An Uncommon Cause:Adenomyosis

The causes of infertility are varied and can also be missed or mildly diagnosed. 

Before our 3rd IVF treatment I was not particularly diagnosed as infertile but was classed as unknown cause and prescribed clomid, an hormone stimulating drug to stimulate my ovaries to produce more eggs. 

This  did not work and so the process of fertility treatment started with no specific diagnosis.

I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, and always felt this may have an impact on why we were not getting pregnant. We were fortunate enough to find a clinic that looked after our particular circumstances. 

Some women may not have a specific diagnosis but will have to go through the IVF process and be successful. While others may have several attempts without success. 

This was the experience Gabrielle Union had,  in an interview with the stylist she  talked about how she went undiagnosed through multiple rounds of IVF, with different leading doctors.

She suffered from a condition called adenomyosis

According to the NHS, this is a condition where the cells of the lining of the womb are found in the muscles wall of the womb (myometrium). The condition affects 1 in 10 women.

The most common symptoms are 

Heavy or painful periods,

Premenstrual pelvic pain. 

Feeling of heavy/discomfort in the pelvic.

Less common symptoms are:

Painful sexual intercross.

Pain related to bowel movement.

It can occur in women who still have periods but are common in women aged 40-50 and in women who have had children.

The cause of adenomyosis is unknown but It is believed that it may be related to genes, hormones and the immune system. 

Adenomyosis will not present itself as other causes of Infertility and about a third of women will not have any symptoms. 

It is not routinely diagnosed and may be found during a routine scan. Hence the reason lots of women may go undiagnosed. 

Like other causes of infertility, this is a condition which affects several areas of a woman’s life, their emotional well-being, relationships, and daily routines. It is disheartening to know that this is only coincidentally found during a routine scan.

Reason for delay in diagnosis is due to the fact that some women have no symptoms at all, hence a routine scan may be the first indication of a problem. 

Women have different symptoms and these symptoms may be due to other illnesses as well,  such as (pelvic inflammatory disease or irritable bowel syndrome).

The similarities to this illness and other diseases means that many women suffer infertility for years without being diagnosed, and diagnosis may be late in coming at a time when many have given up hope or are in menopause.

For Ms Union, her doctor delves into her past as a young woman asking lots of questions about her menstrual cycle, which led to her diagnosis. 

What to do if you suspect or have any of the symptoms above.

Speak to your doctor about your experiences with your periods, request for an MRI scan (magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), this will produce a picture of the inside of your body

Available treatments 

Get the details about the available treatment before making a decision. 

The delay in diagnosis unfortunately has led to lack of treatment specific to the illness. the symptoms rather than causes can be treated with prescription for heavy or painful periods. 

  • If you suffer from  heavy or painful periods, you may be prescribed non hormonal medicines like tranexamic acid and mefanamic acid).

  • Contraceptive pills to stop bleeding.

  • Induce false menopause by injection, causing her lining of three women to shrink.( No usually for long term use).

  • Uterine artery embolisation – injecting tiny particles into the blood vessels, the aim is to cut off the blood supply to the adenomyosis. This is less invasive and may help to prevent infertility. But symptoms may return in future.

In Gabieller’s experience, she was diagnosed after several failed IVFs and only a change of doctor and detailed investigation led to the correct diagnosis. 

Her doctor was honest and after explaining the difficulty she’s faced, prescribed Lupron.

Although Lupron gives a 30% chance of pregnancy, . they decided against it in favour of surrogacy and are now the happy parent to a beautiful baby girl.

Next Step.

Remain persistent with your doctor, you need to be responsible for your health and well being so do not settle for a simple explanation if you have failed after several attempts. 

Do not be discouraged if your doctor dismissed your concerns. Ask for  a second opinion.

The party parliamentary group on women’s health revealed a lack of awareness on what is considered a ‘normal menstruation’ may that indicates a more serious issue.

  • Explore other options earlier on in your fertility journey and avoid delays which may lead to difficulties later on. 

Do all that is within your capabilities to get pregnant and hope for a successful end. 

I hope you have been better informed by this and inspired by the story of Gabrielle Union not to give up.

 If you suspect your symptoms are those described above you can find more from the adenomyosis association’s website at www.adenomysisassociation.org

For more help and advice contact the NHS choice at www.nhs.uk

Your partner in hope

D’Ebi

Related content 

https://faithfulwait.com/2020/03/10/surrogacy-finding-a-surrogate/

https://faithfulwait.com/2020/02/29/surrogacy-i-call-it-a-helping-hand/

https://faithfulwait.com/2019/06/13/causes-of-infertility-in-men/

https://faithfulwait.com/2019/01/20/whatever-you-do-dont-stop-trying/

https://faithfulwait.com/2018/08/13/single-women-and-ivf/

Signs Of Infertility

We have been writing about surrogacy and the reason to embark on a surrogate journey, on this page for a while:

This led me to think about signs of infertility. The more I speak with friends and those who have tried for a while the more  obvious it  becomes  that some couples delay in seeking help. 

So this post focuses on signs of infertility and when to seek help. 

See similar post herehttps://faithfulwait.com/2016/06/08/infertility-when-to-seek-help/

Infertility affects both male and female. In previous post we discussed that a third of infertility issues comes from women, the other third from men or combination of both, other factors related to unknown causes.

Below is a list of signs of infertility for women

  1. Painful sex
  2. Heavy; long or paid periods: could be a sign of endometriosis, this is a condition where tissues found in the womb are present elsewhere in the body.
  3. Irregular menstrual cycle.
  4. Hormone changes: a test by your doctor can detect changes in hormones: hormone change can lead to weight gain, facial hair in female, loss of sex drive, acne.
  5. Underlying medical conditions: such as damage to Fallopian tubes, PCOS, cancer. Rheumatoid Arthritis ( which is a condition I was diagnosed of).
  6. Obesity:

infertility in men:

 Signs of infertility in men can include 

  1. Hormone imbalance: The key hormone for male is Testosterone where problem with the testes can cause infertility. The males testes have two hormones  which make sperm, the luteinizing hormones and the stimulating hormones.  These hormones are produced by pituitary glands so any problems with this gland Amy also led to infertility in men.
  2. Erectile dysfunction: failure to have erection during sex can be as a result of stress or other psychological factors. Please seek medical intervention If this becomes a regular occurrence.
  3. Ejaculation problem: Any change or difficulty in ejeculation, can result in infertility, medical advice should be sought where this becomes a frequent occurrence 
  4. Problems with the testicle:  This may include swollen, painful, or tender testicles. If you noticed any of these or other changes in your testlces please seek help.
  5. Obesity: Obesity can affect both male and female fertility. It is important to keep your weight under check if you are trying for a baby. 

Other causes of infertility include 

  • Age
  • Excessive drinking/consumption of alcohol
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Smoking
  • Poor diet

When to seek help.

If you experience any of the above signs,  please consult your doctor if you are under 35 and have been trying for more than a year (6 months if you are over 35 of age).

Changes to make to boost your fertility 

Change of lifestyle may include having healthier meals

Exercise 

Decreases of total reduction of alcohol 

Keeping your weight in check.

Conclusion

It is important to observe your body for any signs of changes and consult your doctor as soo. As possible to avoid delays in getting pregnant

Your partner in Hope

References

D,Ebi

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A Painful Decision

I love doing this, bringing awareness and hope to those on this journey.

This post will feature the story of a dear friend and their painful infertility journey.

Infertility is a destroyer of relationships, love and happiness.

A once happy vibrant couple can become bitter resentful and sometimes split as a result of the intensity brought on by infertility. The inability to conceive or birth a child can take away one’s hopes and dreams.

Izzy was once a vibrant, happy go lucky woman, she loves life, her job and her faith. She was 26 when she met David a simple happy guy, they were perfect for each other. After dating for one year they decided to tie the knot.

Before their wedding they made a private vow to never ever allow anything to change who they are. They love their carefree happy life and vowed to do everything to make sure it stayed that way.

They even wrote a poem to emphasis the point.

Our love will grow and may slow,

We may sail down paths unknown and encounter scenes unseen

But we will keep in view the picture of love that keeps us bound and sane.

And should we tread the path of pain

May we anchor to you our source of strength and eternal hope.

this was printed and placed in their living room. Wedding was celebrate in the simplest way possible and a year later they decided to try for baby. Little did they know fate had other plans waiting for them.

This decision changed the course of their lives and relationships. After a year of trying without success they sought help. By now Izzy was 28 and David 30.

Low sperm count how is that possible? David mused, why me, how how can it be. Several options for conception were presented to them, donor sperm, IVF, ISCI, AI.

David was not an excessive drinker, never smoked, never used drugs, he lived a healthy life. How is that possible? turns out he may have been born that way.

They decided to explore other options. They embraced all treatments option wholeheartedly, still nothing. Izzy was very supportive and finally  David agreed they should go for IVF Using a donor sperm.

THE PROCESS

The process was successful and implantation took place, then pregnancy.. they remained hopeful but were cautious, this was their first conception. Please Lord they prayed, may nothing go wrong.

But 2 month in, disaster struck, suddenly all symptoms stopped and she immediately knew something was wrong.

A scan confirmed their worst fear, no heartbeat was detected. They had suffered a miscarriage.

This loss was very difficult  particularly given their situation, needless to say they were both heart broken. David more so as he felt helpless and guilty, how is he supposed to help his wife, he is the cause yet he can’t do anything about it.

It was an intense period of grief for them. How can they come so close only to be still so far.

It was too painful and this led them to take the painful decision not to go down the IVF rout again.

Their Decision?

If it happens so be it. But they will not put themselves, their happiness, well being and relationship on the line.

This was by no means an easy decision for the couple mainly because David  has a low spent count.

Sadly I have met quite a few couples who have decided not to pursue their dream of being parents via IVF as a result of the intense pain and heartbreak suffered from miscarriage or failure.

We came close to making that choice as each miscarriage and failed IVF becomes more lingual than the last.

I found the pain of another failure more intense than the last.

THE FUTURE

Well 3 years down the line Izzy and David  have somehow rebuilt their lives again and are well on their way to the coupe they were before IVF.

How did they do it? Find our in the next article. Ways to come back from a failed treatment.

Related post

https://faithfulwait.com/2016/09/22/exploring-other-options/

Pregnancy Over 35!

Today we learnt, our very own duchess Megan is pregnant at age 37. The little darling is expected in spring of 2019.

How amazing. She was beaming from ear to ear as she touched down in Australia earlier today.

Why this post you may wonder?

Well, it is a good news story and l love sharing good news, she is 37! And often we are told how difficult it is to conceive over that age.

We are constantly told and with good reason that a woman’s fertility falls off significantly once she reaches her 35th birthday, according to Katherine O’Brien, head of policy research at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (bpas), women should not  panic about conception after the age of 35.

According to her, there are evidence which suggests that having sex twice a week, 82 per cent of women aged 35-39 will conceive within one year of trying.

While women in their late thirties might have to try harder to conceive, they stand a high chance of falling pregnant relatively swiftly (HUFFPOST).

Of course the biological clock is real but the age with the most decline is in one’s 40s.

That is not to say women below the age bracket cannot be faced with problems.

Women of any age can be faced with infertility.

We started trying when I was 30, and I only fell pregnant after a few IVF attempts at age of 38.

The bottom line here is that a woman who leads a relatively healthy life like Magen does have a higher chance of falling pregnant.

Luck or Cause:

I use to have to deal with comments which suggests we were just unfortunate. “you are so young and can’t get pregnant”? I also thought it was my fate to suffer this disease, friends who have also suffered this disease often joked that they were unlucky.

Knowing what I know now I don’t think my particular situation was down to luck, I had an underlying disease which I believe affected my ability to fall pregnant easily.

For others they may have lived  a relatively healthy life and still for some reason unable to fall pregnant. So it could be luck for some and medical for others? I don’t know.
But generally adopting a healthy lifestyle is of great benefit to a achieving one’s  quest for parenthood.

I know Megan is lives a healthy lifestyle and maybe just maybe luck was also on her side. Regardless it’s nice not to suffer the dreaded disease.

Causes of infertility

women in their mid to late thirties conceive naturally if they are ovulating regularly and have no known cause of sub-fertility and have maintained a healthy lifestyle when there is no male factor problem. Men’s age also has an impact on their fertility.”

According to the NHS websites the known causes of infertility are

Irregular ovulation

Endometriosis

Low spent count,

Low egg quality

Age

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Polycystic ovary

Cervical mucus problem.

It advised women over 35 to consult their GP if they have not conceived after trying regularly for 12 months.


Everyone’s story is different, whether you have been trying for a few months or a few years, keep your hopes alive with the news of Megan’s pregnancy. Who knows Mother Nature may smile on you soon.

Whatever the length of time please seek medical help if you have been trying for 12 months without success.

Your partner in Hope

D’Ebi

Related post

https://faithfulwait.com/2018/02/22/endometriosis-a-cause-of-infertility/

https://faithfulwait.com/2018/03/19/infertility-a-male-and-female-issue/

https://faithfulwait.com/2018/09/15/good-news-statistics/

https://faithfulwait.com/2018/04/08/a-womans-dilemma-is-40-too-old/

Infertility: When to seek help

Following on from my post, causes of infertility in women  in women, I want to examine the treatment options available;

LIFE (1)According to the Human fertilization and embryology Authority, 80% of couples who have regular sexual intercourse (that is, every two to three days) and who do not use contraception will get pregnant within a year.

The majority of the remaining 20% achieve a pregnancy within two years of trying.

An estimated one in seven couples has difficulty conceiving. There are several possible reasons for not getting pregnant naturally.

In men, Infertility is usually due to low numbers or poor quality of sperm.

Women become less fertile as they get older. For women aged 35, about 95% who have regular unprotected sexual intercourse will get pregnant after three years of trying. For women aged 38, only 75 % will do so. The effect of age upon men’s fertility is less clear.

Sometimes infertility problems can be due to a combination of factors. It is reported that in a third of cases, a clear cause is never established.what to do when you feel stuck

Where can I get help?

If you have not been able to get pregnant after two years of regular, unprotected sexual intercourse, either one or both of you may have a fertility problem.

However, you don’t need to wait that long to seek help, see your family Doctor as soon as possible, if you are concerned about the length of time.

At the initial stage:  …Your doctor will take a medical history, give you a physical examination and may recommend some tests or a few change in lifestyle.

You will be offered a test, if you have been trying to get pregnant for over a year, to check that you are ovulating and your partner should be offered tests to check his sperm.

Further test will be offered (see below) if nothing is found after carrying out the above test:

Initial test includes: for Women

  • Cervical smear test if you haven’t had one recently.
  • Urine test for chlamydia, which can block your fallopian tubes, preventing you from becoming pregnant.
  • Blood test to see if you are ovulating. This is done by measuring progesterone in a blood sample taken seven days before your period is due.
  • Blood test to check for German measles (Rubella) which, if contracted during the first three months of pregnancy, can harm your unborn baby.
  • Blood test during your period to check for hormone imbalances –measurement of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone, LH (luteinising hormone) and oestradiol. This test can also identify possible early menopause as a cause of subfertility.

Tests for men

  • Sperm test to check for abnormalities.
  • Urine test for chlamydia, which, in addition to being a known cause of infertility in women, can also affect sperm function and male fertility.

 what happens next?

  • If your test results are normal and you have been trying for a baby for less than 18 months, your family doctor may suggest you make a few lifestyle changes and continue trying to conceive naturally.
  • If the tests reveal a possible fertility issue, your doctor will refer you to a fertility specialist, who will carry out further tests and possible treatment at your local hospital or fertility unit.

Getting help and getting it quick is very important especially if you are over 30. Although statistics shows that more people over 35 are having kids, it is important to seek help early in order to get the help you need if necessary.

my prayer and hope for you is that you will find help and in so doing, come to know the joy of having a child of your own.

Your partner in hope:

Debbie

 

Other Related article:

causes of infertility in women

sources

Human fertilisation and embryology authority, NHS

 

Causes Of Infertility In Women 

Causes of infertility in Women

Statistics shows that 1 in 8 couples will suffer infertility. Infertility is the inability to conceive. In some cultures, infertility is often viewed as a woman’s fault, although this is not true. In a 3rd of cases it is due to low sperm count.  


Causes of infertility in women includes and not limited to the following

Damage to the Fallopian tubes

The fallopian tubes are the tubes along which an egg travels from the ovary to the womb. The egg is fertilised as it travels down the fallopian tubes. When it reaches the womb, it is implanted into the womb’s lining, where it continues to grow.

If the womb or the fallopian tubes are damaged, or stop working, it may be difficult to conceive naturally.

Ovulatory Problems

infertility is most commonly caused by problems with ovulation (the monthly release of an egg). Some problems stop women releasing eggs at all, and some cause an egg to be released during some cycles, but not others.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where small pieces of the womb lining, known as the endometrium, start growing in other places, such as the ovaries.

This can cause infertility because the new growths form adhesions (sticky areas of tissue) or cysts (fluid-filled sacs) that can block or distort the pelvis. These make it difficult for an egg to be released and become implanted into the womb.

It can disturb the way that a follicle (fluid-filled space in which an egg develops) matures and releases an egg.

Scarring From Surgery

Pelvic surgery can sometimes cause damage and scarring to the fallopian tube or shorten the cervix (the neck of the womb).

Cervical mucus defect

When you are ovulating, mucus in your cervix becomes thinner so that sperm can swim through it more easily. If there is a problem with your mucus, it can make it harder to conceive.

Submucosal fibroids

Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumours that grow in, or around, the womb. Submucosal fibroids develop in the muscle beneath the inner lining of the womb wall and grow into the middle of the womb.

Submucosal fibroids can reduce fertility, although exactly how they do this is not yet known. It is possible that a fibroid may prevent an embryo from implanting itself into your womb.

Pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the upper female genital tract, which includes the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries. It is often the result of a sexually transmitted infection (STI). PID can damage and scar the fallopian tubes, making it virtually impossible for an egg to travel down into the womb.

Medicines and drugs

The side effects of some types of medication and drugs can affect your fertility. These medicines are outlined below.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Long-term use or a high dosage of NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, can make it more difficult for you to conceive.

Chemotherapy. Medicines used for chemotherapy (a treatment for cancer) can sometimes cause ovarian failure, which means your ovaries will no longer be able to function properly. Ovarian failure can be permanent.

Neuroleptic medicines are antipsychotic medicines often used to treat psychosis. They can sometimes cause missed periods or infertility.

Spironolactone – this is a type of medicine used to treat fluid retention (oedema). Fertility should recover around two months after you stop taking spironolactone.

Age

Infertility in women is also linked to age. The biggest decrease in fertility begins during the mid-thirties. Among women who are 35, 95% will get pregnant after three years of having regular unprotected sex. For women who are 38, only 75% will get pregnant after three years of having regular unprotected sex.

No Identifiable Reason or Unexplainable

if after carrying out all the above test and your results come out normal, you may be classed as unexplained, this was where I found myself.

We were told there is no reason why I should not fall pregnant with a year of trying.

It was not until two failed IVE cycle, 2 miscarriages several other treatments we fell pregnant.

Conclusion

The causes of infertility are numerous and differs for men and women. It is important to seek help if you have been trying for a year without success.

Disclaimer 

The writer is not a medical doctor. The views expressed here are from her personal experiences and research from the various medical resources like the NHS, infertility net work U.K. Please consult your Doctor if you need help with your diagnosis.