<strong>Female Infertility: Symptoms, Causes, And Prevention</strong>

Female Infertility: Symptoms, Causes, And Prevention

4 Nov 2022 | 6 min Read

Sudeshna Chakravarti

Author | 799 Articles

Female infertility is defined as the inability of a woman to conceive even after having unprotected sex for over a year. While a few symptoms can help diagnose this condition, the causes of female infertility are usually difficult to pinpoint and determine. However, the good news is that there are many infertility treatments that can help you conceive positively and also enable you to give birth to a healthy baby.

To give you a deeper insight into this condition, we have gathered all useful information, including the symptoms of female infertility, risk factors, and prevention methods. Understanding the symptoms of this condition can help you seek prompt advice from your healthcare provider and also administer appropriate treatment methods. 

Symptoms of Female Infertility

Symptoms of Female Infertility
The common symptoms of female infertility include the inability to conceive and irregular or absent ovulation cycle / Image credit: Freepik

One of the major symptoms of infertility is the inability to get pregnant. An irregular menstrual cycle that is too long (35 days or more ), or too short (less than 21 days) could also be one of the indicators of infertility. Other symptoms include an absent or irregular ovulation cycle, meaning you fail to ovulate.

When to See a Doctor?

When you decide to seek help depends on your age.

  • If you are 35 years old or younger: Most doctors will recommend trying to get pregnant for at least a year before getting tested for infertility.
  • If you are between 35-40 years of age: You can visit a fertility specialist if you are unable to conceive after six months of trying.
  • If you are more than 40 years old: Your doctor might recommend starting a suitable fertility treatment immediately.

Causes of Female Infertility

Causes of Female Infertility
Ovulation disorders like PCOS and premature ovarian insufficiency are some causes of female infertility / Image credit: Freepik

For a positive pregnancy, your reproductive system has to function properly. However, many factors can disrupt normal reproductive functions, leading to infertility in women. We have discussed the most common causes of female infertility in the next section.

Ovulation Disorders

Irregular or absent ovulation are some of the most common causes of infertility. You can experience a number of ovulation disorders due to problems with the regulation of the reproductive hormones or pituitary gland abnormalities. The most common ovulation disorders include:

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This condition causes a hormonal imbalance in your body, which affects your ovulation. PCOS is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, abnormal growth of hair in your face and body, and acne. 
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency: Also termed as premature ovarian failure, this condition is caused by an autoimmune response or premature loss of eggs from your ovary. This condition can also lower oestrogen production in women aged below 40.
  • Hypothalamic dysfunction: Your pituitary gland produces two hormones responsible for stimulating ovulation—luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). However, certain factors like excess emotional or physical stress, recent weight loss, weight gain, and low or high body weight can affect the production of these hormones, thus affecting your ovulation.

Damaged Fallopian Tubes (Tubal Infertility)

Damage or blocked fallopian tubes prevent the sperm from reaching the egg or block the passage of the fertilised egg to the uterus. The major causes of fallopian tube damage include:

  • Previous surgery in your abdomen or pelvis, including surgery for ectopic pregnancy (a condition where the fertilised egg implants and develops someplace else, other than the uterus, usually in the fallopian tubes).
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, which causes an infection in your uterus or fallopian tubes. This condition is usually caused due to sexually transmitted diseases like chlamydia.


Endometriosis is a condition where cells similar to your endometrium or uterus, grow outside your uterus. This condition often occurs in your pelvic tissues, and can also envelop your ovaries and fallopian tubes, affecting your pregnancy chances.  In some cases, this condition is treated via surgery, which can further cause scarring and block your fallopian tubes, and prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.

Unexplained Infertility

In some cases, healthcare providers are unable to determine the cause of infertility. A combination of several minor factors in both partners can cause unexplained infertility. Although it can be frustrating for you to have no specific answer, this concern can correct itself with time. But you shouldn’t delay your fertility treatment further. 

Risk Factors of Female Infertility

Risk Factors of Female Infertility
Focus on maintaining optimal health and go for regular health check-ups to reduce chances of infertility / Image credit: Freepik

There are certain factors that put you at a higher risk of infertility.

  • Age: The quality and quantity of your eggs begin to decline with age. By the mid-30s, there is a rapid loss of follicles, resulting in fewer and poorer quality eggs. This makes conception difficult, and also increases the chances of a miscarriage.
  • Smoking and drinking alcohol: Besides damaging your fallopian tubes and cervix, smoking and drinking alcohol can increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. It also depletes your eggs prematurely and increases the chances of premature ovarian insufficiency.
  • Weight: Being significantly underweight or overweight can affect your ovulation cycle. Focus on achieving a healthy body mass index (BMI) to increase the frequency of ovulation and chances of pregnancy.
  • Sexual history: Many sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhoea and chlamydia can damage your fallopian tubes. If any of these diseases are determined, make sure to get proper treatment before planning your pregnancy.

Prevention of Female Infertility

If you are planning to get pregnant soon, or in the future, these tips can help you improve your fertile health, and also reduce the chances of infertility.

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight or underweight can increase the risk of ovulation disorders. Try to maintain a healthy body weight by exercising regularly and consuming a balanced diet. However, do not involve in strenuous exercises regularly, as that can impact your fertility too.
  • Avoid alcohol: Heavy alcohol use can decrease your fertility. It can also affect the health of a developing fetus and increase the risk of a miscarriage. Hence, avoid drinking alcohol while trying to get pregnant.
  • Quit smoking: Tobacco impacts your fertility and general health negatively. If you are planning to get pregnant, you should quit smoking immediately.
  • Reduce stress: Stress can also result in poor fertility. Try to reduce stress and practice mindfulness to enhance your overall health and well-being to improve your pregnancy chances.


Dealing with infertility can be stressful but don’t worry, with proper identification of the exact cause, your healthcare provider will be able to offer appropriate fertility treatment methods and guide you through the journey. Besides focusing on your treatment, try to maintain optimal health by exercising regularly, consuming a healthy diet, and maintaining an ideal body weight.

Also read:

Ovulation calculator: Use BabyChakra’s ovulation calculator to determine your most fertile days in a month.

Pregnancy symptoms: Check out all the common signs and symptoms of pregnancy in this post.

Cover Image credit: Freepik.com



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