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What is Secondary Infertility? Tips and Management

If you previously had a child, and now have difficulty conceiving, then you are suffering from secondary infertility. However, for you to be classified as someone with secondary infertility, you must have conceived the first child naturally, without any fertility medications or medical procedures.

Most often, women are diagnosed with secondary infertility after they have tried in vain to conceive for at least twelve months for their second child.

The cause of secondary infertility is often traced to one or both partners. It usually includes a range of conditions or a combination of factors including advanced age, addictive habits such as alcohol and cigarette addiction, certain medications, complications from a prior pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. For women, the most common causes of secondary infertility include conditions like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, weight gain, and problems with their reproductive organs.

Meanwhile, the most common causes of secondary infertility in men include poor quality sperm, prostate enlargement, prostate removal, drugs that affect sperm count, using certain toxic sexual lubricants, as well as reduced testosterone levels caused by conditions like genital infections, diabetes, mumps, tuberculosis, smallpox, and emotional stress.

If you suspect that you are suffering from secondary infertility, you do not need to freak out. Rather you need to consult with your doctor immediately so you can get help. Your doctor will most likely review your medical history to determine if there have been any changes from the last time you had your baby. He will also try to find out whether or not your menstrual cycle is regular. Once the cause of your infertility is identified, your doctor will then proceed to put you on the right treatment plan.

Some of the best treatment options for women with infertility include:

  1. Medications: Just like primary infertility, women going through secondary infertility could be prescribed drugs like Clomiphene and Letrozole to induce ovulation.
  2. Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This procedure may also be recommended to surgically place sperms inside the uterus to boost the chances of fertilization and pregnancy.
  3.  In Vitro fertilization (IVF): This is another surgical procedure that involves retrieving eggs from the woman and fertilizing them in a lab to form the embryo.
  4. Antioxidants and anti-aging supplements:  These drugs can increase fertility in men.
  5. Surgery: Some women may also require surgery to treat the underlying cause of secondary infertility.  The surgery could be to repair a structural problem like taking out scar tissues, fibroids, or polyps which are known to make conceiving difficult or almost impossible.
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