How to Tell If You Have an Infertility Problem
- Posted on: Dec 17 2013
Couples should be concerned that they have an infertility problem if they have tried to conceive for 6 months unsuccessfully. At the six month mark women over 35 should see a specialist immediately and those under 35 should get an Ovulation predictor kit and start paying attention to their health (i.e. lose weight if your overweight, eat healthy, decrease stress). All women should record the dates of their periods, the dates of ovulation and the dates of intercourse just in case a fertility evaluation is needed.
There are several symptoms that present with an infertility problem. Many times, it’s the male in the relationship that has the infertility problem. After about a year, if the couple has not gotten pregnant after frequent unprotected sex, they should go see a fertility specialist. Approximately 12 percent of couples are infertile, and the first and foremost symptom in infertility is the inability to conceive. These are also other symptoms the couple may face if they are infertile.
Symptoms of Female Infertility
The symptoms of infertility in women that would lead you to an infertility specialist immediately include:
- Abnormal menstrual cycles that are heavier or lighter than normal.
- An irregular menstrual cycle.
- No menstrual cycle where all periods have stopped.
- Painful menstrual cycles and bad cramping , not relieved with acetaminophen
- Excessive acne.
- Changes in sex drive and desire.
- Dark hair growth of the lip, chin, and chest.
- Family history of premature menopause
- Loss of or thinning of hair.
- History of a sexually transmitted disease
- Prior cancer therapy
- History of tubal pregnancies or blocked tubes
- History of endometriosis
- Pain during sex
- History of 2 or more miscarriages
- Milky white substance coming from the nipples.
And for men:
- Changes in hair growth.
- Changes in sexual desires.
- Pain, lumps, or swelling in the testicles.
- History of a vasectomy with vasectomy reversal
- History of cancer
- Family history of cystic fibrosis
- Problems with erections or ejaculation.
- Small, firm testicles.
When to Consult a Fertility Specialist
Generally, by the 12 month mark, 90 percent of couples will conceive. If this hasn’t happened, the couple should see a specialist for treatment. The couple should see a doctor when the woman:
* Has had more than one miscarriage.
* Had prior cancer treatment.
For a man, they should see a doctor when or if he:
- Has had low sperm count.
- Has a history of testicular, prostate, or other related problems.
- Has had prior cancer treatment.
Preparing for the Fertility Visit
To prepare for the doctor visit, the couple should write down all information related to this problem, including:
- All the medications taken.
- How long you have been trying to conceive.
- The date of the last conception, if any.
- Body changes such as those listed above.
- Dates of any surgeries performed in the past, especially those involving the reproductive system.
- Any cancer treatment that has been performed.
- How much you smoke, drink, or use any illegal drugs.
- Any history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
Any history or current illnesses including but not limited to diabetes and/or thyroid problems.
An infertility problem can be frightful and confusing for the couple. By listening to the body and regular doctor visits, infertility issues can be resolved for most couples. The fertility doctor will perform several different tests that are often painless and require very little from the couple themselves.
When the male is tested, he will first be asked to ejaculate into a cup so his sperm count, volume, sperm morphology, motility, pH level, white blood cell count, and liquefaction time can all be assessed. A semen problem affects one half of couples trying to conceive. For the woman, her menstrual cycles, uterus, fallopian tubes and hormones levels will be checked.
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