Female factors: reproductive health

The human body is a remarkable biological system – and female fertility is one of its more amazing mechanisms.

Understanding how the female reproductive system works and knowing what factors may affect your fertility, can help build a plan for maximising the chances of successfully conceiving.  

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The activity of the female reproductive system is controlled by hormones released by both the brain and the ovaries that cause the development and release of eggs.

Unfortunately, having problems falling pregnant is not an uncommon problem. There are a number of different reasons why some women are unable to conceive - in fact, around 50% of these are because of common gynaecological issues. The good news is that in most cases, there are treatments available to resolve the problem in order to achieve pregnancy.

One in six Australian couples experience difficulty conceiving, but there are many simple ways you can maximise your natural fertility.

A Fertility Specialist can provide you with answers and treatment options to support you on your path to parenthood. While a lot of information about fertility treatments focuses on IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation), you may be relieved to learn that there are also other simpler, less expensive solutions available. Our Fertility Check Up will help you to understand the factors affecting your fertility with a few simple tests. 

If you’re over 35 years old and have been trying to become pregnant for more than 6 months, or under 35 and have been trying for more than 12 months, it’s a good idea to seek medical advice from a Fertility Specialist.

Here’s a brief overview of the main issues that impact female fertility.
 

Common Female Fertility Problems

Ovulation

Anovulation is the absence of ovulation. The absence of menstruation cycles (amenorrhoea) can be an indicator that ovulation is not occurring. Irregular or unreliable ovulation can cause irregular periods. A common cause of ovulation problems is Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). There are a range of treatments for anovulation from the minimally-invasive, such as fertility drugs to induce ovulation, to more involved treatments such surgical procedures, IVF or using donor eggs.

Hyperprolactinemia is the presence of abnormally high levels of the hormone prolactin in the blood. This can stop ovulation (anovulation) from occurring and cause the production of breast milk in non-pregnant women. It can be caused by a number of factors including diseases affecting the hypothalamus and pituitary gland, thyroid disorders, and some prescription medications. Hyperprolactinemia can be treated with drugs to correct hormone imbalances or to induce ovulation, and sometimes surgery to remove pituitary tumours.

Read more about ovulation »

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus – the endometrium – grows outside of the uterus. It often causes painful periods or pain during intercourse, however the severity of the pain experienced is not a reliable indicator of the extent of the condition. Other symptoms include occasional heavy periods or bleeding between periods. Endometriosis can be treated with hormones or with surgery. If the fallopian tubes have been damaged, IVF may be recommended. Read more about endometriosis »

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

PCOS is a common hormone problem, and one of the leading causes of infertility in women. The term ‘polycystic ovaries’ describes the appearance of the ovaries on an ultrasound scan – ovaries appear to contain many small follicles on an ultrasound scan, described as ‘polycystic’. The dominant follicle, where the egg matures, may not develop as easily, and many of the small follicles will produce varying levels of hormones. Symptoms include irregular periods or no periods at all, heavy yet infrequent periods, increased hair growth, acne, and obesity.

There are several ways to treat PCOS, depending on the severity of the condition. These include weight loss – exercise and a change of diet alone could have a significant impact – or ovulation inducing drugs such as Clomiphene (Serophene or Clomid) can be used to stimulate the ovaries. In severe cases IVF treatment may be necessary to achieve pregnancy. Read more about PCOS »

Fibroids

Fibroids are lumps of uterine cell tissue or tumorous muscle that grow around and inside the uterus.

Fibroids are very common – up to 80% of women have at least one fibroid – and they typically pose no other threat to your health. Fibroids may be in the uterine wall (intramural fibroids), on the outer surface of the uterus (subserosal fibroids), or protruding into the cavity of the uterus (submucosal fibroids). Read more about Fibroids »

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID is an infection of the female’s upper reproductive organs. It usually occurs when sexually transmitted organisms spread from the vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes and/or ovaries. It is most often caused by gonorrhoea or chlamydia. It may also be caused by bacteria being introduced into the uterus with the insertion of Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) for birth control, or after miscarriage or pregnancy. Some women do not experience any symptoms while others experience painful or difficult urination, cramps, excessive or irregular bleeding, and fever. Depending on the severity of the disease, treatment may involve antibiotics or surgery.

By answering 7 simple questions, the Female Fertility Assessment Tool is designed to give you an indication of whether there are any factors that might be affecting your chance of falling pregnant and whether you should consider seeking the advice of a fertility specialist for further assessment.  

By answering 7 simple questions, the Female Fertility Assessment Tool is designed to give you an indication of whether there are any factors that might be affecting your chance of falling pregnant and whether you should consider seeking the advice of a fertility specialist for further assessment.  

Female Fertility Assessment Tool

Introduction

By providing us with some of your details and pregnancy history we will guide you on what you should do if you want to start a family.

Queensland Fertility Group offers fertility consultations and treatment. For general enquiries or to book your first appointment, please complete the form below or call us on 1800 111 483.