery.
Adenomyosis and endometriosis are similar diseases. They both affect the tissue around the female reproductive organs. Adenomyosis causes inflammation that can decrease an embryo’s ability to successfully implant into the uterus and blossom into a fetus. Treatment for adenomyosis includes hormone therapy or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
- Ovarian Cysts
Ovarian cysts can be caused by a variety of lifestyle, genetic, and environmental factors. It’s possible to have ovarian cysts that are completely benign and won’t cause infertility. However, it is also possible that a cyst could damage an ovary or have to be surgically removed. Ovary damage is one of the serious infertility causes that cannot be reversed, though it can be mitigated through hormone therapy and IVF.
- Uterine Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are small growths of muscle inside the uterus. They are often discovered during the time period when a woman is most likely to have a baby (age 21-30). Fibroids may or may not cause infertility in women, depending on their size and location. If a fibroid is larger than 4-6cm and located inside the uterine cavity it will likely cause inferility and possibly a miscarriage. Treatment includes surgery and medication.
Male Infertility Causes
Conditions that cause infertility can appear in men and women, which is why both partners should seek treatment if they are struggling to conceive. Here are a few causes that may be treatable once diagnosed:
A varicocele is a swollen vein within the scrotum. It’s one of the most common male infertility causes and is typically reversible with a simple surgery. Although the exact causes and risk factors for varicoceles are unknown, they are most likely related to abnormal blood flow.
- Celiac Disease
Celiac disease is a digestive disorder caused by sensitivity to gluten, a protein found in wheat. Men with Celiac Disease commonly have abnormal sperm, which can contribute to male infertility. Sticking to a gluten-free diet is the best way to mitigate the symptoms of Celiac Disease and can help keep sperm healthy.
- Retrograde Ejaculation
During ejaculation, the sphincter (a muscle at the neck of the bladder) contracts so semen does not get into the bladder and will travel through the urethra instead. If the sphincter is not strong enough to keep semen from entering the bladder, retrograde ejaculation will occur and the semen will travel into the bladder, unable to reach the vagina. Causes can be recent surgery or medication. If retrograde ejaculation is caused by medication, it should resolve if the medication is not taken anymore.
Natural Fertility Supplements
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