Infertility – Female Diagnosis
Investigation of female infertility involves relatively old-fashioned but simple methods, such as:
- keeping accurate temperature charts
- regular blood tests of sex hormone levels
- performing an anti-Müllerian hormone test
- specialised x-rays
- surgical examination of the ovaries using a laparoscope (telescope like tube into the belly).
Vaginismus is the term used for a strong spasm of the muscles in the vagina that prevents the penis from entering. It usually results from anxiety or stress related to sex, lack of privacy, inadequate foreplay, sexual inhibitions due to a puritanical background, pain or discomfort associated with sex or other psychological problems.
The cervix may be damaged by surgery for cancer or severe infection or injured by an object placed in the vagina. The resultant scaring may prevent the passage of sperm.
Endometriosis is a sinister disease occurring when cells that normally line the inside of the uterus become displaced and move through the fallopian tubes to settle either around the ovary, in the tubes themselves or on other organs in the belly. In these abnormal positions they proliferate, then when a menstrual period occurs, they bleed as though they were still in the uterus. This results in pain, adhesions, damage to the organs they are attached to and infertility.
Other causes of female infertility can include:
- abnormalities of the uterus due to poor development,
- fibroids (hard lumps in the wall of the uterus) or polyps in the uterus,
- infections of the fallopian tubes (salpingitis),
- cancer or tumours in the ovaries,
- ovarian cysts,
- the polycystic ovarian syndrome,
- hydrosalpinx (blockage of the fallopian tubes with fluid from persistent inflammation),
- Turner syndrome,
- Asherman syndrome (complication of surgically clearing out the uterus after a miscarriage or for heavy bleeding after childbirth).