Navigating Infertility: Causes, Testing, and Treatment Options
Infertility is a condition when a woman is unable to get pregnant even after trying for longer than a year. If that happens, you consult with your OBGYN to determine the causes and treatments of your infertility. There's a certain biological clock for a woman to conceive, and there are multiple treatments, including infertility counseling for this problem.
Investigation Of Infertility In Male And Female
For doctors to analyze and determine the cause of infertility in both males and females, they need to investigate individually. They also recommend getting an infertility consultation to understand this scenario. Only after doing this can they come up with infertility natural treatment options. Here's a general overview of what you can expect from your healthcare professional to ask you:
The first step is to ask the female about their medical history, menstrual cycle, past pregnancies or miscarriages, etc. Your doctor may also perform a physical test to check your hormonal imbalance.
Lack of ovulation can also be one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Your OBGYN has tools like basal body temperature charts to determine your ovulation. They can also examine it from your blood test.
Hormone levels in the blood can be measured, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol, and thyroid hormones. Hormone imbalances might signal difficulties with the reproductive system.
There's this minor yet very effective procedure of hysteroscopy or laparoscopy, which allows the doctor to directly analyze your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes for conditions like endometriosis, one of the main causes of infertility in women.
The first step is the same for both males and females: taking their medical history. Given that your doctor doesn't know you personally, they wouldn't know how your past medical experiences affect your fertility now. This also helps them determine any underlying health condition.
Semen analysis is an important test for determining the amount and quality of sperm. Sperm count, motility, morphology, and volume are all assessed. Multiple tests may be necessary to provide a definitive diagnosis.
A doctor would also perform a hormone fertility test on you to check your testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which is a base of male fertility.
This imaging method can detect structural abnormalities within the testes or the existence of varicoceles, which are dilated veins in the scrotum.
One more analysis that is more important to determine an infertility cause is post-ejaculation urinalysis. It is to see if the sperm entering the bladder during ejaculation is affecting fertility.
Infertility Treatments For Females
Even if you or your partner is infertile, there are infertility treatments for males and females but just to talk about females, here are some of the Infertility treatment options:
Medications to Restore Fertility
Medications, also called fertility drugs, are one of the common fertility treatment options. It is used to stimulate ovulation in women. For those who don't know, infertility is mainly caused due to ovulation disorder. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure you're getting ovulated every month to conceive. Women who don't ovulate naturally can take these medications for stimulation. These medications work as natural hormones to release better eggs.
Surgery to Restore Fertility
There are medical procedures and surgeries to improve fertility in women. Even though medical science has evolved recently, bringing us so many prior treatments to treat infertility, surgeries have become rare now. However, there are 2 common surgeries for treating infertility which includes:
Laparoscopic or hysteroscopic surgery: Correction of uterine anatomical issues, removal of endometrial polyps and some types of fibroids that misshape the uterine chamber, or removal of pelvic or uterine adhesions are all possible surgical options. Your OBGYN would recommend laparoscopic surgery to remove adhesions when your fallopian tubes are filled with fluids or they are blocked. The main purpose of this surgery is to open up a new opening of your tube. But don't worry. The chances of your doctor recommending this surgery are less likely because the pregnancy rates are usually better with in vitro fertilization (IVF).
These are some of the treatment to get pregnant faster for women.
Diagnostic Test For Female Infertility
These are some of the common diagnostic tests for females:
Blood and urine tests to check hormone levels
Pap Smear to check the health of the cervix
Basal body temperature (BBT) determines if your ovaries are releasing the eggs or not. This can be taken in the morning before you leave the bed. See, when your ovaries release the eggs during ovulation, it raises your body temperature because of the hormone called progesterone. It remains the same until you get your period. Don't worry; some women don't even feel the rise in their body temperature. So, if your body temperature is normal like before during ovulation, there's a problem.
Endometrial Biop: Your doctor will take a small sample of your endometrium tissue and examine it under a microscope. This process is done when the results from your BBT aren't clear.
The post-coital test is also another important female fertility test to see how your partner's sperm interacts with your vagina. It can only be performed 12 hours after having intercourse during your fertile days.
Types of Infertility in Females
There are mainly 2 types of infertility in women: primary and secondary. Primary infertility is when a woman has never been pregnant, and she's unable to conceive at all. Secondary infertility is when a woman has been pregnant at least once.
PCOS Infertility Treatment
PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) can often lead to infertility, and treatment options are minimal. In this case, the woman has to adopt lifestyle changes like following a diet, increasing physical activities, and improving PCOS symptoms. If you have to go for medical help, there are drugs like clomiphene and letrozole that stimulate ovulation. If the medications don't work, hormonal injections induce ovulation in women. If nothing seems to work, you can also consider in vitro fertilization (IVF).
What is the first step in infertility testing?
Your OBGYN takes your medical history first and then performs a medical examination to determine your infertility. It's not easy to pinpoint the real cause of infertility in women, so it can take weeks for your doctor to find the actual cause behind it.
How can I test my fertility at home?
There are ovulation-predicting kits, at-home semen analysis, and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) tests that you can use to test your fertility at home without going to any hospital or clinic. They vary in pricing and accuracy, so check on at least 2 to find an accurate answer.
Is there a finger test for fertility?
Most mucus is produced just before and during ovulation. It's transparent and slippery, like raw egg whites, and can be stretched between your fingers. These "slippery days" are your fertile (risky) days when you will most likely become pregnant.
Can I check my fertility before marriage?
Fertility testing is critical for your and your partner's happiness if you plan on creating a family and having children.
Infertility is possible for many women as they age due to several causes and medical conditions. We hope this blog helped you navigate infertility, its causes, and treatment to make an informed decision for the purpose of conceiving a child.