‘Lifestyle issues, PCOD and endometriosis are most common causes of infertility among women’

Dear couples,

Getting pregnant, carrying the pregnancy to term and giving birth to a healthy baby is a complicated procedure. With women climbing up the professional ladder and becoming an equal part of the workforce, getting married and starting a family are often delayed.

This factor has had an immediate impact on increase in infertility cases in the country. If a couple is unable to conceive even after one year of trying without any protection, it is defined as infertility by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The causes for infertility in women are many – they range from lifestyle causes like age, stress, obesity and exposure to radiation from mobile phones and laptops to biological reasons like ovulation issues, hormonal imbalances or endometriosis. Though treatable, the cause for infertility in women can be tough to diagnose.

A woman’s ability to conceive starts reducing after she turns 35 years of age. Many women now marry in their 30s and want to start a family a few years later. However, by this time the quality of eggs produced by the ovaries has already affected. There is another aspect to age, which also needs to be looked at. This is the ovarian or sexual age, which is often the cause for premature ovarian failure.

About one-fourth cases of infertility in women are attributed to ovulation disorders, including Poly-cystic ovarian disease (PCOD). These can be triggered by stress, unhealthy eating habits, obesity, exposure to radiations from mobile phones or laptops or even BPA commonly found in household plasticware or non-stick pans. Women who have erratic periods are more likely to have trouble conceiving naturally.

Yet another common cause is endometriosis, a medical condition where small cysts get created in the abdominal region – in the fallopian tubes, abdomen, pelvis or the ovaries – causing tubular blockage, problems in ovulation, disrupt implantation, and increase chances of abortion. Removing the growths using surgery can make way for a healthy pregnancy.

Implantation failures caused by an auto immune disease, SME, PCOD or fibroids is also very common.

At times, having multiple sexual partners often leads to infections. These can cause blockages in the fallopian tube (blocked fallopian tubes can prevent the sperm from travelling to the egg and then also the fertilized egg from going to the uterus for implantation). An infection can also be caused due to tuberculosis, which is very common in northern India.

This can also make the cervical mucus hostile which doesn’t allow pregnancy to happen. Cervical mucus is a fluid secreted by the cervix which allows sperms to survive in the acidic environment of the vagina, which is otherwise not conducive for it.

Maintaining the right Body Mass Index (BMI) is also imperative. Young couples don’t regularly have home cooked meals, consume junk food and are increasingly becoming overweight. Both, being very thin or obese adversely affect ovulation in women and obesity also causes problems in sexual function. Experts have seen than even a 10% reduction in body weight can work wonders for ovulation.

While most of the biological causes of infertility can be treated with medical intervention, making changes to your lifestyle like a healthy diet; regular exercise and yoga; consuming less junk food, giving up smoking and reducing drinking can help increase your chances of conception.

Yours truly,

Dr Rajul Tyagi

Dr. Tyagi is an Infertility consultant and Director, Javitri Hospital, Lucknow.

You can get more information on infertility and IVF by clicking on our site or log on to www.parentsoffertility.com

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