Diagnosing Female Infertility: Causes and Risk Factors

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Update Date 05/07/2020 . 3 mins read
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Infertility is the inability of a couple to conceive a child after numerous attempts in the span of a year. When it comes to how to check for infertility in women, the first step is considering a woman’s holistic health and medical history. 

For women, infertility primarily stems from their inability to produce eggs that are adequate for conception. Here are some ways on how to check for infertility. 

For a woman to get pregnant, a series of steps needs to happen: 

  1. A woman must ovulate. Her ovaries must produce and release a mature egg.
  2. The egg needs to go through the fallopian tube to the uterus. 
  3. A sperm needs to meet the egg and fertilize it. 
  4. The fertilized egg needs to attach itself to the uterus (implantation). 

A problem that occurs in any of these steps may be the cause for a woman’s infertility.

Many factors may cause infertility in women.

Tracing the Cause of Conception Problems

Evaluate your health and consult your doctor for any of the following conditions: 

  • Ovulation disorders
  • Fallopian tube damage (tubal infertility)
  • Endometriosis (tissue normally found in your uterus grows in other areas) 
  • Uterine or cervical causes
  • Irregular or no menstruation
  • Very painful periods
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (that may be caused by STDs)
  • More than one miscarriage

There are cases where the direct cause of infertility may not be uncovered. This is so, even if the procedures for how to check for infertility are followed.

Risk factors of infertility

Certain factors may lead to a higher probability of infertility. These include

  • Age
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Alcohol
  • STIs (sexually transmitted infections)

All these, as with any condition, greatly affect one’s overall health. 

Recent studies found that around 1 out of 10 Filipino couples will deal with infertility. While rare, it is important to consult your doctor. Learn how to check for infertility and what treatments and therapies can be done to boost your chances of conception. 

When should I see a doctor?

If you have been trying and failing to conceive within 12 months, consult your doctor. Women who are above the age of 35 may want to discuss with their doctor the probability and the risks of getting pregnant. 

How to check for infertility

When considering how to check for infertility, your doctor may decide to do an infertility check-up. This may include a physical test. It may also include a thorough review of your family and health history.

For women, these questions mostly involve how regularly she ovulates. The doctor will keep track of these findings. 

Doctors will usually need to do more tests to find out if a woman is infertile or not.

Here are some possible tests that will help check for infertility:

Ovulation testing

Ovulation testing is a simple blood test that checks whether a woman is ovulating or not.

Hysterosalpingography

Hysterosalpingography is another common method on how to check for infertility. This checks the condition of the uterus and fallopian tubes. This test will try to find any blockages or complications that may cause infertility. The procedure entails an x-ray contrast to be injected into the womb. Then an x-ray of the womb is taken afterwards.

Ovarian reserve testing

A female’s supply of eggs is limited. Upon menstruation, a women loses about 1,000 (immature) eggs each month and this continues to decrease with age. This test measures the number of eggs that a female has for ovulation.

Other hormone tests

Hormone tests will check the level of ovulatory hormones and pituitary hormones that are crucial for the reproductive process. 

Imaging tests

Pelvic ultrasound is another scan used by doctors to check for infertility. The ultrasound will try and identify possible ovarian or uterine disease. A saline infusion sonogram is sometimes utilized so doctors are able to find issues that may not be found in normal ultrasounds.

Hysteroscopy

While a rare test that is used to check infertility, your doctor may recommend a hysteroscopy depending on your condition. The procedure will check for uterine disease through the use of a thin lighted device, which will be inserted into the cervix and uterus.

Laparoscopy

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The procedure will attempt to identify possible problems in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or uterus. Endometriosis may be diagnosed through this test.

It is important to take note that tests are not limited to those listed above. Additionally, it is possible that your doctor may recommend only one or some of these tests. It will depend largely on your doctor’s assessment.

Treatment

For many women and couples, infertility may cause them great distress. But there are ways to help boost chances of conception. As possible treatment(s) for your infertility, your doctor may recommend: 

  • Fertility drugs
  • Intrauterine insemination ( IUI )
  • Surgery

There are numerous options when it comes to how to check for infertility and how to address issues. With today’s advanced medical technology, women and couples can explore ways to boost fertility and conceive successfully. 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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