While there are various causes of infertility in both males and females, uterine issues can be a significant contributing factor. Uterine problems can impact fertility by interfering with the implantation of a fertilized egg or inhibiting the growth of a developing embryo. A fertility doctor can diagnose and treat uterine issues. Here are some common uterine problems that fertility doctors can diagnose and treat:
Uterine fibroids, or leiomyomas, are benign tumors that develop within or on the uterus. They can cause severe pain, heavy bleeding, and may lead to fertility issues. Fibroids can potentially interfere with conception by blocking the fallopian tubes or preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Diagnosis of fibroids comes via imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI. A fertility doctor may offer treatment options ranging from medication to manage symptoms to surgical procedures like myomectomy, especially in cases where the fibroids affect fertility.
Endometriosis is a persistent disorder characterized by the growth of tissue. The growth may resemble the lining of the uterus in locations outside the uterus. It may result in discomfort and problems with fertility. It’s estimated to affect one in ten women and can reduce fertility by causing inflammation and scarring, which can distort a woman’s internal anatomy. Diagnosis may be based on symptoms, but confirmation may require a surgical procedure called laparoscopy. Treatment options include pain management, hormonal therapies to limit endometrial growth, and surgery to remove endometrial growth. For those struggling with infertility due to endometriosis, fertility treatments such as superovulation with intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be recommended.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Women with PCOS may experience irregular menstrual cycles, excess hair growth, acne, and fertility issues due to abnormal hormone levels and anovulation. The syndrome can also cause overgrowth of the uterine lining, leading to heavier or irregular periods. Diagnosis involves assessment of symptoms and may require blood tests or ultrasounds. Treatment depends on the woman’s fertility goals. For those wishing to become pregnant, treatment involves addressing ovulation issues. Lifestyle changes may be termed as the first-line treatment for PCOS-related infertility, with pharmacological options available if needed.
Uterine polyps, benign growths attached to the inner wall of the uterus, can be a cause for concern in fertility treatments. These overgrowths of cells from the lining of the uterus may lead to irregular menstrual bleeding, infertility, or miscarriages. Uterine polyps are often diagnosed through imaging tests such as ultrasound or hysteroscopy. They can negatively impact fertility by creating a physical barrier to the implantation of an embryo. Treatments may involve surgical removal, especially when they interfere with fertility. The management of these polyps depends on various factors, including symptoms, risk of malignancy, and fertility issues.
Uterine prolapse refers to a situation where the uterus descends or falls from its usual location into the vaginal canal. This condition can interfere with conception and delivery, posing challenges for women attempting to conceive. Uterine prolapse may be caused by weakened pelvic muscles and ligaments. This may be due to childbirth, aging, or prolonged periods of increased intra-abdominal pressure. Symptoms may include discomfort, a sensation of heaviness, or tissue protrusion from the vagina.
Fertility doctors diagnose uterine prolapse through a physical examination of the pelvis and occasionally with imaging tests like ultrasound or MRI. Treatment depends on the severity of the prolapse and the patient’s fertility goals. Nonsurgical treatments include pelvic floor exercises and pessaries. Surgical options involve uterus repositioning or removal. Early detection and treatment can prevent further complications and improve fertility outcomes.
Adenomyosis is a uterine condition where the endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. This displaced tissue can lead to an enlarged uterus, painful and heavy periods, and potentially, fertility issues. Adenomyosis can also cause abnormal levels of intrauterine free radicals, which have been linked to infertility. Diagnosis may involve imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI. Treatment strategies depend on the woman’s symptoms and fertility goals, ranging from pain management and hormonal therapy to surgery.
Work With a Fertility Doctor
While these uterine issues can pose significant challenges, advancements in medical technology have made it possible for fertility doctors to diagnose and treat these conditions effectively. If you’re experiencing symptoms or struggling with fertility, don’t hesitate to seek help. Fertility specialists may have the expertise to diagnose, manage, and treat these uterine conditions. This may help improve the chances of successful conception and a healthy pregnancy.