Top 11 causes of infertility in women in Nigeria
What is infertility?
Infertility is the inability to conceive after one year of regular, adequate unprotected sexual intercourse and without being on any form of contraception that can make you not to get pregnant.
So it’s a one year thing. This is to make sure, that all chances have been explored before we think of infertility.
The term “infertility” is gradually fading away, because of advances in medicine. Because with the help of modern medical ingenuity like In vitro fertilization and surrogacy, any woman can have a baby. So we now talk about subfertility instead of infertility.
From the definition above, I need to bring out two terms that you may not understand. They are regular and adequate.
Regular : means having intercourse every week, for the whole 52 weeks in a year
Adequate : means having intercourse at least 3 times in each of the weeks. So it is three per week, and each week in a year.
After satisfying the above conditions without getting pregnant, then we can start thinking of infertility.
Types of infertility
Based on state of conception :
- Primary Infertility – It means the woman has never been pregnant before and the man has never fathered a baby before.
- Secondary infertility – It means the couple have mothered or fathered a baby before either together or outside their marriage.
Based On the couples:
- Male-factor infertility – 30% of the causes of infertility
- Female-factor infertility – 30% of the causes of infertility
- Both causes – 25%
- Unknown causes –15%
Top 3 causes of infertility in women in Nigeria
Tubal Blockage :
Blockage of Fallopian tubes prevents the egg from meeting the sperm. Things that can cause this blockage are:
- Salpingitis – This is inflammation of the Fallopian tubes usually due to infection. The commonest infecting organisms are chlamydia and gonorrhea, usually through sexual intercourse. Salpingitis thus causes infertility in women.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease: This is ascending infection of the female genital tract, usually involving the uterus and Fallopian tubes.
- Pelvic surgery : Any operation that occurs around your pelvis can injure the Fallopian tubes, causing them to get blocked.
- All these result to infertility in the woman.
Ovulation involves a lot of hormones produced both in the brain and ovary. So any problem involving the brain and ovary can cause infertility in the woman. Some of ovulation problems causing infertility in women are:
- Brain Injury : Fall from a height, accident, can cause injury to the brain and tamper with the hormones that produced in the brain that are important in ovulation. This will prevent ovulation and cause infertility in women.
- Brain Tumour : Any growth in the brain has the possibility of causing infertility through the same means as above.
- Ovarian Tumours: Any growth in the ovary like ovarian cancer, ovarian polyp, ovarian cyst can prevent the production of mature ovums, thereby preventing ovulation and causing infertility.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome : This is the commonest ovarian cause of infertility in women. It is characterized by development of Polycystic ovaries, development of some male characteristics like hairy chest, deep voice, and male pattern of hair distribution in the pubic area. Such women also tend to be obese.
- Endometriosis : This is the formation of endometrial tissues outside the uterus. Endometrial tissues are those tissues lining the womb, they break down and bleed during your period. So when these tissues are placed outside the womb, you can bleed there when you are seeing your period. It can even occur in the nose. This can make you see your period through your nose. It sounds funny, but it happens. This can cause infertility.
Uterine/Womb problems :
The commonest cause from womb problems is uterine fibroid. Fibroid, is a benign growth in the muscles of the womb. Other common cause include :
- Asherman syndrome : This is the growth of fibrous tissues inside inside the womb. It usually results from poorly done abortions that injures the womb, making it unable for implantation to occur.
Treatment of Infertility in women in Nigeria
The treatment depends on the cause. We have already seen the different causes above.
Ovulation problems : The lacking hormones are replaced. In most cases this solves the problem. If it is a brain tumour or ovarian tumour that surgery can help, then operation will be done.
Tubal blockage: Infections are treated. But in most cases blocked tubes cannot be unblocked due to the nature of the fallopian tubes. If it is only one, then the other can serve. But if the two are blocked, then alternative reproductive technique will be sought.
Uterine problems : Fibroid surgery can be done if that is the case, and you will still be pregnant. But there are are a few locations where the fibroid mass will be located and you will not be able to take in again.
In the case of asherman syndrome, An adhesiolysis (surgery) will be done to release the fibrous growths in the womb. You can still get pregnant after that, you may not, it all depends on the level of damage that was done.
In all, ihe a na-amaghi Ka a ga-esi eme ya bu onwu (the only thing that has no solution is death). You can still have your own baby with or without being pregnant. Read about In Vitro fertilization and surrogacy in Nigeria – and the different invitro fertilization clinics in Nigeria.
- Ten Teacher’s textbook of gynaecology
Thank you for reading. Hope your learnt something. Please give me some comments, questions too! 🙂