INFERTILITY IN WOMEN

For so many people around the world, having and raising children are extremely important events in their lives. Infact, some people believe fulfilling the need for reproduction make them whole and complete.

According to recent studies by the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 8- 10% of couples are facing some kind of infertility problem. Globally, this means that 50-80 million people are facing this problem.

Infertility is defined as the inability to get pregnant after having unprotected sexual intercourse for at least one year, for women over 35 years old – six months. It also means the biological inability to contribute to conception and it affects one in six couples. Female infertility accounts for one third of all infertility cases.

CAUSES OF INFERTILITY IN WOMEN

According to a study carried out by the health science journal1, the most common cause of female infertility is problems in the fallopian tubes followed by unknown causes, disorders of menstruation and infertility due to problems in the uterus.

 

  1. Damage to the fallopian tubes and ovaries. This can be caused by one or more of the following
  • Abnormal cervical mucus: This can prevent the sperm from reaching the egg or make it more difficult for the sperm to penetrate the egg.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • A previous infection
  • Polyps in the uterus
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids
  • A birth Defect
  • Scar tissue or adhesions
  • Chronic medical illness
  • A previous ectopic pregnancy

 

  1. Ovulation Problems
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • A tumor or cyst
  • Extremely brief or nonexistent menstrual cycle

Age, alcohol or illicit use of drugs, obesity are factors that also contribute to infertility in women.

DIAGNOSIS OF FEMALE INFERTILITY

It is advised that you see your doctor if you’ve unsuccessfully been trying to conceive for six months, when you do this, a medical examination is carried out to determine what the cause(s) might be.

PREVENTION OF INFERTILITY IN WOMEN

When infertility is caused by genetic abnormalities, there is usually nothing that can be done to prevent it. Women can however advised to avoid illicit drugs & alcohol consumption and take steps to prevent sexually transmitted infections & diseases. They should also ensure to have annual medical checkups especially when sexually active.

TREATMENT OF INFERTILITY IN WOMEN

Fertility treatment significantly improve the chances of conception but varies from woman to woman.

Fertility drugs, hormone treatment and various assisted reproductive techniques like In vitro Fertilization (IVF) AND Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) have been employed in the treatment of infertility.

The course of treatment is usually however determined by the cause. – Some of the drugs prescribed are used to stimulate ovulation.

Reference

http://www.hsj.gr/medicine/causes-of-infertility-in-women-at-reproductive-age.pdf

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WORLD DIABETES DAY 2018

Every year, on the 14th of November, the world diabetes day is celebrated worldwide. The theme for this year’s world diabetes day is “The family and diabetes”.

The primary aim of the World Diabetes Day and World Diabetes Month 2018–19 campaign is to raise awareness of the impact that diabetes has on the family and to promote the role of the family in the management, care, prevention and education of the condition.

There are three main focus areas:

Discover diabetes
Prevent diabetes
Manage diabetes
Detecting diabetes early involves the family too

One in every two people with diabetes is undiagnosed. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to helping prevent or delay life-threatening complications. If type 1 diabetes is not detected early, it can lead to serious disability or death. Know the signs and symptoms to protect yourself and your family.

Preventing type 2 diabetes involves the family too
Many cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Reducing your family’s risk starts at home.

When a family eats healthy meals and exercises together, all family members benefit and encourage behaviours that could help prevent type 2 diabetes in the family.

If you have diabetes in your family, learn about the risks, the warning signs to look out for and what you can do to prevent diabetes and its complications.

Families need to live in an environment that supports healthy lifestyles and helps them to prevent type 2 diabetes.

Caring for my diabetes involves my family too

Managing diabetes requires daily treatment, regular monitoring, a healthy lifestyle and ongoing education. Family support is key. All health professionals should have the knowledge and skills to help individuals and families manage diabetes. Education and ongoing support should be accessible to all individuals and families to help manage diabetes. Essential diabetes medicines and care must be accessible and affordable for every family.

 

Culled from international diabetes federation

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WEIGHT AND FRTILITY

Welcome back, by now you should have read all we have previously discussed on fertility (insert links). You are also probably wondering what the correlation between weight and fertility is. Hang on, we will delve in to it just about now.

HOW DOES WEIGHT AFFECT FERTILITY IN WOMEN?

Many underweight, overweight and obese women have no problem getting pregnant but some might have problems conceiving, most often due to ovulation problems (failure to release eggs from the ovaries).

Body mass index for women

Being underweight often causes irregular menstrual cycles and may cause ovulation to stop altogether. Underweight women should work with their doctor to understand the cause of this situation, and develop strategies to correct it. Obesity may lead to irregular menstrual cycles and ovulation. However, obese women with normal cycles have a lower pregnancy rate than women with a normal weight, so ovulation is not the only issue. A visit to a health care professional before getting pregnant can help identify other disorders related to obesity that can impact pregnancy such as thyroid disease, insulin resistance and diabetes.

 

DOES OBESITY AFFECT THE CHANCE OF GETTING PREGNANT WITH TREATMENT AND HAVING A HEALTHY BABY?

There is good evidence that obesity lowers the success rate of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Studies have shown lower pregnancy rates in obese women; they are also at an increased risk for developing pregnancy induced (gestational) diabetes and high blood pressure (preeclampsia). Obese women have a higher chance of delivering their baby via Caesarean section. Children of obese mothers are at an increased risk of some birth defects and having a high birth weight.

IS OBESITY A FACTOR FOR MEN TOO?

Obesity in men may be associated with changes in testosterone levels and other hormones important for reproduction. Low sperm counts and low sperm motility (movement) have been found more often in overweight and obese men than in normal-weight men.

SHOULD I TRY TO LOSE WEIGHT IF I AM OBESE BEFORE TRYING TO GET PREGNANT?

You should first consult with a healthcare provider. He or she will consider all factors, including your age and any other infertility factors before making a recommendation about whether you should try to lose weight or not.

 

I HAVE POLYCYCSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS) AND I AM OVERWEIGHT, WILL I NEED TO DO ANYTHING DIFFERENT?

PCOS is a very common condition in young women. Not all women with PCOS are overweight or obese, but many women with PCOS have signs of insulin resistance and/or obesity. A low-calorie diet and exercise may lead to weight loss, regular menstrual cycles, and ovulation. However, women with PCOS may require additional treatment to get pregnant, including medications to decrease insulin resistance. These women should seek the assistance of an infertility specialist.

Exercise during Pregnancy Is it safe to exercise during pregnancy?

We talked a little about exercise in pregnancy in the previous post, you can check it out before getting into this. This post continues to answer the other questions you might have.

WHAT CHANGES OCCUR IN THE BODY DURING PREGNANCY THAT CAN AFFECT MY EXERCISE ROUTINE?

Your body goes through many changes during pregnancy. It is important to choose exercises that take these changes into account:

  • Joints— the hormones made during pregnancy cause the ligaments that support your joints to become relaxed. This makes the joints more mobile and at risk of injury. Avoid jerky, bouncy, or high-impact motions that can increase your risk of being hurt.
  • Balance— during pregnancy, the extra weight in the front of your body shifts your centre of gravity. This places stress on joints and muscles, especially those in your pelvis and low back. Because you are less stable and more likely to lose your balance, you are at greater risk of falling.
  • Breathing—when you exercise, oxygen and blood flow are directed to your muscles and away from other areas of your body. While you are pregnant, your need for oxygen increases. As your belly grows, you may become short of breath more easily because of increased pressure of the uterus on the diaphragm (a muscle that aids in breathing). These changes may affect your ability to do strenuous exercise, especially if you are overweight or obese.

WHAT PRECAUTIONS SHOULD I TAKE WHEN EXERCISING DURING PREGNANCY?

There are a few precautions that pregnant women should keep in mind during exercise:

  • Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your workout. Signs of dehydration include dizziness, a racing or pounding heart, and urinating only small amounts or having urine that is dark yellow.
  • Wear a sports bra that gives lots of support to help protect your breasts. Later in pregnancy, a belly support belt may reduce discomfort while walking or running.
  • Avoid becoming overheated, especially in the first trimester. Drink plenty of water, wear loose-fitting clothing, and exercise in a temperature-controlled room. Do not exercise outside when it is very hot or humid.
  • Avoid standing still or lying flat on your back as much as possible. When you lie on your back, your uterus presses on a large vein that returns blood to the heart. Standing motionless can cause blood to pool in your legs and feet. Both of these positions can decrease the amount of blood returning to your heart and may cause your blood pressure to decrease for a short time.

WHAT ARE SOME SAFE EXERCISES I CAN DO DURING PREGNANCY?

Whether you are new to exercise or it already is part of your weekly routine, choose activities that experts agree are safest for pregnant women:

  • Walking—brisk walking gives a total body workout and is easy on the joints and muscles.
  • Swimming and water workouts— Water workouts use many of the body’s muscles. The water supports your weight so you avoid injury and muscle strain. If you find brisk walking difficult because of low back pain, water exercise is a good way to stay active.
  • Stationary bicycling—because your growing belly can affect your balance and make you more prone to falls, riding a standard bicycle during pregnancy can be risky. Cycling on a stationary bike is a better choice.
  • Modified yoga and modified Pilates—Yoga reduces stress, improves flexibility, and encourages stretching and focused breathing. There are even prenatal yoga and Pilates classes designed for pregnant women. These classes often teach modified poses that accommodate a pregnant woman’s shifting balance. You also should avoid poses that require you to be still or lie on your back for long periods.

If you are an experienced runner, jogger, or racquet-sports player, you may be able to keep doing these activities during pregnancy. Discuss these activities with your health care professional before getting into them.

Glossary

Anaemia: Abnormally low levels of blood or red blood cells in the bloodstream. Most cases are caused by iron deficiency or lack of iron.

Cerclage: A procedure in which the cervical opening is closed with stitches in order to prevent or delay preterm birth.

Cervical Insufficiency: Inability of the cervix to retain a pregnancy in the second trimester.

Caesarean Delivery: Delivery of a baby through surgical incisions made in the mother’s abdomen and uterus.

Complications: Diseases or conditions that occur as a result of another disease or condition. An example is pneumonia that occurs as a result of the flu. A complication also can occur as a result of a condition, such as pregnancy. An example of a pregnancy complication is preterm labour.

Deep Vein Thrombosis: A condition in which a blood clot forms in a vein in the leg or other areas of the body.

Dehydration: A condition that results from loss of water from the body.

Gestational Diabetes: Diabetes that arises during pregnancy.

Hormones: Substances made in the body by cells or organs that control the function of other cells or organs. An example is an oestrogen, which controls the function of female reproductive organs.

Oxygen: A gas that is necessary to sustain life.

Placenta Previa: A condition in which the placenta lies very low in the uterus so that the opening of the uterus is partially or completely covered.

Preeclampsia: A disorder that can occur during pregnancy or after childbirth in which there are high blood pressure and other signs of organ injury, such as an abnormal amount of protein in the urine, a low number of platelets, abnormal kidney or liver function, pain over the upper abdomen, fluid in the lungs, or a severe headache or changes in vision.

Preterm: Born before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy.

Uterus: A muscular organ located in the female pelvis that contains and nourishes the developing foetus during pregnancy.

 

Culled from the ACOG website