Most people don’t consider fertility until they want to start a family. Suddenly what seemed easy is a challenge. Month after month, to no avail, you schedule intercourse around the ideal time for conception and then your period arrives right on time and you sigh in frustration. Sound familiar?
According to The National Infertility Association one in eight couples has trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy. Around 12% of women seek help for infertility at some point in their lifetime. Approximately one-third of infertility relates to the female partner, one-third to male infertility and the remaining third falls under both partners or unexplained infertility.
While the first sign for many couples is the inability to become pregnant after 12 consecutive months of attempts (six months if you are a woman over 35) there are some warning signs that may indicate compromised fertility before you even start trying. Here are the top 8 indicators of potential female and male fertility issues that you shouldn’t ignore.
Warning Signs for Women
In women many of the signs of fertility issues relate to the menstrual cycle, but not all. Here are some warning signs women may experience:
- Changes to Your Menstrual Cycle
Any change to your normal cycle may indicate fertility issues. Things like the absence of your period, a heavier flow or irregularity in your cycles may be a sign of fertility issues. Consider tracking your cycle (There are plenty of apps for that!) Help you with a baseline pattern and identify changes to your normal cycle.
- Painful Periods
Most women experience some degree of cramping along with their periods at some point or another. That’s normal. What isn’t normal? Debilitating pain that is so bad you can’t perform your daily tasks or do much else that doesn’t involve a bed and a heating pad. Nausea and vomiting or flu-like symptoms may accompany your severe pain. When these abnormally painful periods accompany other symptoms such as blood in your urine or bowel movements, pain during intercourse or irregular cycles contact your physician. These symptoms could indicate endometriosis. Up to 40% of female infertility cases are due to endometriosis.
- Sudden Weight Gain
Unexplained sudden weight gain is a sign of polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. If there are no changes to your diet or activity level and you experience sudden weight gain alert your physician. Not only does this indicate a potential of PCOS, a common cause of infertility, but if you are above (or below) a healthy weight it impacts fertility.
- Sudden Hair Growth or Loss
Because PCOS interferes with hormone production, it causes an increase in male hormones which may lead to an excess of hair growth in places you normally don’t have it, such as chest, face, arms and back. Conversely hair loss may indicate fertility issues related to an autoimmune disorder, anemia or a thyroid condition.
- Sudden and Severe Breakouts
When your hormones are out of whack, it shows in many areas. Mood swings, aggression, depression and severe acne, to name a few. If you experience a sudden change in your skin or mood contact your doctor. Your hormones play a significant role in fertility.
Warning Signs for Men
The warning signs for men are more vague than for women and may go unnoticed. Men’s symptoms are more directly related to the underlying cause.
- Testicular Swelling
Swollen testicles indicate such issues as testicular torsion or an infection. Swelling is also a sign of a hernia. While testicular swelling isn’t always a warning sign of fertility issues, it does warrant medical attention. See your doctor.
- Change in Libido
Extreme changes in a man’s sex drive are a red flag for hormonal issues. A common cause of male factor infertility is improper function of the pituitary gland or hypothalamus. Some medications disrupt hormones as well, including anabolic steroids. If you notice normal sexual desire is waning talk to your doctor.
- Erectile Dysfunction
For roughly 25% of couples struggling with infertility, erectile dysfunction is present. Very often doctors link this complication to a hormone imbalance however it’s also a side effect of certain prescription or recreational drugs. Injury, anxiety, depression and other psychological factors contribute to erectile dysfunction as well.
Warning Signs Related to Both Male and Female Fertility Issues
There are some warning signs or indicators of potential fertility issues that are related to both men and women. They include:
- Cancer and Cancer Treatment
- Chronic Illness
- STIs and STDs
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Excessive recreational drug use
- Poor lifestyle habits (smoking, unhealthy diet, sedentary lifestyle, etc.)
We Will Help You Get Answers
If you relate to any of the waning signs of infertility please contact LA IVF. Our caring and compassionate staff helps you navigate testing, results and treatment so that you realize your dream of having a family. Reach out to LA IVF today and Let’s find out together.