Although few people talk openly about infertility, it affects more people than you may realize. According to RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, one in eight couples, or approximately 12% of people trying to conceive, experience infertility issues. Further, even in optimal conditions, a couple aged 29-33 with “normal functioning reproductive systems” has just a 20-25% chance of becoming pregnant during any given month.
Because it’s often discussed only behind closed doors, there’s a lack of education and understanding about many aspects of infertility. One of them is its symptoms. While there are a number of factors that can affect infertility, it can be difficult to recognize and understand the signs.
One symptom of infertility is so blatant that it’s often overlooked and not considered a “symptom” at all: not getting pregnant. Aside from that, many people don’t know what to look out for that may indicate infertility. Unfortunately, many of the symptoms are much more subtle. At Viera Fertility clinic in Melbourne FL, we empathize with our patients’ frustrations and want to help create a deeper understanding of infertility and its symptoms.
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a few months and haven’t yet been successful, it’s easy to start panicking. Before you come to the conclusion that you’re experiencing true fertility problems, it’s important to understand what infertility means.
The Mayo Clinic defines infertility as “not being able to get pregnant despite having frequent, unprotected sex for at least a year for most couples.” In women over 35, that timeframe is reduced to six months.
It’s also essential to understand that infertility does not just affect women – or men, for that matter. In fact, data shows that fertility problems are found fairly evenly in both women and men, in about 1/3 of cases each. In the remaining third, causes are either unknown or are found to be in both partners.
Infertility Symptoms in Women
Identifying infertility symptoms in females can be difficult because they vary widely from person to person and many of them are similar to early pregnancy. The common thread, though, is that these are hormonal conditions likely affecting fertility.
- Irregular or completely absent menstrual periods
- Distinctly heavy periods or noticeable spotting throughout your entire cycle
- Pelvic pain or painful periods
- Experiencing pain during intercourse
- Skin changes, such as acne breakouts or change in condition (i.e., from dry to oily)
- Hair loss or hair growth in unusual places like your hands, face, or chest
- Unexplained weight gain or loss
Infertility Symptoms in Men
Much like in women, infertility symptoms in males can be slightly difficult to identify and most often indicate underlying hormonal conditions.
- Changes in sex drive
- Problems with sexual function or erectile dysfunction
- Sudden, unexplained hair loss or growth
- Testicular pain or swelling
When to See a Fertility Doctor
If you or your partner are experiencing any symptoms of infertility and have any of the following risk factors, you should schedule an appointment to see a fertility specialist.
- Over 40
- Have a history of miscarriages and/or fertility issues
- A previous diagnosis of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or endometriosis
- Recurring issues with sex drive or sexual performance
- Swollen, shrunken, or painful testicles
- Known low sperm count
Other red flags that can affect both women and men include a family history of infertility, previous treatment for cancer, and previous diagnosis of sexually transmitted diseases.
What You Can Do
While most causes of infertility aren’t preventable, you can take steps to be as healthy as possible to improve your chances of getting pregnant.
- Avoid alcohol, tobacco, and drug use.
- Exercise regularly but moderately.
- Limit your exposure to environmental and industrial toxins such as chemicals and parabens commonly used in plastics and pesticides.
- Be mindful of your medications. Talk to your doctor about any you’re taking, whether prescription or non-prescription, to see if they could affect fertility.
If you’re experiencing difficulty conceiving, we invite you to schedule a consultation with one of our fertility specialists at Viera Fertility in Melbourne. Your doctor will help you determine whether there is indeed an infertility problem and the most sensible course of action. Call us at (321) 751-4673 or contact us today.