Infertility: Causes | Symptoms | Prevention


Table of Contents

If you’re a couple which is struggling to have a baby, know that you’re not the only one. On a global scale, 8 to 12% of couples experience fertility problems. Between 45 and 50% of cases are thought to stem from factors that affect the man. Infertility is defined as the condition in which women can’t conceive a child even after having frequent unprotected sex encounters for at least a year. It can be a result of an issue with either you or your partner or a combination of factors that prevent pregnancy.

Major Causes of male infertility

  • Abnormal sperm production or function due to reasons like undescended testicles, genetic defects or health problems like diabetes etc.
  • Problems with the delivery of sperm due to sexual performance-oriented problems, such as premature ejaculation.
  • Overexposure to certain environmental factors like pesticides and radiation.
  • Cigarette smoking, alcohol, marijuana, anabolic steroids, and taking medications to treat bacterial infections.
  • Working or spending too much time in a hot environment.

Major Causes of female infertility

  • PCOD, Certain disorders associated with ovulation that affect the release of eggs from the ovaries.
  • Uterine or cervical abnormalitiesFallopian tube damage or blockage.
  • Endometriosis i.e. growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.
  • Early menopause in which the ovaries stop working and menstruation ends before age 40.
  • Pelvic adhesions i.e. bands of scar tissue binding organs that can form after pelvic infection.
  • Certain cancers, especially reproductive cancers, often affect female fertility as both radiation and chemotherapy may impair it.

Symptoms in Men

These are some of the noticeable symptoms in men suffering from infertility and they should consult a doctor if they have:

  • A low sperm count or other issues with sperm.
  • A history of testicular, prostate or sexual problems.
  • Undergone treatment for cancer.
  • Small testicles or swelling in the scrotum.
  • Others in the family with infertility problems.

Symptoms in Women

Noticeable symptoms of infertility in women for which a doctor must be consulted include:

  • The age 35 or older and have been trying to conceive for six months or longer.
  • Having irregular, absent or very painful periods.
  • Having known fertility problems.
  • Being diagnosed with endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • Having had multiple miscarriages.
  • Having any treatment for cancer.

Prevention for Men

  • Stop consuming drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.
  • Avoid hot tubs and hot baths, as high temperature can temporarily affect sperm production and motility.
  • Avoid exposure to industrial or environmental toxins.
  • Limit both prescription and non-prescription drug medications that may impact fertility.
  • Exercise moderately as regular exercise may improve sperm quality.

Prevention for Women

  • Quit smoking as it affects your general health and the health of the foetus
  • If you're trying to get pregnant, don't drink alcohol or consume recreational drugs like marijuana.
  • Limit your caffeine intake.
  • Exercise moderately but not vigorously. Regular exercise is beneficial but exercising so intensely that your periods are infrequent or absent can affect fertility.
  • Maintain a healthy BMI as being underweight or overweight can affect your hormone production and you might face a problem getting pregnant.


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