Sterility definition is about the inability to conceive a child after having had intercourse for a year without any contraception.
Human sterility affects approximately 10% of couples of reproductive ages. About 30% of sterility cases are due to a problem of female origin, an equal number is due to difficulties of male origin, and finally, 30% of cases are attributable either to the two members of the couple or to an unknown cause which will never be discovered.
1. Sterility definition; Causes
Both female and male sterility can result from various medical conditions and problems.
1.1 Female sterility is influenced by
- Ovulation disorders: This affects the exit of eggs from the ovaries. Hormonal disorders include polycystic ovary syndrome, high prolactin in the blood, hyperthyroidism, or hypothyroidism.
- Blockage of the fallopian tubes, including abnormalities of the cervical opening, or benign tumors in the womb.
- The presence of scars in the uterus;
- Cancer and its treatment: Cancer and its treatment with radiation or chemotherapy may affect a woman's sterility.
1.2 Male sterility is influenced by
- Varicocele: It is edema of the veins that drain blood from the testicle, and is necessary to maintain the testicle temperature lower than the rest of the body. When the blockage occurs, the testicle heats up, reducing the ability of the sperm cells to move.
- Sperm conduction problems: may result from some genetic diseases, such as cystic fibrosis or reproductive organ problems, including testicular obstruction or due to sexual problems such as premature ejaculation.
- Asthenospermia: the mobility of sperm is insufficient. Asthenospermia is defined by less than 40% of mobility. Its causes are linked to oligospermia;
- Retrograde ejaculation (sperm is ejaculated to the bladder) can lead to infertility. It may be due to:
Taking certain medications. Prostate, bladder, or spine surgery.
- Cancers: Different types of cancer can directly affect the testicles or sperm tubes and cause hormonal disorders that prevent sperm production.
2. Sterility definition; diagnosis
There are different possible tests to determine the origin of both male and female sterility. Your doctor will start by obtaining your medical history and will ask you to write down some information such as the woman's menstrual cycle, the moment chosen for sexual intercourse, etc.
2.1 Diagnosis of female sterility
If a long time has passed and the couple cannot bear children, they must find out the reason that hinders this. The female diagnosis includes:
- Ovulation test: This test checks the level of hormones in the blood. It is able to diagnose acute elevations with LH hormones that indicate ovulation. This examination can be done with a kit for home use that is obtained from the pharmacy without the need for a doctor's prescription. Also, hormone testing can be done through a blood test aimed at testing a wide range of hormones in various settings.
- Hysterosalpingography - During this examination, a substance that is identifiable by imaging is inserted into the cervix. Through the image, it is possible to see the uterus building and fallopian tubes and diagnose the different structural and anatomical defects that hinder the occurrence of pregnancy.
2.2 Diagnosis of male sterility
When it comes to men, the diagnosis is based on the sperm count. To count sperm, a man must provide a sample of his ejaculate. This sample is examined under a microscope. Various biochemical analyzes make it possible to glean data on the form, the motility, and the capacity of survival of the spermatozoa. In some cases, the sperm will be examined to see if they can penetrate the membrane of an egg. For this last test, hamster eggs are used.
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3. Sterility definition; Symptoms and Complications
A young couple with healthy reproductive organs who do not use contraception has an approximately 20% chance of having a fertile relationship in a given month. When a person is young and has no reason to think they may be infertile, they should try to conceive for a year before consulting a doctor about treatment for infertility. If the couple's woman is over 35, the majority of fertility specialists recommend considering treatment after a 6-month trial period so that this woman has a better chance of conceiving while she is still young enough to reasonably hope that her pregnancy will go smoothly.
4. Sterility definition; Treatments
The treatments offered depend on the causes of sterility found during medical investigations. They also adapt to the couple's age, their medical history, and the number of years they have suffered from sterility. Despite the various treatments available, some causes of human sterility cannot be corrected.
4.1 Treatment of female sterility
In women, hormonal treatments for menstrual cycle disorders can be effective. Treatments like clomiphene citrate (Clomid, taken orally) are prescribed to stimulate ovulation. This medication is effective in the event of hormonal imbalance since it acts on the pituitary gland, a gland that secretes the hormones that trigger ovulation. Several other hormones can be prescribed by injection to stimulate ovulation. In case of hyperprolactinemia, bromocriptine may also be prescribed.
In some cases, surgery may be necessary. If the fallopian tubes are blocked, an operation can remedy this disorder. In case of endometriosis, medication to stimulate ovulation or in vitro fertilization may be necessary for the hope of conceiving a child.
Medically assisted procreation techniques are, therefore, sometimes necessary in the event of sterility. In vitro fertilization is the most frequently used assisted reproduction technique. The man's sperm is brought into the woman's ovum in the laboratory, and the embryo is re-implanted into the future mother’s uterus (IVF).
4.2 Treatment of male sterility
Treatment of male sterility depends on the primary factor of infertility, and the treatment of sterility is directed at eliminating the factor that causes the problem. Surgery can help in many cases of obstruction and congestion of the testicular veins, and medications are effective in cases where there is a hormonal disorder, a disorder in the performance of sexual function, or various polluting factors.
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Originally published on Live Positively.