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Infertility is the inability of a sexually active couple, not using any birth control, to get pregnant after one year of trying. About 60% of infertility cases are attributed to the female, and 40% are due to male infertility.
For pregnancy to occur, several things have to happen: An egg must develop in the woman’s ovary. The ovary must release an egg each month (ovulation). The egg must then be picked up by one of the fallopian tubes. A man’s sperm must travel through the uterus to the fallopian tube to meet and fertilize the egg. The fertilized egg must travel through the fallopian tube and implant in the lining of the uterus. If any of these events does not happen or is disrupted, infertility will result.
About 25% of women with infertility have infrequent or absent ovulation. These women usually have irregular periods or no periods at all. Ovulation can be disrupted by changes in the way certain hormones are released from the pituitary gland, specifically FSH and LH, which signal an egg to develop and be released from the ovary. Other hormonal conditions that interfere with ovulation or affect fertility are: PCOS, Thyroid dysfunction, Diabetes, Early menopause, Cushing’s Disease.
A woman’s ability to get pregnant can also be affected by her age, since the number and quality of her eggs gradually decreases beginning in the mid 30’s. Other factors include: problems with the reproductive tract, like blocked or damages fallopian tubes, scarring of the uterine lining, polyps, or fibroids in the uterus, and endometriosis. STD’s that can cause tubal blockages are smoking, drinking alcohol, certain medications such as antidepressants, tranquilizers, calcium channel blockers, and narcotics. Finally, certain chronic medical conditions like kidney disease, liver disease, sickle cell disease, and Hepatitis B or C.
Treatment of infertility depends on the cause and your age. It falls into 2 main categories: one helps fertility through medications or surgery, and the other uses assisted reproductive technologies.
Dr. Nicholas Kaloudis is a highly regarded, board certified endocrinologist. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and owner of EndoHealthMD, in Manhasset, NY. His center provides comprehensive specialty care using current evidence-based practices, and the latest advances in medical aesthetics. He holds an appointment as Associate Clinical Professor at North Shore University in Manhasset. He has received numerous awards, and he has published articles in the field of Endocrinology.
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