Common Causes of Female Infertility
Unfortunately, there are many common causes of female infertility that can make it difficult or impossible to conceive without assistance. Some of the common issues facing our Los Angeles female infertility patients are endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), irregular ovulation, and blocked fallopian tubes. While these problems can make conceiving difficult, with the assistance of our skilled Los Angeles fertility center staff, many patients will realize their dream of motherhood.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the endometrium grows outside of the uterus. The endometrium is the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. This condition is often quite painful and most commonly involves the ovaries, bowels, and the tissue lining the pelvis. In some rare cases, endometrial tissue may spread beyond the pelvic region. The displaced endometrial tissue breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because it is displaced, the endometrial tissue becomes trapped in the body. The surrounding tissues become irritated and, over time, may start to develop scar tissue and adhesions. Endometriosis can make it extremely difficult for a woman to become pregnant.
Symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, pain during bowel movements or urination (especially during your period), pain with intercourse, heavy bleeding during your period, bleeding between your periods, infertility, and fatigue.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that can affect a woman’s appearance, ability to conceive, hormones, heart, menstrual cycle, and blood vessels. At least 1 in every 20 women of childbearing age has PCOS, and as many as 5 million women in the United States may be affected. Women who have PCOS typically have small cysts in their ovaries, high levels of androgen, and irregular periods. The cause of PCOS is unknown. Many women with PCOS do not produce insulin correctly. Because of this, women with PCOS may have an excess amount of insulin, which is thought to lead to the production of androgen. High levels of androgen can cause weight gain, excessive hair growth, acne, and ovulation problems.
Other symptoms of PCOS include sleep apnea, depression, anxiety, skin tags, male-pattern baldness, excessive hair growth (on the body and face), brown patches on the skin, irregular or missing periods, pelvic pain, and heavy periods.
Ovulation is often taken for granted until you have been trying to conceive without success. The body must go through a complex process in order to ovulate. The first step takes place when a mature ovarian follicle releases an egg. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube and waits to be fertilized. If sperm are waiting for the egg, a pregnancy may be achieved. Unfortunately, many factors can prevent ovulation from occurring. Irregular or absent periods are signs of an ovulation problem and greatly affect your chances of becoming pregnant.
Blocked Fallopian Tubes
As stated above, in order for a woman to conceive, the egg must travel down the fallopian tube. If the fallopian tube is blocked, the egg cannot reach the sperm. A blocked fallopian tube may also prevent a fertilized egg from reaching the uterus. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms of a blocked fallopian tube. For our patients with blocked fallopian tubes in Los Angeles, in vitro fertilization may be recommended.
Contact The Center for Fertility and Gynecology
While the causes, symptoms, and reality of infertility can be painful, there is hope. For information about treating female infertility, please contact The Center for Fertility and Gynecology today.