Whenever conceiving a child proves to be a consistent obstacle, it’s common for a woman to worry about the possibility that her uterus may not be fit to sustain the implantation of a fertile egg (i.e., how “baby-friendly” it may be). While most women will thankfully not face such challenges, they can arise in some women and may be worth considering if infertility appears to be delaying pregnancy by as much as a year. In fact, here are a few legitimate conditions that may require extra attention and indicate some underlying uterine issues.
- Endometriosis: Among the most common causes of infertility in women, this condition affects as much as half of women struggling to conceive and can result in a number of symptoms, including pelvic or abdominal pain. It can affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes and nearby organs, but endometriosis most directly affects the uterus, as it occurs when the exterior uterine tissue begins to resemble the interior uterine lining. This may also result in the development of cysts and other complications that make matters even more difficult to treat.
- Uterine adhesions/scar tissue: While this can be caused by other uterine conditions (such as endometriosis), it’s so rampant among infertile women that it deserves its own spot on our list. When abnormal tissue develops on or around the uterus, it can lead to inflammation and a buildup of scar tissue that may block fertilization from taking place at all. If you suspect this may be the case, be sure to seek out a pelvic examination as soon as possible.
- Uterine fibroids and polyps: As you might imagine, any unexpected growths, however benign, aren’t exactly doing your uterus any favors when it comes to getting pregnant. So uterine fibroids and polyps -- which may cause a range of symptoms, such as abnormal menstruation -- can prove to be a particularly hazardous obstacle in getting pregnant. Since the surface of the uterus has been compromised, successful implantation of an egg within the womb can be increasingly difficult.
- Effects of hydrosalpinx: This condition may most directly affect the fallopian tubes, but it has been known to damage uterine function as well. It occurs when one of the tubes becomes irregularly blocked by the buildup of fluid, but when this fluid leaks into the uterus, it can wreak havoc on a woman’s chances of pregnancy. The greater the amount of fluid, the larger the impact hydrosalpinx can potentially have on restricting fertility.
- Abnormal hormone levels: Research has shown that elevated levels on certain critical reproductive hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can actually lead to a decrease in pregnancy, mucking up uterine function and making a woman’s body less prepared for carrying a child. It’s a good idea to double-check your hormone levels if you’re having difficulty with conception, as high levels could be preventing implantation.
- Uterine contour: Since your uterus is essentially your baby’s first home, it needs to be especially fit for his or her needs. So women affected by uterine contour (i.e., those who have a uterus that has become somewhat deformed or developed an abnormal physical shape) can run into an epic struggle trying to carry a fertilized egg. Consider looking into more in-depth diagnosis methods, such as a transvaginal ultrasound to determine if this is the case.
Diagnosis First, Treatment Later
No matter how anxious you may be to get pregnant, we encourage you to remain vigilant in your desire to see the dream of a beautiful new baby realized. Oftentimes, diagnosis is by far the most difficult part of infertility. So you have suspect you may be suffering from any of the above conditions -- or if you are otherwise ready to take your battle against infertility to the next level -- be sure to reach out to a fertility doctor who can guide you through the diagnosis process, bringing you that much closer to conception.