National Infertility Awareness Week: What you need to know

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – National Infertility Awareness Week is acknowledged April 23-29 and is intended to increase awareness of infertility, which affects the reproductive systems of both women and men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention more than 7.3 million Americans are infertile.

1.      What causes infertility in women?

  • Ovulation
  • Hormone imbalance, tumors or cysts, eating disorders, alcohol or drug use, thyroid problems, stress, intense exercise that causes a significant loss of body fat.
  • Damage to fallopian tubes or uterus.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, a previous infection, endometriosis or fibroids, scar tissue, chronic medical illness, or birth defect.

2.      Does age play a part? Yes, as a woman ages, her fertility naturally decreases.

3.      Is it hereditary? For the most part,fertility problems are not hereditary or genetic. However, endometriosis is one of the rare causes of infertility that can be passed down through generations.

4.      Are there things you can do to prevent it? Taking steps to avoid sexually transmitted diseases, avoiding drugs and heavy alcohol use and keeping up with your annual checkups with your gynecologist. 

5.      How is it diagnosed? Ovulation tests, urine or blood tests can check for infections, hormonal imbalance and thyroid function, pelvic exams, an internal exam or ultrasound of the organs. 

6.      When should someone that is having challenges conceiving visit their gynecologist? After trying to conceive for one year (or six months if the female partner is over 35) without success.

According to Dr. Michael Morphet, it is recommended that women should consider lifestyle factors and seek professional medical advice.

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