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Inability to conceive; Unable to get pregnant
Infertility means you cannot make a baby (conceive).
Infertility is grouped into two categories:
- Primary infertility refers to couples who have not become pregnant after at least 1 year of unprotected sex (intercourse).
- Secondary infertility refers to couples who have been pregnant at least once, but never again.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
A wide range of physical and emotional factors can cause infertility. Infertility may be due to problems in the woman, man, or both.
Female infertility may occur when:
- A fertilized egg or embryo does not survive once it sticks to the lining of the womb (uterus)
- The fertilized egg does not attach to the lining of the uterus
- The eggs cannot move from the ovaries to the womb
- The ovaries have problems producing eggs
Female infertility may be caused by:
- Uterine or Vaginal mucus may be too thick for the sperm to reach the egg
- Autoimmune disorders, such as antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)
- Cancer or tumor
- Clotting disorders
- Growths (such as fibroids or polyps) in the uterus and cervix
- Birth defects that affect the reproductive tract
- Excessive exercising
- Eating disorders or poor nutrition
- Use of certain medications, including chemotherapy drugs
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Older age
- Ovarian cysts and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Pelvic infection or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Scarring from sexually transmitted infection or endometriosis
- Surgery to prevent pregnancy (tubal ligation) or failure of tubal ligation reversal
- Thyroid disease
- Too little or too much of certain hormones
Male infertility may be due to:
- A decrease in sperm count
- Sperm being blocked from being released
- Sperm that do not work properly
Male infertility can be caused by:
- Environmental pollutants
- Being in high heat for prolonged periods
- Birth defects
- Heavy use of alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine
- Too little or too much hormones
- Older age
- Cancer treatments, including chemotherapy and radiation
- Scarring from sexually transmitted diseases, injury, or surgery
- Surgery to prevent pregnancy (vasectomy), or failure of vasectomy reversal
- Retrograde ejaculation
- Use of certain drugs, such as cimetidine, spironolactone, and nitrofurantoin
In healthy couples under age 30 who have sex regularly, the chance of getting pregnant is about 25 - 30% per month.
A woman's peak fertility occurs in her early 20s. After age 35 (and especially 40), the chances that a woman can get pregnant drops considerably. And it is not uncommon that a woman can get pregnant well into her 40s. If you are healthy and take good care of yourself, being in your late 30s or 40s is not a reason for having difficulty conceiving.
The main symptom of infertility is the inability to become pregnant. Specific symptoms depend on what is causing the infertility.
Infertility can cause many painful emotions in one or both partners.
Signs and tests
When you should seek treatment for infertility depends on your age. It is recommended that women under 30 should generally try to get pregnant on their own for 1 year before seeking testing.
Infertility testing involves a complete medical history and physical examination of both partners.
Blood and imaging tests will be done. In women, this may include:
- A routine gynecological exam to check for excess or thick mucus
- Blood tests to check hormone levels, including progesterone and follicle stimulating hormone
- Checking body temperature first thing in the morning to check if the ovaries are releasing eggs
- FSH and clomid challenge test
- Hysterosalpingography (HSG)
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Luteinizing hormone urine test (ovulation prediction)
- Thyroid function tests
Tests in men may include:
- Sperm testing
- Testicular biopsy (rarely done)
Treatment depends on the cause of infertility. It may involve:
- Working with a Holistic Chiropractor
- Education and counseling
- Fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Medicines to treat infections and clotting disorders
- Medicines that help the woman grow and release eggs from the ovaries
It is important to recognize and discuss the emotional impact that infertility has on you and your partner, and to seek health advice from your health care provider.
You can increase your chances of becoming pregnant each month by having sex at least every 3 days before and during ovulation. It is especially important to do so before ovulation occurs. Sperm can live inside a woman's body for at least 3 days. However, a woman's egg can only be fertilized by the sperm for a few hours after it is released.
Ovulation occurs about 2 weeks before the next menstrual cycle (period) starts. If a woman gets her period every 28 days, the couple should have sex at least every 3 days between the 10th and 18th day after the period starts.
As many as 1 in 5 couples diagnosed with infertility eventually become pregnant without treatment.
Working with a Holistic Chiropractor who can help you understand the underlying reason for your difficulty becoming pregnant is warranted. Using a well-rounded, multifaceted approach to address all the underlying causes for your difficulties would be a first choice before resorting to medical intervention. Understanding what is involved and the time commitment necessary is important before beginning this type of care.
Many couples have been successful in conceiving after working with an Acupuncturist, Homeopath or Naturopath.
More than half of couples with infertility become pregnant after treatment, not including advanced techniques such as in vitro fertiliziation (IVF).
Infertility can have a big emotional impact on you and your partner.
Depression, anxiety, and marriage problems may occur.
Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you are unable to get pregnant.
Preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, may reduce your risk of infertility.
Maintaining a healthy diet, weight, and lifestyle may increase your chances for getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.
Take a whole food prenatal or multivitamin containing folic acid before and during pregnancy. This lowers your risk for miscarriage and developmental problems in the baby.
To request an Action Plan to address Infertility Click Here
- Rebar RW, Erickson GF. Reproductive endocrinology and infertility In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 244.
- Lobo RA. Infertility: etiology, diagnostic evaluation,management, prognosis. In: Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007: chap 41.
- Bulun SE. Physiologyand pathology of the female reproductive axis. In: Melmed S, Polonsky KS, Larsen PR, Kronenberg HM, eds. Williams Textbook of Endocrinology. 12th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 17.
Dr. Huntoon has a single mission:
To support as many people as possible in their quest for health and enable them to improve and maintain their health to the highest level possible, while educating them about the benefits of Chiropractic, Natural Healthcare and Holistic Living, so they in turn can teach others to support us having a healthy community.
Health concerns are a major source of lost happiness and lost joy in all of our lives. Finding a solution that is agreeable and enables you to get back to your life is important. Please appreciate that you always have the more invasive surgery and prescription medication available to you as a last resort. What many Traditional Medical Doctors may not share is, many times, once you begin that journey into medication and/or surgery, it alters your original body from the one that you were born with. Unfortunately, at that time, more conservative and natural treatments may no longer be viable. I encourage you to consider that before making any decisions about treatment for your health. As always I am here to help.
- Continue doing the same thing and nothing changes or it may get worse
- Try something different and get a different result that makes you happier and healthier.
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