5 causes of infertility in Kenyan women

For some women getting pregnant can seem like a walk in the park. However, for other women, getting to motherhood may become such an uphill task. The main symptom of infertility is the inability to get pregnant.

Infertility is defined as not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year.

Here are some top causes of infertility in women

1. Older age

Women are born with a fixed number of eggs and so as they age so do their eggs. A woman’s fertility starts to decline in her early 30s and by age 35 it has dropped by approximately 40%. Also, the remaining eggs in older women are more likely to have abnormal chromosomes.

2. Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrial tissue) grows in other parts of the body, usually in the pelvis.

This stray endometrial tissue bleeds in the same way as the lining of the uterus, except the blood/tissue is trapped causing irritation and inflammation.

Endometriosis can affect fertility by damaging the ovaries so that ovulation cannot occur. Similarly, damage and/or blockages to the inside of the fallopian tubes can impede the journey of the egg to uterus.

3. Unhealthy body weight

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Being overweight or underweight can have a negative effect on your ability to get pregnant. Your body requires a fine balance of hormones to ovulate properly, and having too little or too much estrogen can throw off that balance.

If you are underweight and/or have a low percentage of body fat you are likely to experience irregular menstrual cycles and issues with ovulation. Your ovaries make less estrogen, which can impact ovulation.

On the other hand, when you are overweight or obese, your adipose tissue (fat cells) produces more estrogen than necessary. This is in addition to the estrogen produced by the ovaries.

4. Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)

An untreated STD such as chlamydia or gonorrhea goes untreated it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is one of the leading causes of preventable infertility. Women with PID have scarring on their fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs which can narrow them, blocking the path of the egg. If a fertilized egg becomes trapped in a blocked fallopian tube an ectopic pregnancy can occur.

5. Premature menopause

Some women cease menstruation and begin menopause before normal age. This occurs when a woman experiences loss of normal function of the ovaries before the age of 40 either due to genetics, illness, or medical procedures.  It is assumed that their natural supply of eggs has been depleted.


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