If you’ve been having problems with conceiving children, you’re far from alone. In the U.S., 1 in 8 couples (or 6.7 million people annually) deal with problems trying to have children. After a year of not being able to conceive this is referred to as infertility, and it can happen for a variety of reasons in both men and women. Infertility can be frustrating, but in many cases effective treatments are available to help people have children. So, what increases the risks for becoming infertile, and what can be done to reduce the risk? What conditions can cause infertility? Let’s explore the causes and risks of infertility, and how it can be treated.
If you live in the Fort Lauderdale, Pompano Beach, or Greater South Florida areas and you have problems with having children, Drs. Craig Herman, Steven Kester, and the Urology Center of Florida can help with many of the conditions that can lead to infertility.
Causes of infertility
There are two types of infertility. Primary infertility is where a couple who’s never had a pregnancy cannot conceive after one year of avoiding birth control. Secondary infertility is when a couple with at least one successful pregnancy can’t conceive.
Both male and female partners can have reproductive issues that result in infertility. Here are some common causes that can result in infertility for men and women.
Conditions that can affect the male reproductive organs include enlarged veins in the scrotum (varicocele), low sperm count, low testosterone (hypogonadism), premature ejaculation, injury to the scrotum, and testicular cancer.
Many different conditions can affect female reproduction, such as abnormal menstruation, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, uterine polyps, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), celiac disease, Cushing’s Syndrome, and thyroid disease.
If you are having trouble conceiving with your partner, it’s important that each of you sees a reproductive health specialist to rule out all possible causes.
Common risk factors
Certain risk factors can contribute to infertility for both men and women, including:
- age (35 for women and 40 for men)
- alcohol abuse
- eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia)
- sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
- substance abuse
- weight problems (being over or underweight)
Environmental factors can also contribute to risks of infertility, such as leads and pesticides, and radiation therapy can also increase your chances of not having kids.
You can manage many of the risk factors by not smoking, reducing alcohol, avoiding high temperatures in hot tubs and baths (which can reduce sperm production), avoiding environmental toxins, limiting medications that affect fertility, and engaging in moderate regular exercise.
Depending on the cause of your fertility issues, your doctor can help you and your partner find the solution that’s right for you:
Medications are available to improve sperm count and increase testicular function, and hormone treatments can help to correct hormone levels. Sperm retrieval is an option when there is no sperm present in the ejaculated fluid, or if ejaculating is a problem. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to reverse blockage or repair a varicocele.
Fertility medications are available for women dealing with ovulation disorders, and intrauterine insemination (IUI) can be used to insert sperm in the ovary when the ovaries need to be fertilized. Surgery can also be used to remove uterine fibroids, pelvic adhesions, and endometriosis.
If you and your partner are having trouble conceiving a child, there are options available that can be tailored to the underlying cause. Make an appointment with Drs. Herman, Kester, and the Urology Center of Florida today to get a diagnosis and treatment for interfility.