Happy new week friends. Hope you all are already working towards your 2021 set goals. Last week, I told you about infertility in men and women. Today, I will tell you about the necessary tests and oral and intravenous medicines for infertility. Next week, I will tell you about the rest of the infertility treatments which are more advanced.
Finding the cause of infertility and the right treatment can be a long and emotional process which involves several check-ups, tests, complete patience and cooperation from the couple. When a couple visit’s a fertility specialist, the doctor will document medical history by taken note of their health and sexual histories. The doctor also carries out a physical examination on the couple. This is part of the initial step which may or may not detect the root cause of the problem. However, more tests are carried out for more accurate diagnosis and proper solution finding.
In women, the initial test is finding out if she is ovulating every month or not. In order to get the right answer and eliminate any doubts and what ifs, the woman usually tracks her ovulation at home on a monthly basis by:
- Writing down the changes in temperature in her body every morning for a given period of time as directed by her doctor
- Taking note of the look or appearance of her cervical mucus for some months
- Using a home ovulation test kit to check if she is ovulating monthly or not
In men, the initial step is testing the semen. The doctor looks at the number, shape and movement of the sperm. The man’s hormone levels may also be tested.
COMMON TESTS FOR INFERTILITY IN WOMEN
- Ovulation Test: This is carried out through a blood test. Also an ultrasound of her ovaries maybe done to determine if she is ovulating, and if the ovulation is normal.
- Hysterosalpingography: This is simply an x-ray of the uterus and fallopian tubes. This helps to find physical blocks that can keep the sperm from reaching the egg, and also keep the egg from moving from the fallopian tubes to the uterus.
- Laparoscopy: This is a minor surgery in order to see the abdomen. The doctor checks the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus for conditions such as endometriosis, and physical problems such as scarring.
Infertility specialists usually recommend treatments based on:
- Test results
- How long the couple has been trying for a child?
- Age of the man and woman
- Health of the couple
- Preference of the couple
After due considerations of the above, infertility can be treated with one or combination of the following; medicine, surgery, artificial insemination, and assisted reproductive technology.
INFERTILITY TREATMENT IN MEN
- Sexual Problems: Impotence or premature ejaculation can be treated with some medicine and behavior therapy.
- Low Sperm Count: Antibiotics are used to clear up infections affecting sperm count. Also, surgery can be used to correct the cause of the problem.
- Sperm Movement: Surgery is usually used to correct blockage in the man’s reproductive system.
INFERTILITY TREATMENT IN WOMEN
There are medicines used in the treatment of infertility in women. They are as follows:
- Clomiphene Citrate: This is seen in brand names like Clomid. This is an oral medicine used for women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and ovulation related problems. It induces ovulation by acting on the pituitary gland.
- Human Menopausal Gonadotropin-hMG: This is commonly referred to as Menotropins. It is seen in brand names like Repronex and Pergonal (discontinued in the USA).They are injections for women that do not ovulate due to problems with their pituitary gland. They help in stimulating healthy ovaries to make eggs, thereby increasing the chances of pregnancy. It is a common source of the hormones for IVF treatment.
- Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH): This is seen in brand names like Gonal-F and Follistim. Like Human Menopausal Gonadotropin, they also stimulate the ovaries to start the process of producing eggs.
- Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (Gn-RH) analog: This is seen in brand names like Lupron and Decapeptyl. These are injections or nasal sprays used for women with irregular ovulation. They change when the woman ovulates by acting on the pituitary gland.
- Metformin: This is seen in brand names like Glucophage, Fortamet, Glumetza, and Riomet. These are oral medicines used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes in overweight people. They are used for women with insulin resistance and/or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) as they help lower the high levels of male hormones in women with this problem.
- Bromocriptine: This is seen in brand names like Parlodel. This is used for women with ovulation problems due to high levels of prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that causes milk production. They are also used in the treatment of pituitary tumors, Parkinson’s disease, neuroleptic malignant syndrome, and type 2 diabetes
Interestingly, most fertility drugs increase a woman’s chances of having twins, triplets, or other multiples. Most women who are pregnant with multiples usually have more problems during pregnancy, and are considered high risk pregnancies. There is always a high risk of premature childbirth/delivery, and premature babies are at a higher risk of health and development problems.
It is necessary to note that just because a woman has trouble getting pregnant, it does not mean she will have trouble carrying that child to term. It also does not mean she must have twins or other multiples. Remember that the information given here is for educational and informative purposes, do not embark on any kind of self-medication. Consult a fertility specialist as soon as possible for proper diagnosis and treatment options.