Friday, 25 May 2012

Infertility: Prevent And Tackle!

There's an alarming growth of infertility among young Indian women. What are the top reasons for it, when should you raise an alarm and visit a specialist? Here's some know-how.

Ask Dr Kaberi

Women are born with a fixed pool of eggs: One to two million at birth, 3,00,000-5,00,000 at puberty, which reduces to about 25,000 when a woman turn 37, and further goes down to 1,000 by the time she hits menopause. From 32, the ability to conceive per monthly cycle decreases gradually but significantly, and goes down rapidly after 37 - which shows a decrease in the egg quality. Lack of sexual activity is also a contributing factor.

Why Is Infertility On The Rise?

Latest research indicates that 10 percent of urban Indian couples in their reproductive age are infertile. However with women of 35 years of age and above, it is as high as 30-40 percent. The rising stats are due to the social changes in the past decade and a half. More women are focusing on their careers and are marrying late. The very process of planning for a baby is delayed.

Even today, most women are unaware of the exponential decline of fertility after the age of 35. Media highlights of celebrity wives and actors conceiving late in life are another negative influence on women. Most of us are unaware that these may be aided pregnancies. A high-powered career and pressure at work may also lead to a reduction in the sperm count of the man, or affect the woman's body negatively.

When Should You Visit A Doctor?

A couple should visit a specialist if they've had sex about 3-4 times a week for more than a year, and failed to conceive. However, women 35 years of age and above, who have been detected with a gynaecological issue such as polycystic ovaries, fibroids, endometriosis or pelvic tuberculosis, should visit a doctor immediately after the tests have shown positive for any of the above mentioned conditions. The actual treatment for infertility can be a mentally, financially and physically draining process for a couple. So it's best to be prepared!*

Top Reasons For Infertility
The main reasons for infertility are divided into four categories: Male factor, female factor, unexplained or both. Broadly speaking, each category is responsible for one fourth of the causes.

The man may have low-quality sperm, or there may be an absence of sperms. This could be because of birth anomalies, hormonal imbalances, an infection, trauma, or excessive smoking and intake of alcohol.

The "women" factor covers ovarian, tubal or uterine factors; poor egg quality possibly due to an infection, injury, cancer treatment, or increasing age. Endometriosis, polycystic ovary, fibroids and tuberculosis are other major causes of infertility among women.

How Can You Prevent It?
  • Try to conceive before you turn 33.
  • Try to lead a stress-free and happy life. Draw the line at the end of the day; cut off from work concerns, learn to relax.
  • Follow healthy lifestyle habits: Eat a well-balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids and say "no" to alcohol and smoking. Make exercise a part of your daily routine.
  • Practise meditation and yoga: It calms the mind and body.

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