Top Causes of Infertility in Men and Women
The World Health Organization (WHO) definition of infertility is: “a disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”
According to this definition, as many as 16% of couples are affected by infertility. It is far more common that you might think!
There is a growing body of evidence that suggests Chinese medicine could help. Research shows that this natural therapy may help to regulate hormones to promote ovulation, improve uterine blood flow, and impact patients with infertility due to PCOS, anxiety, stress, and immunological disorders.
Let’s take a look at the top causes of fertility and exactly how Chinese medicine could help.
Top Causes of Infertility
There are many different reasons why couples can struggle to conceive. Here are some of the most common:
Ovulation disorders are thought to be responsible for up to 25% of all cases of infertility. There are many reasons why some women suffer from irregular or absent ovulation. These include:
- Hormone imbalance or endocrine disorders
- Poor egg health
- Poor nutrition
- Being over or underweight
Approximately 30% of cases of infertility are thought to be due to a male factor. Male fertility depends on healthy sperm, and male infertility can be a result of several issues including:
- Low sperm count
- Poor sperm motility or morphology
Many problems with sperm health are unexplained, but it is commonly believed that wearing tight-fitting underwear and excessive heat are contributing factors.
Poor Egg Heath
Female fertility depends on healthy eggs. One of the best ways to improve egg health is by eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, and healthy fats. However, there are many other factors which can affect egg health, including:
- Hormone imbalance
Low AMH/High FSH
AMH (anti-mullerian hormone) and FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) are two hormones which can indicate egg health and ovarian reserve. Low AMH and high FSH are associated with a low ovarian reserve and reduced fertility.
It is still possible to get pregnant naturally, even if you have low AMH levels. Read our Low AMH Success Story to find out how.
Endometriosis is a condition in which uterine tissue begins to grow outside of the womb. This can lead to a number of symptoms including infertility. It is thought that endometriosis causes infertility by damaging the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Approximately 40% of endometriosis patients will experience some sort of fertility problems.
To learn more about endometriosis and fertility, check out our article Treating Endometriosis with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Blocked Fallopian Tubes
The fallopian tubes allow a fertilized egg to travel from the ovaries to the womb. If these tubes become blocked, this cannot happen, resulting in infertility. Some common causes of blocked fallopian tubes include:
- Scarring due to surgery or trauma
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Although it may be more difficult to get pregnant with blocked fallopian tubes, it is possible. Read our article How to Get Pregnant with Blocked Fallopian Tubes Naturally to learn more.
PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) is a common endocrine disorder. It is closely related to body weight, insulin resistance, and diabetes which can cause hormonal imbalances and infertility due to irregular ovulation.
For some couples, no biological reason for their infertility can be identified and they are given a diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility.’ In many cases, unexplained infertility is linked with high stress or other lifestyle factors.
In a few cases, a combination of male and female factors is involved in infertility. For these couples, both partners may require treatment in order to successfully conceive. Chinese medicine and acupuncture offer a natural solution to many male and female fertility issues.