Infertility can feel stressful and overwhelming if you are trying to become pregnant, but did you know infertility affects 15% of couples? Infertility is caused by a variety of reasons, so it is important to recognize the signs and next steps if you worry you may be infertile.
What is Infertility?
Infertility is commonly defined as the inability to become pregnant within 6-12 months of trying to conceive. For women 35 and older, this time span is shortened to 6 months. If you are concerned you may be infertile, your gynecologist will ask you about your menstrual cycle, complete a physical exam, and may recommend tests or refer you to an infertility specialist.
Signs of Infertility in Women
The average women’s cycle is about 28 days long, but this can vary and still be classified as a normal period. A period is considered irregular if your cycle varies to the point that you are unable to estimate when your period will arrive. This can be a sign of hormone issues or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), both of which are associated with infertility.
Cramping is common during your period, but if the pain becomes so bad that it interferes with your ability to function properly, you should schedule a consultation with your doctor. Painful periods are a common symptom of endometriosis, a condition in which tissues that line your uterus are found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or intestines.
Lack of Periods
If you miss a period here or there, it is not necessarily a cause for concern. Stress, heavy workouts, and diet changes can put a pause on your period. However, if you have not received a period in several months, you should visit your doctor since this may be a sign of infertility.
Facial hair growth or thinning hair, weight gain, reduced issues, and skin issues are common signs of hormone fluctuations. If you experience these symptoms, schedule a consultation with your doctor to check your fertility.
It might feel awkward to talk about the intimacies of sex, but it is important to talk about it, especially if you are experiencing pain during sex. This could be a sign of hormone issues, endometriosis, or other conditions that contribute to infertility.
Signs of Infertility in Men
Change in Sexual Desire
Hormonal changes are a common contributor to infertility, and one sign of these hormonal changes is a change in sexual desire.
If your testicles are small and firm or if you have swelling, both of these conditions could be linked to infertility. You should consider visiting your doctor to check for fertility.
Problems with Sexual Performance
Difficulty maintaining an erection is also a cause of hormone changes and reduced hormone levels could cause both this difficulty and infertility. Another concern to look out for is trouble ejaculating or the inability to do so.
Schedule a Consultation
Infertility might sound like the inability to become pregnant, but this is not always the case. Infertility specialists are trained to help you achieve pregnancy and can treat you with hormonal medication, intrauterine insemination, in vitro fertilization, and other methods. To discuss which of these treatment plans will best fit your lifestyle and help you achieve pregnancy, schedule a consultation with Carnegie Women’s Health by calling our office at 315-628-7063 or fill out the online form.