Female sterility or female infertility, otherwise known as infecundity or Esterilidad Femenina in medical circles is more of a biological condition than a disease. In this condition, the female is unable to conceive due to a number of factors from malfunctioning of the genitals to inadequate structure of the sexual organs, hormonal imbalances, anovulation, infrequent intercourse and many other environmentally induced causes.
To understand female sterility, one must be conversant of all the biological processes leading up to pregnancy in a female. These are numerous and interrelated processes and a problem at any stage is likely to prevent pregnancy. Normally, a female ovulates a mature egg that will be fertilized by the sperm after intercourse to produce and embryo. The sperm has an arduous task of travelling up to the end of the fallopian tube where fertilization occurs. Obstacles, which could be immunological, chemical or physical, could prevent the sperm from reaching the ovum. Even after the egg has been fertilized into an embryo, it has to travel along the fallopian tube up to the uterus for implantation. In this journey, obstacles could also occur that will prevent successful implantation onto the endometrium which is the mucous membrane which lines the endometrium. Through this whole process, several problems that could arise leading to infertility are analysed. There are two types of infertility, generally speaking. One type affects women who lack an ovarian function and the other affects women with faulty or abnormal ovarian function.
Just like there is existence of chromosomal abnormalities, the ovaries of a woman may not be normal. Normal ovaries in a woman may stop functioning long before she hits menopause. The usual age for menopause is 45. If this occurs between ages 40 and 45 then it is premature menopause and if before 40 then it’s a case of premature ovarian failure. Some cancers may also require removal of ovaries (oophorectomy) or deactivation (radiation castration) in radiotherapy.
In the case of women with abnormally functioning ovary, there are a number of possibilities. First, the number of good quality oocytes may be exhausted (occult ovarian failure) and the woman will not respond well to infertility treatment. Another case is when the female does not ovulate properly due to hormonal imbalances a condition called polycystic syndrome. The woman stays for long without amenorrhea or menstruation as is the case in a hormonal disorder called hyperprolactinemia.
Causes of Female Sterility
Ovulatory disorders account for up to 40% of infertility in females. Good news is that up to 80% of these cases can be medically corrected by medical drugs like Menogan, Repronex and Clomiphene. The many causes of infertility are listed below:
- Hormonal problems. Ovulation as a female biological process depends on a complex balance of hormones failure to which the process fails. The number of ways this could occur are:
- Malfunctioning of the pituitary gland. Due to physical injury, chemical balance or tumors, this gland could fail to produce Follicle Stimulating Hormone and the Leautinizing hormones which are vital for ovulation.
- Malfunctioning of the hypothalamus. This portion of the brain is responsible for controlling the pituitary gland. Failure to send signals to trigger the ovulatory process has results in 15% of infertility cases.
- Production of immature eggs. This is common with polycystic ovary syndrome, hirsutism and amenorrhoea. Characterized by increased LH and reduced FSHY levels.
- Scarred ovaries. This could result from infections, physical damage and surgery. Though a single surgery for cysts that form in the ovary is not an infertility causing problem, it is multiple and extensive surgeries that leads to scarred ovaries.
- Premature menopause. Some women cease menstruation and begin menopause before normal age of 45. Though this condition is genetic, athletic ladies with a long history of extensive exercise and low body weight are the most common victims
Apart from the cases that cause ovulation failure of ovulation, other factors also cause poorly functioning fallopian tubes such as:
- Infections. These viral or bacterial infections cause inflammation, scarring and damage of fallopian tubes and are acquired sexually in most of the cases.
- Abdominal diseases. These include colitis, appendicitis and other diseases that cause inflammations in the abdominal cavity which block the fallopian tubes.
- Surgeries. Abdominal and pelvic surgeries can alter the tubes through adhesions causing blockade rendering them difficult for the eggs to travel through them.
- Ectopic pregnancy. When the egg is implanted in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, it has to be terminated lest it results in tubal damage and death of the female.
- Congenital defects. These are tubal irregularities from birth.
Other additional causes that can lead to infertility are endometriosis, abnormal uterus, fibroids, adenomysis and problems with cervical mucus. This affects less women but when it occurs chances of fecundity are quite rare. This is characterized by excessive and abnormal growth of the endometrium. Behavioral and environmental problems could also lead to female sterility such as
- Overweight, underweight for many years due to poor diet.
- Drug usage such as smoking and alcohol consumption (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome).
- Exposure to toxic chemical especially at hazardous workplaces. These chemicals include lead, repeated exposure to radiation in chemotherapy and x-rays, dibromochloropropanes from farming chemicals and ethylene oxide that is used in sterilization of surgical instruments.
Symptoms of Female Sterility
Female sterility is a possibility when a woman fails to conceive despite several attempts. Here are some the symptoms one might encounter:
- Vaginal discharges
- High temperatures and water brush
- Sexual dysfunctions
- Sexual dysfunctions and
- Genital infections.
Female Sterility Home Remedies
There are several remedies available for female sterility ranging from medical to home based therapies. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies and herbal remedies yourself! Here are some of the home remedies and herbal remedies that you can try.
- Red Clover Blossom- This is among the herbs that have been revered for their ability to transform infertility to fertility among sterile women. It is highly rich in proteins, which are needed by the uterus in order for a woman to conceive. In addition, it is also rich in calcium and magnesium, which in return helps in the relaxation of the nervous system, thus promoting fertility.
- Flaxseed oil- This herb is not only good for sterile women, but also the ideal herb for remedying impotence in men. It is rich in many elements such as potassium, lecithin and magnesium. In sterile women, this herb has the ability to improve uterine functions hence treating the infertility in women. In addition, flaxseed oil is key in promoting fertility in both men and women.
- Primrose Oil- Commonly referred to as evening primrose oil, primrose oil has been rated among the most effective herbal remedies to female sterility. It is revered for its effectiveness in creating healthy cervical mucus, which is a prerequisite to fertility. In addition, it is highly rich in vitamin E and other nutrients that boost fertility in women.
- Dong Quai- This is an Asian herb that is used for remedying female sterility among the Asian women. It has for long been used for boosting the health reproductive systems in women. It also helps in regulating monthly cycles; alongside boosting fertility in women. In addition, it helps in healing infections that are found on the fallopian tube and which are among the cause of female sterility.
- Maca Root- Maca root is herb that grows in harsh climatic conditions in Peru. It has used for boosting energy and vitality in both men and women. It also promotes fertility in women, by balancing their reproductive hormones. In addition, it can be used alongside other types of herbs to for curbing infertility in both men and women. It has no scientifically proven side effects.
Diet for Female Sterility
Chances of female infertility can easily be reduced by maintaining a healthy dietary lifestyle and concentrating on consumption of foods rich in iron. Avoidance of trans fats is also critical. The five main fertility boosting foods for women are:
- Plant proteins
- Whole grains
- Full fat dairy products
- Fresh vegetables and
- Monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, omega-3 fatty acids and other right fats.
Prevention of Female Sterility
There are three main interventions that can be undertaken to prevent female sterility.
- Maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. This means eating right with plenty of fruits, vegetables and folates on the menu. Avoid dangerous habits like smoking, drunkenness, excessive caffeine, drugs, smoking and exercise.
- Treatment of threat diseases. Majority of these diseases are sexually transmitted. Others are diabetes, hypothyroidism and cancers that mainly affect females. Regular inspection, physical examinations and pap smears for female trying to get pregnant.
- Deliberately taking steps not to delay parenthood. Fertility starts declining after age 27 and drops significantly after age 36. Women who their mothers particularly had problems conceiving should be worry of premature menopause and begin parenthood quite early.
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