Posts Tagged ‘Infertility Diagnosis’

What is a hysterosalpingogram? Also known as HSG…

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Hello! My name is Sarah, and I’m a specialist here at Fairhaven Health. From here on out, I’ll be writing the Fairhaven Blog! Some of you may already know me from the OvaCue Blog where I chart my  OvaCue Fertility Monitor data and offer insight by interpreting those readings. For those of you that don’t follow me there…Nice to meet you! I have the honor of talking with many wonderful women about their trying-to-conceive journeys and feel fortunate that we’re able to provide them support and assistance. Of course, I’m very familiar with the Fairhaven Health product line (I track my ovulation every day! ) and look forward to sharing advice and information relevant to trying-to-conceive couples. Which brings us to my first topic….

What is a hysterosalpingogram?

Try saying that five times fast! Recently, I’ve had quite a few women call, explaining that they recently had an HSG (hysterosalpingogram) test. While familiar with the term HSG, I’ll admit to not having a detailed understanding of what takes place procedurally in an HSG test. This became very clear when women began calling to discuss changes they were seeing in their OvaCue readings…and I then began digging a bit deeper into this procedure. Little did I know, that a saline solution is used often during the procedure, which can alter your electrolyte levels and, thereby, impact OvaCue readings.

An HSG, simply stated, is an X-ray examination of a woman’s uterus and Fallopian tubes. Women that have been trying-to-conceive for some time often undergo this test to determine if a Fallopian tube is blocked, or to find problems in the uterus (such as, abnormal shape or structure, fibroids, polyps, etc). This information can help to eliminate or diagnose an issue that may be impacting a woman’s ability to conceive.

The procedure is often performed just after menstruation, but before ovulation – to ensure that you are not pregnant at the time of the exam. A thin tube is inserted through the vagina and cervix, and finally into the uterus. A contrast dye (which is visible in an X-ray) is then added into the tube and projects into the Fallopian tubes and uterus. As the dye flows through the female reproductive tract, X-ray pictures reveal any blockages or abnormalities. The dye is then absorbed naturally into the body. If a blockage is discovered, certain dyes may be used to remove the blockage.

Many benefits can come from this procedure. It is a short, minimally invasive procedure that can provide valuable information about structural problems that can impact fertility. Another added benefit may be that if a blockage is found during the exam, the dye can potentially unblock and open the Fallopian tube. Risks include exposure to radiation, though minimal. If there is a chance you are pregnant or have an untreated sexually transmitted disease, it is important to discuss these issues with your physician prior to the procedure.

One thing I’ve discovered from discussions with ladies that have undergone this exam is that they experienced some cycle irregularity that first cycle or two after the exam. Some women skipped a period entirely. Interestingly, I wasn’t able to find this “risk” anywhere online. So, please take it with a grain of salt, but it may be something to consider.

Well, there you have it! Now, if you ever hear the term HSG mentioned or if your doctor discusses this as an option for you – at least you have some understanding of what goes into an HSG examination.

What is a Semen Analysis (SA) Exactly?

Thursday, December 9th, 2010

Unfortunately, when trying to get pregnant many couples encounter difficulties and visiting a fertility specialist becomes necessary. This is not just for the ladies…men may be asked to have a semen analysis done as inadequate sperm count, motility, and/or morphology affects more than 30% of couples facing infertility. A semen analysis measures the amount and quality of semen in the sample to determine if there is infertility issue.

The preparation for a semen analysis is actually quite simple. He may be asked to abstain from any sexual activity 2-4 days before the analysis. It is also recommend to not avoid sexual activity for the 1-2 weeks before the analysis, because sexual inactivity can hinder the results. At the appointment, he is asked to masturbate into a clean, wide mouthed bottle. This bottle is then delivered to the laboratory for testing. Men that are concerned with the process of masturbating in the doctor’s office should ask for alternate ways to provide the sample.

Approximately 30 minutes after the sample is taken (allowing the semen to liquefy), multiple tests are performed:

Semen Volume: 2-6 ml is a normal volume of ejaculate in a healthy man. An especially high or low volume can signify an issue that may need to be investigated.

Semen Viscosity: Semen should liquefy in about 30 minutes. If it doesn’t liquefy, this likely indicates an infection of the seminal vesicles and prostate.

Semen pH: The alkaline pH protects the sperm from the acidity of vaginal fluids.

Presence of fructose: Fructose provides energy for sperm motility – an absence of fructose may indicate a block in the mail reproductive tract.

Sperm Count: Sperm count is measured by an examination under the microscope. If the sample is less than 20 million per sperm per ml, this is considered low sperm count.

Sperm Motility: Sperm motility is the ability of the sperm to move. For fertility purposes, it’s important to remember that only the sperm that move forward fast are able to fertilize the egg. Motility is graded from A to D;

A – sperm swim forward fast in a straight line

B – sperm swim forward, but in a curved or crooked line, or slowly

C – sperm move their tails, but do not move forward

D – sperm do not move at all

Grade C and D are of concern when testing for fertility.

Sperm Morphology: Sperm should have a regular oval head, with a connecting mid-piece and a long straight tail. Abnormal sperm is distorted in shape (round heads, large heads, double heads, absent tails, etc). A normal sample should have at least 15% with normal form.

Sperm Clumping: Sperm clumping (or agglutination) means sperm stick together. This impairs motility.

Pus Cells: Some white blood cells in the semen is normal – however, many pus cells suggest the presence of an infection.

For couples that are trying-to-conceive, if the semen analysis is abnormal, it will likely be repeated 3-4 times over a period of a couple months. This will help to confirm if there is indeed an abnormality present. If so, you can then work to treat that specific issue.

Not sure if you need a semen analysis? The SpermCheck fertility test is a convenient and affordable way to measure for normal count. You can test in the privacy of your own home, if the result shows low sperm count it would be a good indicator that thorough analysis is warranted.

There also are herbal supplements available on the market to help address issues with sperm count, motility, and morphology. FertilAid for Men works to promote the healthy production of sperm and has been shown to have a positive effect on all three of those parameters. For men diagnosed with low sperm count (under 20 million per ml), CountBoost can be taken in conjunction with FerilAid for Men to specifically address a low sperm count. For men diagnosed with low motility (grade c or d), MotilityBoost can be taken in conjunction with FertilAid for Men to specifically address poor motility.

Finally… an Accurate At-Home Sperm Test for Assessing Male Fertility

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Fairhaven Health Introduces the SpermCheck Fertility Test

No man relishes the idea of having a semen analysis conducted to assess his fertility. The prospect of “procuring a sample” in a clinical setting is enough to make most men uncomfortable, to say the least.

While laboratory-conducted semen analyses are by no means a thing of the past, there is at least now an at-home option that provides concrete data on one of the most critical parameters of male fertility – sperm count.

The brand-new SpermCheck Fertility Test is an easy-to-use, affordable (retails online for around $35) male fertility test distributed by Fairhaven Health. Within minutes, the SpermCheck Fertility Test can tell you if your sperm count is within the “normal” range – 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen or higher, as defined by the World Health Organization.

Developed by researchers at the University of Virginia, the SpermCheck Fertility Test works by detecting an antigen found on the surface of the head of a sperm cell known as SP-10. The method employed by the test has been demonstrated to be accurate 96% of the time.

To learn more about the SpermCheck Fertility Test, visit the product website. Units are available for purchase directly from Fairhaven Health.

Can I Take FertilAid if My Cycle is Already Regular?

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

It is true that FertilAid may help to normalize an irregular cycle, and as such, it is often used by women with cycle irregularity issues such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), however most of the women who take FertilAid already have regular cycles. This is because cycle regularity represents just one small facet of what FertilAid is designed to provide. FertilAid is designed to improve a woman’s overall reproductive health. Not only does it provide all of your preconception vitamin and mineral needs, but it also contains key herbal ingredients that have been found to benefit reproductive rates. If you have a regular cycle, you may experience a bit of irregularity initially as your body adjusts, but typically regularity is re-established fairly quickly. Foyhst-10669596438250_2073_885649r more information about FertilAid, visit www.fairhavenhealth.com.

What is PCOS?

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, also known as PCOS, is a hormonal imbalance that can adversely affect fertility due to an inconsistent menstruation cycle. PCOS is actually quite common, as it affects as many as 1 in 5 women. Most women with PCOS grow many small cysts on their ovaries, which is why it is called polycystic ovary syndrome. The cysts are not harmful, but lead to hormone imbalances and cycle irregularity. When a menstruation cycle is not regular, ovulation is difficult to predict (if it happens at all), making it difficult to pin-point optimal fertile days.

There is debate surrounding what causes PCOS. Many specialists believe that PCOS is genetic, others believe it is a result of weight gain. Other possible causes include: Insulin resistance (which can be connected to obesity), environmental chemical pollution, and abnormality of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (organ/hormonal disorder).

Symptoms often emerge in the sufferer’s teen years around the time of puberty, and include weight gain, acne, abnormal hair growth on the face, back, and fingers and toes. These are only a few symptoms of PCOS, and are the most recognizable.

Treatment of PCOS is largely dependent on the symptoms experienced by an individual woman. One of the most commonly recommended treatments is weight loss (this is only recommended for obese women). After successful weight loss efforts, many women with PCOS begin to experience cycle regularity. They may also see a decrease of other physical symptoms, or even a complete cessation of them. Specialists and doctors may also recommend attaining cycle regulation with progestins and proper supplementation such as FertilAid, which has been reported by many PCOS sufferers to have played a key role in regulating their cycles.

Infertility- It’s Not Just For The Ladies!

Monday, September 28th, 2009

In the past, when a couple had difficulties getting pregnant, the assumption was that the woman was ‘barren,’ or somehow responsible for the couple’s infertility. We now know, however, that a male factor plays a role in almost one half the cases.

Some Causes of Male Infertilitybaby-1

  • Low sperm count
  • Slow sperm movement (motility)
  • Abnormal shape and size of sperm (morphology)
  • Obstructive tubal blockages
  • Testicular injury or disease
  • Varicocele (a dilation of the testicular veins in the spermatic cord that leads from the testicles to the abdomen)
  • Genetic disorders
  • Drug use
  • Environmental toxins and radiation

The most common reason for infertility in men is the inability to produce adequate numbers of healthy sperm. Azoospermia refers to no sperm being produced while oligospermia is when few sperm are produced. Infertility in men may also be caused by impotence or disorders affecting ejaculation, such as inhibited ejaculation and retrograde ejaculation (when ejaculate is forced backward into the bladder). It may also be caused by failure of the testes to descend into the scrotum, which inhibits the production of sperm.

There are many other factors of male fertility issues that might explain low sperm count, slow sperm mobility and abnormal sperm shape. Some of which include- lifestyle, genetics, and physiology.

If You are a Man Trying to Conceive…

  • Stop smoking. Both cigarettes and marijuana. Smoking has been directly linked to low sperm count. Long-term use of marijuana can also result in low sperm count and abnormal development of sperm.
  • Drink less or no alcohol. Alcohol can reduce the production of sperm.
  • Be Weight Conscious. Both overweight and underweight men can develop fertility problems. Too much weight can cause hormonal disturbances. Too little weight can cause decreased sperm count and functionality.
  • Keep Cool and Comfortable. Heat is detrimental to sperm. Keep clothing loose and wear boxers. You should also avoid hot tubs and steam rooms.
  • Have Regular Sex. Recent studies show that the chances of conceiving go up if you’re having sex with regularity.
  • Avoid Chemicals and Toxins. Landscapers, contractors, manufacturing workers, and men who have regular contact with environmental toxins or poisons (pesticides, insecticides, lead, radiation, or heavy metals) are all at risk of infertility.
  • Consider Proper Supplementation. Ensure optimal fertility by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes proper nutrients and vitamins.

For more information about male fertility, visit the site of clinically proven FertilAid.

What are the Noticeable Symptoms of PCOS?

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Polycyctic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), is a rather complicated syndrome that, to some degree or another, affects about one in ten childbearing age women, some of whom are experiencing infertility as a result.

PCOS symptoms tend to be experienced gradually, usually in the early teens, after the first menstrual period. The first symptom is generally weight gain. Hormonal changes that lead to this weight gain include the release of androgens which are hormones that cause the typical male physical characteristics. These changes in hormones spur on symptoms such as:

  • Few or no menstrual periods
  • Hair loss
  • Hirsutism: Increased hair growth in strange places such as back, chest, face, fingers and toes
  • Anovulation: The inability to ovulate or release a mature egg from the ovary each month
  • Obesity
  • Acne
  • Skin Tags: Excess flaps of skin generally found around the armpit or groin
  • Acanthosis Nigricans: Areas of thick, darker skin found behind the neck, thighs or vulva
  • Sleep Apnea or snoring
  • Depression
  • Male-pattern baldness or hair thinning/loss
  • Lower abdomen pain

PCOS Sufferers have many other symptoms and health problems that are not noticeable without doctor consultation. These symptoms can be detected by a doctor during diagnosis. They include, but are not limited to: Insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, ovarian cycts, high blood pressure, and infertility.

For trying-to-conceive women, treatments of PCOS include fertility medications: Clomiphene (pills) and Gonadotropins (shots) can be used to stimulate the ovary to ovulate. Natural fertility supplements, such as FertilAid for Women, are popular with PCOS sufferers as well. If you would like more information about PCOS and ways to cope, see a fertility specialist or doctor. You may also wish to start a diet and exercise program to help lessen or cease your symptoms and inability to conceive.

Trying to Conceive with a Tipped Uterus

Wednesday, September 9th, 2009

One of our Facebook Fan Page friends just asked us, “I have heard that it is harder to get pregnant when you have an anteverted (tipped) uterus, Is this True?

I would like to address this for her, and share the information with all of you who may be wondering about this. A tipped uterus, which is also known as retroverted or anteverted uterus, is one that that is tilted backwards or forwards away from your belly (as opposed to the more usual straight up and down uterus). About 20% of women are born with a tipped uterus, but in some cases it is caused by childbirth. A tipped uterus is not one of the most commonly discussed factors of infertility and is typically only thought to be problematic when trying to conceive after all other possible reasons for fertility problems have been ruled out.

In a small percentage of women, fertility may be affected by having a retroverted uterus due to the impediment of sperm flow to the uterus for implantation. Many specialists recommend intercourse ‘from behind’ or with the ‘missionary position’ with a pillow propped under your lower back. If you would like to rule this out as a possible reason for conception difficulties, you may see an ObGyn or fertility specialist for a routine pelvic exam. There are procedures such as uterine suspension that can be performed to straighten your uterus which may help improve conception odds.

Email Address:
Categories
  • Male Infertility: Q & A with Fairhaven Health
    Why is infertility commonly considered to be a woman’s problem? Why is this not necessarily true? Please provide some research to support this. This is an interesting question. I am not sure if anyone really knows “why” infertility is most often considered to be a woman’s problem, but it is certainly the case that all […]
  • Baby Care is Going Back to Basics
    You — or your parents — can probably remember the initial nervousness of becoming a parent. Did you ever feel like you were fully prepared? Could you ever be fully prepared? For many new parents and parents-to-be, confidence is lacking. But don’t fret: Recent trends suggest that infant care is heading back to the basics. […]
  • Breastfeeding can be challenging for first-timers and veteran moms alike. What are common challenges and solutions to overcome them?
    In this article, Ethan Lynette offers strategies mothers can use to overcome common breastfeeding difficulties and provides tips for maintaining a consistent breastfeeding pattern.