October 24, 2018 By Dr. Beena Muktesh
Working women and infertility
Woman infertility – image via healthywomen.org
Infertility is the inability to produce a child, even after having timed and unprotected sex for a year. Infertility affects both men as well as women, and there are various factors which contribute to infertility. Infertility is of great concern since it has been rising rapidly in the past few decades and one in six couples today face the problem of infertility. Especially in women, there has been a surge in the number of cases of infertility.
Causes of infertility in women:
As already mentioned, there are various factors which may cause infertility in women. Some of them are:
- Ovulation disorders: infrequent ovulation or no ovulation at all accounts for infertility in 25% of the cases. Some common ovulation disorders include Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), hypothalamic dysfunction (which affects the production of FSH and LH), premature ovarian failure etc.
- Damaged fallopian tubes may also cause infertility in women as it prevents the sperm from reaching the egg or prevents the fertilized egg from reaching the uterus.
- Endometriosis is another major cause of infertility, as it keeps the sperm and egg from uniting. It also affects the uterine lining, creating further complications.
- Uterine problems like the presence of polyps or tumors, birth abnormalities, cervical stenosis etc.
Besides, in some cases, it may be difficult or even impossible to determine the cause of infertility.
The following factors have a significant effect on a woman’s reproductive system and can also cause infertility:
- Age: with passing age, the quality and quantity of eggs begin to decline. Especially after the mid-thirties, conception usually becomes quite difficult.
- Activities like smoking or drinking also increase the risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy and may even lead to infertility.
- Lifestyle: leading a sedentary lifestyle with excessive stress and poor diet is one of the major rising causes of infertility.
Stress and infertility:
In the modern world, stress has become an unavoidable phenomenon. The fast pace of life, increasing workload, irregular working hours etc. all add to physical as well as mental stress. Stress is linked to dangerous problems like increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, and also affects the reproductive system. Stress affects the reproductive system of both men and women, however, it’s effect is much more conspicuous in women than in men.
Unlike earlier times, the work of women today is similar to that of men and hence it has become very important to understand the relation, between infertility and working women. To study the same, various studies have been done by scientists all over the world. Some of the major findings of these studies are:
- Due to work, women today are subjected to increased levels of mental stress as compared to women of the earlier generations.
- Working women often tend to over-work and put their bodies under even more stress (both physical and mental).
- The undue stress leads to hormonal changes in women. It leads to a decline in the levels of estrogen (essential for reproduction) and an increase in the levels of androgens (male hormones).
- Women who lift or move heavy objects at work are even more affected. The number of antral follicles and the number of eggs are found to be lower in women subjected to physical stress at work.
- Women working in night shifts or rotational shifts are at a higher risk of infertility and have lower egg count.
- Working mothers have an extra added stress of managing family and professional life which may lead to secondary infertility (unable to conceive the second time).
Besides, working women also face other secondary problems like improper nutrition and are more prone to follow a sedentary lifestyle. This can lead to obesity and weight gain which further compounds the problem of infertility. Hence, working women are definitely at a higher risk of infertility as compared to women of older generations. The problem, however, can be mitigated to a great extent.
Managing fertility problems:
For working women, the problem can be significantly managed by following simple steps like:
A woman having a well balanced diet and also does yoga
- Avoiding stress, especially physical stress at work.
- Taking time off regularly to manage stress.
- Focusing on a healthy and well-balanced diet.
- Developing healthy habits like yoga, exercise etc.
- Avoiding changes in routine.
- Avoid overworking.
If needed, certain medications and treatment may be given to treat the condition of infertility in working women.
With the increasing cases and risks of infertility worldwide, it becomes essential to take proper precautionary measures and get regular checkups and tests done. At Cloudnine fertility centers, we have the best team of fertility doctors, infertility specialists, gynecologists, counselors and various other specialists who are well adept at treating infertility in women. Our state of the art facilities and well-trained staff ascertain that you get the best treatment and care for infertility and associated problems.
Must read – How to cope up with infertility?