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Everything you need to know about male and female infertility (childlessness)

Everything you need to know about male and female infertility (childlessness)

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 What is infertility?

Though it is often thought of as a woman’s problem, infertility can affect both men and women. In about 35% of couples with infertility, a male factor is found with or without a female factor. In about 8% of couples with infertility, a male factor is the only cause found, The Gambia no exception.

For couples hoping to become parents, difficulty in conceiving a baby can be frustrating and unexpected. Many couples who struggle with infertility end up having children, sometimes with medical help. An important early step is understanding the possible causes of infertility.

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Is infertility a common male and women problem?

Yes. About 7% of married women aged 15 to 44 worldwide are unable to get pregnant after one year of trying, The Gambia no exception. Also, about 12% of women aged 15 to 44 have difficulty getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term.

What causes infertility in men?

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Specialists study the movement, shape, and number of sperm in a semen sample to determine if a male factor is involved.

Some risk factors for abnormal semen include:

o          Disruption of testicular or ejaculatory function, such as through trauma to the testes, heavy alcohol or drug use, cancer treatment, use of certain medicines, or medical disorders.

o          Hormonal disorders are caused by improper function of the hypothalamus or pituitary glands, which maintain normal testicular function. Genetic disorders such as Klinefelter syndrome, Y-chromosome microdeletion, myotonic dystrophy, or other, less common genetic disorders.

What increases a man’s risk of infertility?

o          Couples where the male partner is 40 or older are more likely to encounter difficulty conceiving. Being overweight or obese and excessive alcohol use are also factors.

o          Exposure to testosterone, radiation, certain medicines, or certain environmental toxins and requent exposure of the testes to high temperatures are also causes.

What causes infertility in women?

Women need functioning organs to get pregnant. Conditions affecting any one of these organs can contribute to female infertility. Some of these conditions are listed below and can be evaluated with tests.

Disruption of ovarian function and effects of ovarian ‘age’

A woman’s menstrual cycle external icon is, on average, 28 days. Regular, predictable periods that occur every 24 to 32 days mean that the woman is likely to be ovulating. A woman with irregular periods may not be ovulating.

Not ovulating can be caused by the following:

Menopause is a natural decline in ovarian function that usually occurs around age 50. By definition, a woman in menopause has not had a period in one year.

Fallopian tube obstruction – Risk factors for blocked fallopian tubes external icon can include a history of pelvic infection, ruptured appendix, gonorrhea or chlamydia, endometriosis external icon, or abdominal surgery.

What increases a woman’s risk of infertility?

o          Age. About 1 in 6 couples in which the woman is 35 and older have fertility problems. Aging decreases fertility because older women have fewer eggs left, the eggs are less healthy, and the woman is more likely to have health conditions that can cause fertility problems.

o          Aging also increases a woman’s chances of having a child with a genetic abnormality. Smoking, excessive alcohol use, extreme weight gain or loss are also factors as well as excessive physical or emotional stress that result in amenorrhea (not having periods).

How do doctors treat infertility?

Male and female infertility can be treated with medicine and surgery.

Doctors recommend specific treatments for infertility based on the factors contributing to infertility, its duration, and the age of the female.

Furthermore, about male infertility, not being able to have a child can be stressful for a couple. Male infertility may be the cause. There are many male infertility treatments available.

Male infertility decreases a man’s ability to cause a pregnancy. Many different factors can cause infertility in both men and women.

o          There may be problems making and growing sperm due to low hormone levels or other causes. Sperm can be blocked such that it can’t leave the body during ejaculation. Swollen veins in the scrotum can affect male infertility.

Other reasons for male infertility can include illness, injury, long-term health problems, medications, and even lifestyle.

Male infertility symptoms                          

The main sign of infertility is a woman not getting pregnant, even though the couple has had unprotected sex for a year or more. Most men do not have any infertility symptoms themselves. But there are signs to look for: lower sex drive, problems with sex (including ejaculation), problems with erections (erectile dysfunction), swelling, testicle lumps, a lot of respiratory infections, inability to smell, abnormal breast growth, less facial hair or less body hair than seems normal.

See your doctor if you have symptoms. Diagnosis starts with a physical exam and checking medical history. One may also may have to do blood and semen tests.

What happens if you have infertility?

o          The main symptom of infertility is not getting pregnant. There may be no other obvious symptoms. Sometimes, women with infertility may have irregular or absent menstrual periods. In some cases, men with infertility may have some signs of hormonal problems, such as changes in hair growth or sexual function.

Can you still have a baby if infertile?

o          If you are infertile and want to have a child, there are many options. You may increase your chance of falling pregnant if you know your most fertile days. You can treat any underlying causes like endometriosis or sexually transmitted infections.

  How can a man tell if he is fertile?

o          A trained expert checks your sperm count, shape, movement, and other characteristics. In general, if you have a higher number of normal-shaped sperm, it means you have higher fertility. But there are plenty of exceptions to this. A lot of guys with low sperm counts or abnormal semen are still fertile.

How can I get pregnant fast naturally in 2 months?

Here are some helpful steps you can take: Talk to your gynecologist. Before you start trying to get pregnant, visit your gynecologist. Track your ovulation. Implement good habits. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise regularly. Maintain a healthy weight. Start taking folate supplements.

Which foods improve sperm?

Foods can increase the production of testosterone, thereby increasing sperm count as well as sperm motility and quality.

There are a lot of foods that can boost sperm count and some of them are listed below: Eggs, spinach, bananas, maca roots, asparagus, dark chocolate and walnuts.

Why addressing infertility is important

Every human being has a right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Individuals and couples have the right to decide the number, timing, and spacing of their children. Infertility can negate the realisation of these essential human rights. Addressing infertility is therefore an important part of realising the right of individuals and couples to found a family.

A wide variety of people, including heterosexual couples, same-sex partners, older persons, individuals who are not in sexual relationships, and those with certain medical conditions, such as some HIV zero-discordant couples and cancer survivors, may require infertility management and fertility care services.

Inequities and disparities in access to fertility care services adversely affect the poor, unmarried, uneducated, unemployed, and other marginalised populations.

Addressing infertility can also mitigate gender inequality. Although both women and men can experience infertility, women in a relationship with a man are often perceived to suffer from infertility, regardless of whether they are infertile or not.

Infertility has significant negative social impacts on the lives of infertile couples and particularly women, who frequently experience violence, divorce, social stigma, emotional stress, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.

In some settings, fear of infertility can deter women and men from using contraception if they feel socially pressured to prove their fertility at an early age because of the high social value of childbearing. In such situations, education and awareness-raising interventions to address understanding of the prevalence and determinants of fertility and infertility is essential

Prevention of infertility

Maintain a healthy weight. Overweight and underweight women are at increased risk of ovulation disorders. Quit smoking. Tobacco has multiple negative effects on fertility, as well as your general health and the health of a fetus. Avoid alcohol. Heavy alcohol use may lead to decreased fertility. Reduce stress.

What is cause prevention and treatment of infertility in females

Infertility in women is most often treated by one or more of the following methods: Taking hormones to address a hormone imbalance, endometriosis, or a short menstrual cycle. Taking medications to stimulate ovulation. Using supplements to enhance fertility – shop supplements. Taking antibiotics to remove an infection.

For further information email to [email protected], send a text message to WhatsApp on 2207774469 between 3 to 6pm only.

Dr Hassan Azadeh, senior lecturer at the University of The Gambia (UTG), Clinical Director at Medicare Health Services.

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