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Protecting your fertility

Protect your fertility: good advice for women

If you want a child you don’t have to wait for too long.
Especially for women age it is a serious problem. In fact, while the sperm is produced continuously, the egg cells (oocytes) are the same for the whole life and jet older over time. For this reason, women fertility after age 35 decreases by 50 % and suffers another significant drop after 40 years old. With the age risk of chromosomal abnormalities also increases that lead to diseases child genetic, such as Down syndrome (a case on two thousand in their twenties, one out of twenty five women of forty years old), and diseases that affect the female reproductive tract, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids. With the age also the risk of miscarriage and obstetric complications such as placental abruption increases and the need to resort to Caesarean section ( impaired oxygenation and difficulties in the nourishment of the fetus. The oocytes age affects much the result.

Be careful to your weight
It may sound strange but the weight, not only obesity but also the excessive thinness, could affect fertility. In the body fat reserve the hormone androstenedione its accumulated the more you gain weight the more the hormone goes higher. In this way the hormonal balance it is altered and could affect menstrual regulation causing infertility. The obese adolescents often present their first period (menarche) soon, and their menstrual flow is irregular, abundant and prolonged, or otherwise may appear amenorrhea. On the other hand underweight women may suffer from an absence of menstruation (amenorrhea) which is often accompanied by absence of ovulation, and in this case are infertile. Moreover, in adolescents excessive thinness blocks the development of all the sexual characteristics such as breast development and the growth of pubic hair, and leads to a delay in the onset of first menstruation (menarche). If you are a teenager you should pay attention to all these signals: they are the alarm of a serious hormone alteration! Fortunately, however, resume an ideal weight , it could mean in most cases the return to regular menstrual cycles and to fertility. Ideal body weight results in the best outcome for fertility therapy and future outcomes for both mother and baby.

Don’t Smoke
The risk of infertility among smokers may be twice that of non-smokers. Women who smoke are at least 1.5 times more likely than non-smokers to take longer than a year to get pregnant. If a male partner is a heavy smoker, this will significantly contribute to delayed conception. Female passive smokers are more likely than women in non-smoking homes to take more than a year to get pregnant. Smoking women reach menopause earlier than non-smoking women. Smoking during pregnancy puts your baby at risk of health problems. Indeed smoking damages the genetic material in eggs and sperm, miscarriage and offspring birth-defect rates are higher among patients who smoke. Smoking tobacco also leads to increased miscarriage rates. Women who smoke are more likely to than nonsmoking mothers. Ectopic pregnancies and preterm labor.The good news? It’s estimated that most of the negative effects of smoking on fertility are reversed a year after stopping smoking.


Be careful to sexually transmitted diseases
Contracting a sexually transmitted disease it is dangerous (STD): your health can be adversely affected by the disease; your fertility may be put at risk by your STD. As a matter of fact, it has been reported that as many as one quarter of all infertility cases are caused by a previous STD. The most dangerous ones for fertility are:
Chlamydia
can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) as well as fallopian tube infection in women. Both may cause permanent damage to the fallopian tubes and uterus, leading to infertility.
Gonorrhea
In women, Gonorrhea can cause bleeding after sex and yellow or bloody vaginal discharge which can inflame the pelvic area, causing epididymitis, which can hamper conception. Trichomoniasis
A common cause of fallopian tube inflammation which can lead to scarring/blocked fallopian tubes, this common STD can adversely affect a woman’s ability to conceive if left untreated. Syphilis
Is an STD that can cause long-term complications if not treated correctly. Symptoms in adults are divided into stages. These stages are primary, secondary, latent, and late syphilis. You can get syphilis by direct contact with a syphilis sore during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Sores can be found on the penis, vagina, anus, in the rectum, or on the lips and in the mouth. Syphilis can also be spread from an infected mother to her unborn baby during pregnancy or delivery. Having syphilis can lead to a low birth weight baby. It can also make it more likely you will deliver your baby too early or stillborn (a baby born dead).

Don't drink alcohol
Alcohol can affect women’s reproductive systems, and damage fertility. It causes imbalances in the hormonal system that controls reproduction. Even small amounts of alcohol can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle and reduce the chance of conceiving. Long-term heavy drinking can cause women to have irregular periods or stop ovulating. Periods can stop altogether or they can have an early menopause. If a woman drinks alcohol when she’s pregnant, it passes directly to her unborn baby across the placenta via the bloodstream. Her unborn baby’s liver isn’t fully formed, so it relies on the mother's liver to metabolise (break down) the alcohol. When alcohol passes from the mother into the foetus' body it lacks oxygen and the nutrients needed for its brain and organs to grow properly. This can affect a baby’s development, leading to facial deformities and damage to the brain like poor memory or a short attention span and mental health problems, such as future alcohol or drug addiction. Problems like these are called Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), an umbrella term for life-long alcohol-related conditions caused by alcohol exposure before birth. Miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and small birth weight are other conditions associated with a mother’s binge drinking consuming more than six units on one occasion.

Published 16-05-2015 in Protecting your fertility , last update 08-06-2016

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