Male and Female Infertility: What You Should Know
Male and Female Infertility: What You Should Know
In the US, consumer sentiment runs high on FDA cleared fertility support lubricants – as well as related supplements. This is due to the high cost associated with the ultimate step in the process – IVF for infertility treatment. Since British tabloids have women raving about fertility lubricant, we take a closer look at issues related to both fertility support as well as infertility treatment.
Infertility is the inability to get pregnant despite having unprotected sex frequently for at least one year. In the United States infertility affects 10% to 15% of all couples. It’s not just a woman’s problem because men and women have equal chances of being infertile. After a year of trying to conceive and failing, couples are advised to see a doctor about it. Infertility can affect one or both partners. Sometimes the problems are present at birth and sometimes they develop later in life and sometimes no root cause can be found.
Causes of Male Infertility
Male infertility can be caused by enlarged blood vessels in the testes, abnormal sperm production or function due to genetic defects, health problems or undescended testicles. It can also be due to problems with delivery of sperms due to structural problems, sexual problems and other causes. Another problem is overexposure to environmental pollution, lifestyle choices and diseases. Damage can also occur due to radiation or chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
Causes of Female Infertility
Women’s inability to get pregnant can be caused by ovulation disorders caused by hormonal imbalance, hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism and other causes. It can also be caused by uterine or cervical abnormalities (e.g. the shape of the uterus), benign tumors in the uterine wall, and polyps in the ovaries. Another cause is damage or blockage of the fallopian tubes due to inflammation, growth of the endometrial tissue outside the uterus, scar tissue blocking fallopian tubes, or early menopause. One huge cause is radiation and chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
Risk Factors for Both Men and Women
Many factors that increase the risk of infertility are the same for men and women. These include advancing age (from late 30s to over 40 years), smoking tobacco or marijuana, heavy use of alcohol, and lack of exercise coupled with being overweight. Extremely low body weight can be a problem for women if associated with anorexia, bulimia, a low-calorie diet and or a restrictive diet. For women of normal weight, frequent strenuous and intense exercise can affect ovulation as well.
The doctor will start by discussing your health history, sexual history, sex habits, and medications being taken. For men she will perform a physical exam and a sperm analysis. For women she will perform a physical exam, a pelvic exam, blood test to measure hormone levels, ultrasound to examine the uterus and the ovaries and a specific X-ray test for uterus and tubes. From these she will determine the cause of infertility which determines the treatment needed.
Treatment for Men
If the problem is widening of the blood vessels in the testes, or blockage of the vas deferens, surgery will correct it. For infections, the doctor will give antibiotics, and for erectile and ejaculation problems she will give medications and/or counseling. If the problem is hormonal then she will give hormone treatments.
Treatment for Women
A woman who is trying to conceive can be given hormones and fertility pills to help with ovulation and to restore hormone levels. Surgery may be necessary to remove scar tissue to open blocked fallopian tubes.
When necessary, the couple that is trying to get pregnant can be helped with assisted reproductive technology (ART). ART can be intrauterine insemination in which sperm is collected from the man and placed directly inside the uterus during ovulation. It can also be in vitro fertilization in which the sperm and egg are collected and fertilization happens in the lab. Then the embryo is placed in the woman’s uterus. The third ART method involves collection of sperm and egg and then placing both in the fallopian tube.
Supporting Fertility Naturally With Supplements
People explore alternative remedies when they have been unsuccessfully trying to get pregnant or when they cannot afford conventional treatments. This may include dietary change, avoiding intoxicating substances, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, exercising more, and taking fertility products mostly sold as dietary supplements.
An example of fertility support products that have become popular in recent years recently is Conceive Plus. They consist of a gel (or fertility lubricant) and fertility support pills. The lubricant is used as a personal lubricant during sex. According to the manufacturer, it creates an ideal environment for the sperm to reach the egg and may boost the ability to fertilize the egg naturally. As for the secret ingredient that is supposed to produce the magic – well, labels indicate that the lubricant contains essential magnesium and calcium that support the fertilization process. The applicator is pre-filled so woman can apply it discreetly to the genital area 10 to 15 minutes before sex. Alternatively, she can insert it inside herself using an applicator that comes with the product: the other format available, is a tube and used just like a regular personal lubricant. Potential users will find a published study on this product, and it is patented.
The fertility pills, Conceive Plus Men and Women’s Fertility Support contain minerals and vitamins that prepare the body for conception. They improve the regulation of body systems and promote natural fertility for women and men who are trying to conceive.
A couple can choose to use the fertility lubricant on its own or to combine it with the fertility pills. Public opinion gleaned from reviews on Amazon and news articles indicates that Conceive Plus fertility products are popular because people are getting positive results despite certain preexisting medical conditions. In the US, Conceive Plus has FDA cleared products sold by major retailers. Note that they have a wide product range and the FDA does not regulate dietary supplements itself.
The Difference Between Fertility Support Supplements and Infertility Treatment?
In a nutshell: Fertility support supplements are different. In the case of Conceive Plus: it is not a fertility treatment. They do not sell products that treat infertility. Their products help remove the barriers to fertility and support natural fertility. These are products that support the path to getting pregnant, naturally. It comes in the form of supplements to help prepare the body to conceive as well as a fertility lubricant that helps the fertilization process. (Visit Conceive Plus fertility support for more information.)
Then, infertility treatment covers a range of prescription medicine and procedures such as IVF. The latter is much more costly – hence couples often tend to try for a few months, using fertility support supplements, before opting for infertility treatment. They cannot actually opt for infertility treatment until diagnosed infertile.
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