Rachel, this is an outstanding page. Your diagrams highlight the points you make beautifully. Really well done!

Causes of male infertility

An example of varicocele
An example of varicocele

  • Heat - why the testicles are outside the body in the scrotum and not in the abdomen, like the ovaries are in women
  • Hydrocele - the presence of excess fluid around the testicles
  • Anatomical defects - this means during intercourse the sperm cannot be deposited into the vagina properly
  • Retrograde ejaculation - a rare condition where some men ejaculate backwards into their bladder
  • Infections - such as that in the prostate gland
  • Sperm disorders - disorders of sperm numbers, movement and shape
  • Genetic disorders - problems with chromosomes
  • Hormonal Problems - testosterone deficiency
  • Varicocele - dilation of the testicular veins in the spermatic cord that leads from the testicles to the abdomen

Medical opinions are divided on the following theories but are all thought to play a part in male infertility:

  • Soaking in a bath tub full of scalding water
    It is believed jobs which are stressful and involve a lot of sitting can cause fertility problems in men
    It is believed jobs which are stressful and involve a lot of sitting can cause fertility problems in men
    Does smoking affect a mans fertility?
    Does smoking affect a mans fertility?
  • Obesity
  • A job which involves sitting for long periods of time
  • Frequent intercourse
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol intake
  • Stress
  • Drugs
  • Extreme exercise
  • Hazardous jobs (e.g deep sea diving)
  • Environmental toxins
  • Previously had a STD
  • Having had mumps as a child
  • After having a traumatic injury to the testicles
    Graph showing infertility is a bigger problem amongst men that it is women
    Graph showing infertility is a bigger problem amongst men that it is women

General Medical problems

Flu or Severe Cold
causes a high fever which will then, in turn affect sperm production and quality
normally recovers after a few weeks
in the long term causes problems with damage to the function of the 'automatic nervous system'
High Blood Pressure
affected directly or as a side effect through medication
Coronary Artery Disease
hardening of the arteries, in the penis as well as the heart could lead to problems with erection
also drugs used in the treatment of heart problems.
Neurological Disorders
multiple sclerosis, stroke and spinal chord injury and disease can cause problems with ejaculation and erection
Kidney Disease
chronic renal failure is a build up of waste products in the body can affect sperm quality
cancers that mnay affect the genital tract may affect fertility
drugs and radiation used to treat cancer may reduce sperm production or stop it altogether
An egg being fertilised through IVF
An egg being fertilised through IVF


  • If possible avoid/cut out things which can cause male infertility
  • Antibiotic treatment - incase of infection
  • Surgical correction - to remove a varicocele, revers a vasectomy or repair a duct obstruction
    Infertility medication
    Infertility medication
  • Receive drugs or medication - improve sperm production
  • IUI or IVF treatment


Causes of female infertility

Causes of infertility: also showing how scar tissue can join together two internal organs
Causes of infertility: also showing how scar tissue can join together two internal organs

  • Ovulation disorder - imbalance of hormones
  • Cancer - uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the female reproductive system
  • Congenital anomalies - a birth defect which involves the structure of the uterus and uterine fibroids
  • Polyps - occurs when ovarian follicle fails to release an egg and fluid builds up into a sack
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) - ovaries cannot release egg or a healthy egg
  • Endometriosis - endometrial like cells appear and grow, most commonly on the ovaries
  • Uterine septum - malformation of the uterus cavity
  • Uterine fibroids - non-cancerous tumors that grow inside and out of uterus, growth can put pressure on fallopian tubes or affect implantation of fertilized egg
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes - occurs from pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, sexually transmitted diseases or previous surgery, (meaning egg cannot reach uterus or sperm reach egg)

General causes and theories thought to play a part in female infertility:
Does a woman's eating habits affect her fertility?
Does a woman's eating habits affect her fertility?
Excessive exercise can cause infertility
Excessive exercise can cause infertility

  • Stress
  • Poor eating habits
  • Obesity
  • Being underweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking
  • Drugs
  • Some medication
  • Excessive exercise
  • Aging
  • Anxiety
  • Radiotherapy
  • Nutrient deficiency
  • Post-contraceptive
Coming off the contraceptive pill can lead to infertility for a limited time
Coming off the contraceptive pill can lead to infertility for a limited time

General medical problems

Cushing's Disease
extreme weight gain, stunted growth, excess hair growth and missed
periods in teenage girls
Turner Syndrome
rare chromosomal genetic condition where one X chromosome is present
but no sex chromosome (X or Y)
Kallmann Syndrome
rare condition which occurs because of a failure of part of the hypothalamus,
resulting in a hormonal imbalance
Sheehan Syndrome
rare condition appearing in women who suffer from severe uterine
hemorrhaging giving birth, blood loss possibly damaging pituitary gland
scarring that develops in the uterus which can lead to menstrual and fertility
accumulation of menstrual blood in the vagina, preventing the menstrual
cycle from taking place
females with male XY chromosomes but with an inability to respont to
testosterone, external female appearance but no uterus
As a woman ages, the more likely they are to choose IVF
As a woman ages, the more likely they are to choose IVF


  • If possible avoid/cut out things which can cause female infertility
  • Fertility drugs - trick the ovaries into producing eggs
  • IVF: egg fertilized by sperm in a laboratory dish then egg is inserted back in uterus
  • IUI: combined with a fertility drug, a small amount of concentrated sperm is placed in the uterus
  • Tubal surgery - in cases of blocked fallopian tubes, clearing them may help fertility

A laparoscope helps doctors to look into the fallopian tubes to check for blockages
A laparoscope helps doctors to look into the fallopian tubes to check for blockages



Emergency Contraception

Taken by a woman to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if a method of contraception has failed. There are two types of external image pildora2.jpg emergency contraceptive pill. Levonelle which can be taken up to 3 days after and recommended fore over 16's. A newer pill called ellaOne can be taken up to five days later but is recommended for those over 18. The effectiveness of the emergency contraceptive pill decreases over time therefor should not be used as a regular method of contraception. If taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, it can prevent 95% of pregnancies. Most women can use the contraceptive pill including those who are breast feeding and those who can't normally use hormonal contraceptives.

external image condom.jpg
A form of barrier contraception preventing pregnancy by stopping sperm from reaching an egg. Condoms can also prevent against STI's,including HIV from being passed on, during oral or penetrative sex. Condoms are made from very thin latex rubber or thin plastic. Out of date condoms should not be used. Male condoms fit over a man's erect penis and the female condom is placed into the vagina and loosely lines it. Male condoms are 98% effective in avoiding pregnancy and the female condoms are 95% effective.

The Pill

external image 8b044f80-3e4f-4082-aeea-74557a760977.jpgAn oral pill taken which contains synthetic versions of the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. This prevents an egg being released each month from the ovaries and therefore ovulation occurring, The mucus in the neck of the womb also thickens so it is harder for sperm to get though and reach an egg. The lining of the womb thickens too so there is less chance of a fertilised egg implanting itself there where it is able to grow. After 3 weeks a dummy pill can be taken to allow menstruation to happen. Although the pill is used to prevent pregnancies it can also be used to treat painful and/or heavy periods, premenstrual syndrome or endometriosis. The pill can be over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

The above methods are some of the most common and effective ways of contraception. However there are some other options.
These include:

  • Contraceptive Injection - contains progesterone and lasts for either 12 or 8 weeks
  • Contraceptive Patch - reacts similarly to the pillexternal image contraception.jpg
  • Contraceptive Implant - rod placed under the skin, lasts for three years and contains progesterone
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD or 'coil') - T shaped piece of metal or plastic placed in uterus, lasts for 5 to 10 years and prevents sperm from meeting egg
  • Intrauterine System (IUS or 'Mirena') - T shaped plastic fitted into uterus, lasts for 5 years and it also contains hormones
  • Vaginal Ring (Nuvaring) - soft plastic ring that goes into the vagina containing oestrogen and progesterone which stop an egg from being released
  • Diaphragm with Spermicide - flexible silicone or rubber dome shaped which fits into the vagina and over the cervix each and every time a person has sex. Prevents sperm from entering the womb. spermicide also needs to be used which kills sperm
  • Sterilisation - permanent form of contraception preventing pregnancy forever. Women have an operation to cut or block the fallopian tubes so the eggs can never reach the womb. Men can have an operation to cut or block the sperm ducts so they do not produce sperm when the ejaculate
  • Natural Family Planning - this involves working out when a woman is most fertile in her monthly cycle and avoiding unprotected sex at this time


Essay Question (5)

Follicular Phase: The first part of the menstrual cycle where the anterior pituitary releases FSH (1), stimulating the maturation and development of the Graafian follicle (1). It also brings about the production of oestrogen by the ovarian tissues and when the oestrogen builds up, it repairs and proliferates the endometrium (1). When the oestrogen reaches a high level, a surge in production of LH and FSH by the anterior pituitary is triggered about day 14 of the cycle (1). The surge of the LH hormone causes ovulation by making a blister-like wall of the Graafian follicle rupture and release the egg (1). The egg then slowly moves along the oviduct and after about 3-4 days, fertilisation could occur if the egg meets sperm. (5)

Luteal Phase: The second half of the menstrual cycle. After ovulation, LH hormone stimulates the Graafian follicle to become the corpus luteum (1). This gland-like structure secretes progesterone and oestrogen.The rise in progesterone stimulates the further development of the endometrium, making it thick, vascular and spongy (1). This means it is ready to accept and nourish an embryo if fertlisation happens to take place and the embryo is implanted. The high levels of oestrogen and progesterone during this pase triggers an inhibitory effect on the antirior pituitary. Levels of FSH and LH drop and because of this, no new follicles develop at this point (negative feedback control) (1).
The lack of LH leads to the degeneration of the corpus luteum at about day 22 in the cycle (1). Progesterone and oestrogen levels drop after this and at day 22 in the cycle, the hormones are at such low levels the endometrium can no longer be maintained. This caused menstruation to being which is when the lining of the endometrium, along with a little blood, is lost over a few days (1).

FULL MARKS RACHEL!! Really well done!

The human heart
The human heart

Blood pressure being taken
Blood pressure being taken

Causes Of Heart Disease

  • Smoking
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Lack OF Exercise
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • A history of heart disease in a persons family

General Medical Problems

This is a condition also knows as cardiomyopathy which includes many diseases affecting the heart organ. Some are caused by deterioration of the heart muscle itself or the connecting tissue around it. This could be to accumulation of plaques/fatty deposits called atheroma, within the wall arteries or the pressure your heart pumps blood around a persons body.

Some of these are:

Coronary Heart Disease
Failure of coronary circulation to the heart and surrounding tissues. Caused by accumulation of plaques
within the walls of the arteries. Angina can be a symptom of this and a heart attack can be a condition caused.
Cardio Vascular
A number of diseases which affects the heart and/or the blood vessel system especially the veins and
arteries leading away from the heart. Diabetes, hypertension, hyperhomocysteinemia and hypercholesterolemia
are known associated causes.
Deterioration if the heart muscle itself and the myocardium. People who suffer with this are at risk of arrhythmia
which is unusual electrical activity of the heart muscle, beating either too fast or too slow. Sudden cardiac death
can also be linked with cardiomyopathy.
Ischaemic Heart Disease
A disease affecting the heart itself which then leads to a reduced blood supply to the organs.
Heart Failure
A condition cauased by a structural or functional cardiac disorder that prevents the ability of the heart to fill
with or pump sufficiant amounts of blood throughout the body. This can lead to heart attacks or faluire of the body.
Hypertensive Heart Disease
This is caused by high blood pressure. Some of the symptoms of this are Left ventricular hypertrophy,
Coronary heart disease, (Congestive) heart failure, Hypertensive cardiomyopathy, Cardiac arrhythmias.
Inflammatory Heart Disease
Is the swelling of the heart or the tissue around it like the heart valves and the myocardium.
Valvular Heart Disease
A process which affects two or more of the heart valves. There are up to four valves which can be affected
including the tricuspid and aortic valves in the right side of the heart as well as the mitral and aortic valves
in the left side of the heart.


This is a condition in which the artery walls thicken as the result of a fatty build up of plaque, such as cholesterol. It affects the arterial blood vessels and when these enlarge it is mostly because of the amount of macrophage blood cells that has built up which leads to low density plasma proteins carrying this cholesterol. If this isnt removed from the body then the fats build up until it blocks the artery - this is also know as the furring or hardening of arteries.
A cholesterol filled  atherosclerosis coronary artery
A cholesterol filled atherosclerosis coronary artery

  • One of the types of build up is atheroma which is a soft , flakey, yellowish material made of macrophage.
  • Another is cholesterol crystals.
  • Some of the outer bases of older, more advanced lesions can become calcified.

The arteries can become enlarged which can lead to plaque ruptures or clots in the blood. Clots can normally heal but shrink the artery, making it narrower, or completely close it which means no blood supply can reach the tissue or an organ. If the enlargement of an artery is excessive then an aneurysm can occur. If the blood supply to tissue is cut off then infarction would occur and the tissue would be dead within five minutes. Coronary thrombosis of a coronary artery can lead to a heart attack or a stroke. Claudication can also happen which is when blood supply is cut off to a person's legs, leading to painful, aching cramps. There can be problems wherever the blood flows to a persons body yet many people dont notice any symptoms, dont seek medical advice and if they do, the problem might not be found.

Open heart surgery
Open heart surgery


  • Lifestyle changes - eating healthier, exercising regularly, giving up smoking etc.
  • Drugs - help lover blood pressure and cholesterol, prevent or dissolve blood colts, relieve and prevent angina symptoms or improve or strengthen the rhythm of the hearts contractions.
  • Surgery - treating heart problems can include procedures like coronary artery bypass grafts, coronary angioplasty, coronary stenting, heart transplants, operations for congenital defects and heart valve defects, and implanting cardiac defibrillators.

Lymphatic System
Lymphatic system
Lymphatic system

These are tiny vessels which are pours and allow excess tissue fluid to be filtered out the bloodstream in capillary beds. This fluid is called lymph and is collected by a network of lymphatic vessels , connecting to form lymphatic vessels. When muscles contract during breathing, lymph is moved around the body as it is periodically compressed. Back flow of lymph is prevented by valves in the larger lymphatics which also return their contents to the blood stream through two lymphatic ducts which enter the veins coming from the arms. Tissue fluid once part of blood plasma is returned to the blood circulatory system which is why this is regarded as a specialised circulatory system.

The villus in the small intestines have a ting lymphatic vessel called lacteal where the products of fat digestion are absorbed, droplets of lipid enter the lacteal and pass into the lymphatic system indirectly, where they make up a component of lymph. Lymph nodes are oval or bean shaped structures of various sizes found throughout the lymphatic system, most of these occurring in groups known as glands found around the body, neck, arm pit and groin to name a few. Each lymph node is made up of a layerof lymph nodules surrounding a central medulla , in the middle there is a germinal centre which is the site of lymphocyte production. Around each lymph nodule there is a space filled with a network of fibers and lymph enters a node th
Lymph node
Lymph node
rough several lymphatic vessels and slowly moves through the network of fibers in the space. This means macrophage cells within the channelscan remove any microorganisms present in the lymph by phagocytosis. Any unwanted debris and toxins from the lymph can be filtered so lymphocytes can be produced, making antibodies. Sometimes during an illness, too manymicroorganismsenter the gland so they end up swelling and could even become infected to if the phagocytic cells get overworked.

Oedema is a condition where tissue fluid accumulates in the space between cells and blood capillaries causing tissue to swell up. It can be caused by malnutrition, parasites and high blood pressure as fluid would be built up too fast for it to be drained away by the lymphatic system.

Blood Pressure

This is the pressure made by the blood as it circulates around the blood vessels, normally generated by the contraction of the ventricles and normally refers to the blood pressure measured in a persons upper arm, on the inside of an elbow, using a sphygmomanometer, at the brachial artery, which is the major blood vessel that carried blood away from the heart . There is a maximum and minimum pressure which blood travels at called systolic and diastolic. A persons blood pressure rises and falls, and a person's blood pressure can be measured by systolic pressure over diastolic pressure, in mmHg, for example 120/80. During ventrical systol the pressure in the aorta
maximum and minimum pressure of a heart
maximum and minimum pressure of a heart
rises to its highest and in diastole drops to its minimum. A persons blood pressure in the body can be affected by gravity, valves in their veins and contractions from the skeletal muscles.
The blood pumping around the body by the heart has resistance to flow in blood vessels so it decreases the pressure of the circulating blood in the arteries Blood pressure drops rapidly along the small arteries and arterioles and also decrease as the blood moves through the capillaries and back through the veins to the heart hence why a persons blood pressure is measured at a major blood vessel. Some people have a difference of blood pressure in one arm to the other but this is very rare.

Elastic walls in the aorta means blood pressure does not drop to a minimum and is maintained, then during diastole the elastic walls recoil and continue to move blood through the vessels. This also happens in the pulmonary artery. Blood pressure also relates to the volume of blood a person has being pumped around their body, if this increases then so does the arterial pressure. If the rate or force of the blood is increased so is the pressure, high levels of stress and a high intake of salt can cause high blood pressure.

If a person has high blood pressure for too long then it can be dangerous because it requires the ventricles to work harder to get blood to all parts of the body, make the artery walls more prone to atherosclerosis and may damage the blood vessels.


This is when the arterial blood pressure is raised, the opposite if hypotension when it slows down. There are two types, primary hypertension which no medical cause found and affects 90-95% of all cases. Secondary hypertension is caused by other conditions that affect the kidneys, arteries, heart, or endocrine system. Hypertension
A poster from america raising awareness of hypertension
A poster from america raising awareness of hypertension
that lasts for a long period of time can lead to a stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, arterial aneurism and chronic kidney failure.
A persons life can be shortened if they have a higher blood pressure but this can be improved by diet and lifestyle changes as this reduces blood pressure and decreasethe risk of health complications although for some people this might not work.

Hypertension can appear in newborns and infants too, some symptoms may be:
  • failure to thrive
  • seizures
  • irritability
  • lack of energy
  • difficulty breathing

Symptoms in children may be:
  • headaches
  • fatigue
  • blurred vision
  • nosebleeds
  • facial paralysis

Location of gall bladder
Location of gall bladder


What is it?
It is a bitter-tasting, dark green to yellowish brown fluid produced in the liver, up to one liter being produced per day. It is stored in the gall bladder and consists of 85% water, 10% bile salts, 3% mucus and pigments, 1% fats, 0.7% inorganic salts and 0.3% cholesterin. Blood flows through the hepatic portal vein and returns to the liver where salts are absorbed and returned to the bile ducts to be reused, up to two to three times with each meal.

What does it do?
It helps the digestion of lipids into the small intestine, helping to emulsify fats in foods. Bile salt anions have ahydrophilic and hydrophobic side which make the hydrophobic face the fats preventing fat droplets joining together andbecoming a clump. The fats have a large surface area which means the action of the pancreatic lipase is more effective. A triglyceride of fat is broken down into two fatty acids and a monoglyceride which is absorbed by the villiexternal image c238f3_3.gif on the intestine wall. After being transferred across the intestinal membrane fatty acids then reform to make triglycerides again and are absorbed into the lymphatic system through the lacteals. Without bile salts, most food would be passed out the body undigested and since bile increases the absorptions of fats, it helps absorb vitamins A, D, E and K.