What Are the Reasons for Secondary Infertility?
The most common cause of secondary infertility is abortion. Generally, 10-20% of women who have previously had an abortion suffer from side-effect complications, which can harm their reproductive health. 50% of post-abortion patients suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases which affect the genital area.
More negative repercussions of having an abortion:
- disturbance of the menstrual cycle;
- metabolic disease;
- mastopathy and other diseases affecting the breasts;
- the development of vegetative-vascular dystonia as a result of endocrine and nervous system damage;
- stress, depression;
- inflammation of the genital appendages and cervical erosion;
- obstruction of the fallopian tubes and infertility;
The main cause of infertility following abortion is the hormonal disturbance which affects the entire female body after the surgical interruption of pregnancy. During pregnancy, the endocrine system secretes special hormones that help to protect the fetus. When interrupted, these hormones become unnecessary, but they continue to be secreted into the bloodstream for quite some time after the the fetus is aborted. Since these hormones can no longer be used as initially intended, they start to negatively affect the uterus, ovaries, and breasts (all hormone-dependent organs).
Following an abortion the uterus is extremely sensitive. The smallest infection can cause an acute inflammation of the genital appendages, cervix or the endometrium. If the infection leads to the development of scars, it can serve as a cause of infertility. During the abortion procedure the cervix does not open naturally, but is surgically torn. This can cause miscarriages during the 18-20 week stage of future pregnancies. What’s more, often during abortions the embryo is removed along with the basal layer of the endometrium and the myometrium (the muscular layer of the uterus). As a result, the recovering process of the endometrium is damaged, ovary processes are suppressed, and the menstrual cycle becomes disturbed.
An abortion is also incredibly psychologically stressful, which can also lead to hormonal imbalance in the body. The women that are most at risk for psychological stress are those whose recovery after an abortion exceeds a year, as well as women who had abortions after 3-4 months of being pregnant. In order to prevent infertility after an abortion, patients are required to undergo special therapeutic rehabilitation procedures. This can help in avoiding further complications.
Hormonal imbalance is the second leading cause of infertility. It is usually caused by diseases affecting the thyroid gland or ovary dysfunction, which lead to hormonal imbalance in the female body. The side-effects of this are irregular ovulation (or the absence of ovulation) as well as an irregular menstrual cycle. Secondary infertility can also be caused by excess body weight or a dramatic weight loss. In this case it’s imperative to normalize the patient’s BMI (body mass index) with the help of diet and physical exercise. Hormonal therapy can prove to be effective in this case, which is often helpful in cases with impaired thyroid and adrenal gland function.
Other causes of secondary infertility:
- ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage;
- polycystic ovaries and uterine fibroids;
- traumatic birth;
- endometriosis affecting the external genitals;
- hormonal imbalance in women;
- early menopause or other gynecological complications, as well as poor eating habits.
How is Secondary Infertility Treated?
Treatment for secondary infertility begins with a thorough panel of medical diagnostic tests. After the patient’s medical history is determined, the treating doctor can make use of several laboratory methods and procedures in order to establish the condition of the fallopian tubes, uterus, and hormonal balance. Only after the factors causing infertility have been determined can the treating doctor prescribe individual treatment.
How Can Secondary Infertility Be Prevented?
If there are no current plans to have a child, it is imperative to use contraception methods during sexual intercourse in order to keep the female reproductive system healthy. If an unwanted pregnancy should happen, an abortion should be sought out at the earliest possible stages of pregnancy. Abortions should be done under the supervision of a highly qualified specialist in order to avoid further complications.