Women’s Health A-Z
When you’re ready to have a baby, it can be incredibly frustrating to struggle to get pregnant. Infertility is given as a diagnosis after a couple is unsuccessful in getting pregnant after a full year of trying. Testing and/or treatment generally begins after a year of trying, but your doctor may want to start earlier if you are over the age of 35 or have other risk factors.
Causes of Infertility
While your partner may be the cause of your difficulty in getting pregnant, here are some of the conditions that cause female infertility:
- You are not ovulating regularly or you aren’t ovulating at all. Several conditions can cause this to happen including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), premature ovarian insufficiency, and hormonal imbalances that disrupt ovulation. Weight gain or loss, stress, medication, or problems with your pituitary gland can cause hormonal imbalances that affect your ability to conceive.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease, surgery, infection, polyps or tumors, or endometriosis can cause damage and/or blockages in your fallopian tubes.
- Implantation cannot occur. Sometimes abnormalities in your uterus or cervix prevent implantation from occurring. These abnormalities may include fibroids or tumors, endometriosis, or an abnormally shaped uterus.
- Sometimes your provider may not be able to determine the cause. This doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant, however, and you should still speak with your physician about treatment options.
Your provider will generally give you a diagnosis after you try to get pregnant for a year and don’t succeed. Diagnosing the underlying condition that is causing your infertility is important in determining what types of treatment you may need. To get a diagnosis for the condition that is causing your infertility, your doctor may perform ovulation testing, hormonal testing, or use ultrasound or other imaging to look at your fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.
Treatment depends on the cause. Your doctor may prescribe medications that stimulate ovulation. They may also determine that you need surgery to correct abnormalities or fix damage or unblock fallopian tubes. IVF (in vitro fertilization) or IUI (intrauterine insemination) may also be used. While VPFW does not specialize in infertility, your VPFW provider can help with basic assessment and treatment and point you in the direction of a specialist for additional help.