Women who struggle with infertility share the unique pain of wanting a baby badly and being disappointed again and again. Sophisticated fertility treatments do exist, but this doesn’t mean that the persistent inability to conceive doesn’t continue to affect over 6 million women.
Dr. Peter Khamvongsa and the team at the Miami Institute of Urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery have helped many women through their infertility journeys, to the happy ending they desire so much: a beautiful baby. He employs the most advanced diagnostic methods and treatments to support your fertility, and does so with great compassion.
Technically, clinicians consider a woman to be infertile if she has tried to get pregnant for a year, with no results. Another phenomenon that falls within the infertility spectrum is women who become pregnant but can’t sustain a viable pregnancy and have repeated miscarriages.
Primary causes of female infertility
The causes of infertility in women are often linked to:
1. Uterine issues: Small polyps, which are growths made of endometrial tissue that emerge on the inner wall of your uterus, are common contributors to infertility. The same can be said for uterine fibroids, which are composed of connective tissue and grow inside the uterus, into your uterine cavity, and within the uterine wall. Most polyps are noncancerous, while nearly all fibroids are.
Both conditions are common, but the challenge is that they often show no symptoms, so women don’t even know they have them.
Uterine adhesions are scar tissue bands that improperly connect organs or portions of organs. Certain health conditions, infections, and surgical procedures like hysterectomies and dilation and curettage (D&C) can cause them.
This scarring prevents pregnancy and causes a miscarriage by making it impossible for your uterus to support an embryo, preventing ovulation, and not allowing sperm and egg to unite.
2. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): This hormonal disorder is one of the most common causes of female infertility. Your pituitary gland makes two hormones that stimulate ovulation, and if there’s a deficit of them, ovulation won’t occur. PCOS can also make it difficult for an egg, if it is released, to develop properly.
3. Endometriosis: This condition contributes to infertility because it causes your uterine lining to grow in inappropriate places. When tissue growth involves your ovaries, you can’t ovulate. The effects of endometriosis can also damage sperm and eggs and disturb implantation.
If the condition causes adhesions that block your uterus and fallopian tubes, the sperm and egg can’t meet.
4. Fallopian tube problems: The fallopian tube issue that’s most often connected to female infertility is pelvic inflammatory disease, which is caused by infection — usually related to a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
If treated early, you’ll be fine, but if not, the condition leads to blocked fallopian tubes, ectopic pregnancy (when your egg implants itself outside of your uterus), and infertility.
5. Issues with eggs: SInce you’re born with all the eggs you’ll ever have, sometimes your supply is depleted too early, before you reach menopause. Some eggs are flawed and may have the incorrect number of chromosomes. These are less likely to be fertilized, and if they are, chances are very low that they will develop normally.
Age is another major factor that impacts the quality of your eggs. The older you are, the less integrity they have.
6. Ovulation obstacles: In certain instances, a woman may not ovulate routinely. Your ability to ovulate can be harmed if you ever misused substances, suffered from an eating disorder, or are undergoing intense stress. Thyroid problems and hormonal imbalances also contribute to less frequent and irregular ovulation.
Sometimes there’s no explanation for a woman’s infertility that can be found. This is termed “unexplained infertility.” Usually this stems from medical abnormalities or problems that both the man and woman have.
Help for female infertility
In order to pinpoint the factors contributing to your infertility, Dr. Khamvongsa digs deep to learn all he can about your family health history, your own medical history, and what’s going on in your body and with your cycle. He learns a lot through imaging and other tests, tracking your cycles, and other investigative measures.
He may advise certain lifestyle changes to increase the likelihood that you’ll conceive, like losing weight and stopping smoking. He also discusses various infertility treatments with you, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), when your eggs are fertilized in a lab and the embryo is implanted into your uterus, or artificial insemination, when sperm is injected into your uterus after you’ve ovulated.
Surgical solutions also exist if conditions inside your body are preventing pregnancy, while medications can address hormonal imbalances that cause ovulation problems.
Call our office to arrange a consultation with Dr. Khamvongsa if you’re worried about infertility, or request one online. We continue to practice appropriate COVID-19 protocols to ensure your safety.