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Physical Factors that Affect Female Fertility

Fertility can be affected by several factors, most of which are easily treatable. Fertility issues could be a result of infections, diseases, inflammations, and physical abnormalities. Each individual will have a separate cause and even a small issue can prevent you from getting pregnant.

5 Major Factors Affecting Fertility in Women

As you can see in the image above, the female reproductive system has 5 major parts. Issues arising in these parts can cause problems in successful conception. We will discuss their major roles and the issues that may arise in these parts.

Ovarian Factors

The process of conception starts from the ovaries. Your ovaries produce the hormones that facilitate egg production, growth, and ovulation. Your hormonal cycles are also regulated by your ovaries. Any problem in the ovaries can create hurdles in conception.

Women usually face 5 major issues regarding their ovaries:

1. PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome): This is one of the most common problems women face these days. Data suggests that around 6 out of 10 women suffer from PCOS. PCOS leads to cysts in the ovaries and affects egg growth, development, and ovulation. Hence, if you suffer from PCOS, your period cycle will get affected, and conception can become difficult. However, PCOS is completely curable with Ayurveda and some diet and lifestyle modifications.

2. Cysts: The ovaries can have different types of cysts like hemorrhagic, dermoid, and chocolate cysts. These are fluid-filled sacs and largely asymptomatic. However, that doesn’t mean they don’t cause harm. They hamper egg growth and development, affecting timely ovulation and your period cycles. Any kind of cysts in the ovaries will obstruct natural conception.

3. Egg Developmental Issues: Not just the formation of the eggs but even their quality and optimum growth are important factors in conception. However, these can get affected for various reasons. Hormonal imbalance and PCOS are usually the major culprits. It is very important to know if your egg growth and development are healthy.

4. Ovulation Problems: Ovulation is the most important step at the beginning of conception. It is the process of the ovaries releasing the egg. However, ovulation can get affected by several factors like PCOS, endometriosis, excess weight, endocrine disorders, and sleep disruptions. It is crucial to track your ovulation regularly to find irregularities. If ovulation is not taking place for any reason, chances of conception will be compromised anyway.

5. Low AMH(Anti-Mullerian Hormone): This hormone corresponds to a woman’s egg count. If someone has very low AMH, that individual will face difficulties in conception. Another thing to remember when it comes to AMH is that this number cannot be changed, no matter what medication or process you apply. All women are born with a number of eggs in their ovaries and that number stays the same throughout their life. The good news is that with Ayurveda, even if your AMH is low, there is a good chance that you can conceive naturally.

Tubal Factors

The fallopian tube is another crucial organ for successful conception. It is the transit passage of the egg from the ovaries to the uterus. The actual fertilisation of the egg takes place in the fallopian tube itself. Here, the egg and the sperm meet. The egg stays in the fallopian tube for around 5 days. This is the real window of conception. A smooth and healthy passage through the fallopian tube is helpful in successful conception.

However, two major issues that are observed concerning the fallopian tube are:

1. Tubal Blockage: Tubal blockage is a major cause of reduced fertility among women. If a tube is blocked, it will act as a barrier between egg release and sperm penetration. Women have two fallopian tubes, hence women with only one blocked tube still have a 50% chance of natural conception. Unfortunately, natural conception might not be possible for women with both tubes blocked. They will need the help of IUI or IVF to get pregnant.

2. Infection in the Tube: Infections in the tubes are common and treatable. However, if left ignored, they can prevent successful conception. Infections create problems while the egg passes through the tube. It can deteriorate the egg’s health or even deactivate the egg. Infection in the tube can also affect sperm health.

Uterine Factors

The uterus is the womb. It is the actual place where the foetus germinates, develops, and grows. It harbours the foetus in its most vulnerable state. It provides the required nutrition and conditioning to the foetus. If the uterine factors are unfavorable or the uterus isn’t receptive, the chances of unfortunate miscarriages can increase significantly.

4 major uterine factors in the way of a successful pregnancy are:

1. Fibroids: Fibroids are non-cancerous muscle and connective tissue growth on the walls of the uterus. These fibroids affect the shape of the uterus. They can cause swelling and implantation issues of the egg. If there are fibroids, the egg will have less space to plant itself. It will decrease the chances of a successful pregnancy.

2. Endometrial Related Issues: The endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus. This layer helps in implantation and preparation of the pregnancy. Hence, the health of this lining is very important.

  • Infection: Infections in the endometrium lining can occur. Such infections can cause implantation problems. Often they also lead to implantation rejection. When a fertilised egg reaches the uterus, it gets rejected, leading to a failed pregnancy.
  • Thickness: Ideally, the thickness of the endometrial layer should be around 7 mm. The excess thickness of this layer prevents conception.

Receptivity and Quality: It is important for the endometrium to be receptive and of good quality. Usually, hormonal imbalance in a woman’s body can make the endometrium layer unreceptive. A healthy endometrium attracts the embryo. It helps in easy plantation of the embryo and its proper nutrition. The chances of miscarriages after successful implantation also come down if the quality of endometrium is good. You must ensure a good hormonal balance to keep the endometrium layer healthy and receptive.

3. Endometriosis: In this disorder, the inner lining starts growing in the musculature or outside the uterus. It causes a lot of swelling in the inner lining of the uterus, where the implantation has to occur. That’s why it is difficult to conceive in endometriosis.

4. Structural Abnormalities: A uterus can have several abnormalities like a T-shape or diadelphous, unicornuate, or bicornuate. These are congenital defects that may prevent conception. Some structural abnormalities can be corrected with surgeries. However, structural abnormalities always increase the risk of miscarriages.

Cervical Factors

Cervix is a small and narrow tube at the lower end of the uterus connecting the vagina. The sperm faces its first struggle in entering the narrow cervical canal. Infections and structural issues in the cervix can also lead to conception issues.

1. Infection: If there is an infection in the cervix, the sperm will die there itself and will not be able to move ahead. That’s why keeping the cervix infection free is crucial for better chances of conception.

2. Pinhole Cervical OS: Some women have a very contracted cervix. It isn’t wide enough to allow easy penetration of the sperm. The opening is just a pinhole wide.

3. Position: In some women, the cervical position is so posterior that it doesn’t allow easy semen penetration. This can also lead to problems during the delivery of the child.

4. Cervical Mucus Quality: The cervix has mucus in it. The quality of this mucus can determine the survival of the semen ahead. If the quality of the mucus is poor, the semen will not be able to travel ahead. Hormonal balance has a crucial role to play here. Hormonal imbalance can make the cervical mucus toxic for the sperm to travel ahead.

Vaginal Factors

The vagina is the entry point of the sperm in the reproductive system. Good vaginal health is crucial for the safe passage of sperm to the next level. Infections and pH imbalances in the vagina can be the major issues that might pose some trouble for you. However, these issues can be dealt with easily.

Infections: White discharge and infections are pretty common in women. These can lead to excessive itchiness and discomfort. If the infection is not addressed on time, it can also spread to the fallopian tube and cause fertility issues.

pH balance: If the vaginal pH is not maintained, the sperms will face several issues in moving ahead. Their motility might get affected. This means that their speed will come down, and they will not be able to cross the barriers to fertilise the egg successfully. Usually, hormonal imbalances are responsible for pH imbalances.

5 Major Factors Affecting Fertility in Men

Men are usually the harder nut to crack when addressing fertility issues. Although generalisation isn’t good, the male ego prohibits men from getting tested and addressing the problem.

However, it is important to understand that most fertility issues in men can be resolved easily through some medication and diet and lifestyle modifications. Therefore, even if an individual suffers from some factors that may have compromised their fertility, it doesn’t make them any less masculine. Moreover, all such issues can be easily resolved if correct treatment is sought.

The 5 Most common factors leading to reduced male fertility are:

Erectile Dysfunction: It is one of the most common sexual disorders in men all across the globe. Men can have erectile dysfunction due to several reasons. However, it is important to understand that it is usually a treatable condition. Such men usually produce potent sperm, but due to erectile dysfunction, they cannot place it deep enough in the vaginal tract. Ayurveda has some tremendous solutions for resolving erectile dysfunction issues in men.

Premature Ejaculation: This is another most common sexual disorder in men. Premature ejaculation also isn’t directly associated with the health of the sperm. It is more of a physiological and psychological barrier leading to early ejaculation. Due to this, the sperm isn’t placed deep enough or at the right time to facilitate a faster journey inside a woman’s reproductive canal. Even this problem can be easily solved with the right treatment and approach.

Low Sperm Count: There should be a minimum of 15 million sperms in 1 ml semen. However, the average sperm count for 1 ml sperm is around 75 million. Low sperm count means there will be fewer sperm to race towards the egg. Hence, the chances of fertilisation will also get reduced. This can be a major cause of lowered fertility in men.

Interestingly, men may not even realise that they have this problem because it can only be counted under a microscope. That means a sexually active man can also have a low sperm count. Thankfully, this is also a treatable condition.

Motility: Sperm motility is its progression speed. After ejaculation, the sperm travels a long and treacherous path. Every sperm competes against each other, time, and the natural forces in the reproductive canal to reach the egg and fertilise it. Progression speed is a great boost under such circumstances. Hence, sperm motility is an important factor in male fertility. Several factors like infections, injuries, and existing medication can affect sperm motility in a man. There are ways to counter these problems.

Abnormal Sperm: The shape, size, and structure of the sperm are crucial factors in ensuring fertility. If the shape and size of the sperm is abnormal, it might become harder for the sperm to fertilise the egg. Several studies have shown that lifestyle and diet modifications can tremendously improve the shape and size of the sperm. Leaving tobacco, alcohol and recreational drugs has a very positive impact. Addressing obesity is also a right step in this direction.

Key Learning

Knowledge is crucial. It gives you the power to make the right decisions regarding your health. Most people are unaware of the important factors preventing fertility. Hence, they become vulnerable. You must understand all the factors that may be coming in the way of your natural conception. Addressing the core issues is always more efficient and effective.

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