According to the CDC, roughly 19% of women aged 15 to 49 are considered infertile or unable to get pregnant. Infertility is defined as an inability to conceive or get pregnant after one year of frequent unprotected sex. While the exact cause of female infertility can be difficult to diagnose, there are some common causes that are known in the medical field. This article will break down some of the leading causes of infertility in women.
Failure to Ovulate – this is the most common cause of female infertility, occurring in 40% of women with infertility issues. Failure to ovulate can occur for a number of reasons, among them age, diet, low body fat related to intense exercise, and/or ovulation disorders.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – This is the most common ovulation disorder known to cause infertility, affecting 5-10% of females. It leads to a hormonal imbalance which interferes with a woman’s ability to ovulate regularly.
Primary Ovary Insufficiency (POI) – This is a condition that occurs when a woman’s ovaries stop producing eggs at a young age. Women with POI typically have irregular ovulation, and in some cases will not ovulate at all.
Functional Hypothalamic Amenorrhea (FHA) – This is a condition caused by excessive weight loss due to either stress, exercise, and/or eating disorders. It affects the pituitary gland and can disrupt the body’s hormonal balance and ovulation cycle.
Damage to Fallopian Tubes – Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes is a common cause of female infertility. It can be caused by inflammation in the pelvis, uterine fibroids, polyps, scarring of reproductive tissue, an unusually shaped uterus, or endometriosis.
It’s important to understand that your ovulation cycle is one of the most important factors in your ability to get pregnant. Anything that causes irregularities or disruptions in your normal cycle, your hormone production, and/or your reproductive health could be a factor in infertility.
The best way to promote a normal cycle is by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing stress, and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and other drugs. Consult with your doctor if you’re experiencing irregular ovulation cycles and you’re trying to become pregnant. There are also pregnancy support groups that are full of women who have experienced and overcome infertility.