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Definition of Sterility--Husband Should First be Examined--
One-child Sterility--The Fertile Woman--Salpingitis as a
Cause of Sterility--Leucorrhea and Sterility--Displacement of
Uterus and Sterility--Closure of Neck of Womb and Sterility--
Sterility and Constitutional Disease--Treatment of Sterility.
Sterility or barrenness is a condition of inability to have children.
In former years the opinion prevailed generally, whenever a couple was
childless, that the fault was exclusively the woman's. It wasn't even
thought that the man could be to blame. We now know that in at least
_fifty per cent._ of cases of sterility, or childless marriages, the
fault is not the woman's but the man's. It is therefore very unwise in
conditions of sterility to subject the wife to treatment without first
examining the husband. Nevertheless, this is still often the case,
particularly among the lower classes or among the ignorant. There are
cases where the woman goes from one doctor to another for years and is
subjected to all kinds of treatment, when a simple examination of the
husband would show that the fault lies with him.
Some women have one child and are unable afterwards to give birth to
any more. Such a condition is called one-child-sterility. It is
generally due to an inflammation of the Fallopian tubes which closes
up the openings of the tubes into the womb, so that no more ova can
pass _from_ the ovaries _through_ the tubes _into_ the womb. This
inflammation may be the result of childbirth, for childbirth alone may
set up an inflammation, or it may be due to an infection contracted
from the husband.
In order to be fertile, that is, to be able to conceive and give birth
to a living child, the woman's external and internal genital organs
must be normal, her ovaries must produce healthy ova, and there must
be no obstruction on the way, so that the ova and the spermatozoa can
meet. The mucous membrane of the womb must also be healthy, so that
when the impregnated ovum gets attached to the womb it may develop
there without any trouble, and not become diseased or poorly nourished
and cast off.
We must always remember that the woman's share in bringing forth
children and perpetuating the race is much more important than the
man's. When a man has discharged his spermatozoa his work is done--the
woman's only commences.
The conditions which cause sterility in women are many, but the most
common cause is a salpingitis or an inflammation of the Fallopian
tubes, which may be caused by gonorrhea or any other inflammation. A
severe leucorrhea may also be the cause of sterility, because the
leucorrheal discharge may be fatal to the spermatozoa. Another cause
is a severe bending or turning of the uterus either forwards or
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