25 January 2018

Common Signs of Infertility & What to Do About It

Common signs of Infertility

Medical Director
Cesar Diaz-Garcia
MD PhD Assoc Prof
IVI London


Infertility is when a couple are struggling to conceive and cannot get pregnant, despite having regular unprotected sex. Infertility can affect both men and women, making it difficult for them to conceive. However, fertility isn’t something most people think much about before they are actively trying to have children and start having trouble. Infertility is very common and most cases of infertility can be treated. But what exactly are the signs of infertility and what can you do about them?

Issues with Your Period

Your period can be a strong signifier that there is a problem with your fertility levels. The average woman’s cycle is 28 days long, however anything within a few days of that can be considered normal, as long as the cycles are consistent. When a woman begins to have issues with her period, its regularity, pain or heaviness, it is possible fertility problems could be the culprit.

Painful or Heavy Periods

Most women understand the discomfort that comes with their monthly period. If anything, it is to be expected. However, extremely heavy or painful periods that cause you to double over, call in sick to work, or vomit, could be a symptom of endometriosis. This condition is reasonably common in women of childbearing age and it causes the tissue that lines the uterus to grow outside of the uterus and even attach itself to other organs including the ovaries and fallopian tubes. The condition can lead to painful inflammation and scarring, which can cause fertility problems by impeding pregnancy.

Your Periods are Absent or Irregular

If you haven’t had a period for many months, it is important you notify your doctor and get your fertility checked. Although it is not uncommon for women to skip a period during extremely stressful times or heavy workouts, skipping a period should not be a regular occurence. If you haven’t experienced having a period for months at a time, it is important to check your fertility levels.

If your periods are irregular, this may be a sign of a hormonal imbalance or a more serious fertility issue. If your hormones are not at the correct levels, your periods can become irregular and this can be a sign of fertility issues.

Pain During Sex

Unfortunately, some women experience very painful sexual intercourse. Often, they are too embarrassed to seek help and start to convince themselves it is normal when it’s not. Pain during sex could be caused by hormonal issues such as endometriosis, or other underlying conditions such as sexually transmitted infections which could also be contributing to infertility. If you experience pain during sexual intercourse, it is important to get yourself checked out. Pain during sex is not normal and should not be something you have to live with.

Development of Severe Acne

Severe acne could signify hormonal imbalances and this could be a sign of problems with your fertility. If you suddenly develop a bout of severe acne, seemingly out of nowhere, it could mean that you’re suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Like endometriosis, PCOS can cause irregular ovulation or lack of ovulation and it can also cause problems with your fertility. So, if your acne suddenly becomes out of control, it may or may not have something to do with your fertility, but it is worth your time to find out.

Hormonal Fluctuations

It is common for women to have hormonal fluctuations, especially around the time of their monthly cycle. However, severe hormonal fluctuations can indicate potential issues with fertility. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following problems with your hormones:

  • Issues with acne
  • Facial hair growth
  • Weight gain
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Thinning hair

Of course, the above issues don’t mean you definitely have issues with your fertility, but it is important you get yourself checked just to be sure.

If You Are a Woman Over 35

Women over the age of 35 may experience a decrease in their fertility as a woman’s fertility declines as she ages. If you are 35 years of age or more and you have been trying to conceive naturally, without success, for six months, it is time to see a doctor.

Signs of Infertility in Men

The signs of infertility in men are a lot harder to spot than those in women and, therefore, they may go unnoticed for many years until a man tries to start a family. The symptoms of infertility in men depend on the cause of infertility. One of the best ways to determine signs of infertility in men is to go to book a sperm count test. Sperm count tests are very easy to do and are the first step in determining the problem with a man’s fertility.

Hormonal Imbalance in Men

Just like women, men can also experience hormonal imbalances that can affect their fertility levels. The most common hormonal imbalance in men is caused by taking body building supplements and steroids, and making poor lifestyle or diet choices. The most common signs of hormonal imbalances in men are abnormal hair growth, low libido, and erectile dysfunction.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction is a man’s inability to get or maintain an erection during sexual arousal or activity. Erectile dysfunction can stop ejaculation taking place because, if a man cannot sustain an erection, he is not able to ejaculate. There are many causes of erectile dysfunction, including health-related problems, hormonal issues, or infertility. Erectile dysfunction is more likely to occur in men 40 years or older. However, it can also affect younger men. Whatever your age, if you are struggling with erectile dysfunction, there is no need to be embarrassed, it is a common condition and your doctor can offer you solutions, support and advice.

Unexplained Causes of Infertility

Sometimes, the causes of infertility cannot be found and the cause remains unexplained. Although it can be extremely disappointing not to receive an answer to your fertility struggles, the problem may correct itself in time and you still could conceive. However, you can also book an appointment at an IVI clinic to discuss your fertility treatment options with an experienced specialist. Just because the cause of your infertility is unexplained, does not mean there is no hope.

Contact IVI Today

If you are seeing one or more of the aforementioned signs in yourself, know that not all hope is lost. In fact, there is good news. For most couples, a cause of infertility can be found, and for nearly half of previously infertile couples these causes can be corrected. In other words, once the underlying reasons for your infertility are determined, you have at least a 50% better chance of becoming pregnant. However, the longer you wait to seek help, the harder it may become to get pregnant. Therefore, if there are multiple signs pointing to infertility, you should seek help right away.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column]

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