Infertility is a real problem that many couples who want to conceive experience. Most of the time, however, couples will have attempted to get pregnant for years before they realise that something is wrong and that they may be infertile.
But how do you know for sure if the reason behind your difficulty can be attributed to infertility? In a Fox News story, Julie Revelant lists down 9 signs of the disorder in both men and women.
1. Irregular or absent periods
“Irregular periods or absent periods represent the fact that at some level an issue with regularly producing an egg and that can be a clear cause of infertility,” said Dr. Jason M. Franasiak, a board-certified OB-GYN and a board-certified technical supervisor in embryology and andrology at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey in Marlton.
The pituitary gland, the hypothalamus, and the ovaries work together to make sure that a woman has regular periods. When they stop, it means that there’s a hormonal imbalance in the body.
2. Heavy or painful periods
“Between 5 and 10 percent of women who are infertile have heavy periods, which could be due to uterine fibroids,” the Fox News story said. “Likewise, painful periods might mean you have endometriosis, a condition that has also been associated with infertility.”
3. Vision problems and clumsiness
If your periods are irregular, coupled with clumsiness and changes in your peripheral vision, you may be suffering from prolactinoma, a non-cancerous tumor on the pituitary gland affecting your fertility, as per Dr. Brian Levine, a board-certified OB-GYN and fertility specialist.
“The pituitary gland makes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) which regulates the ovaries and egg production,” said Fox News. “Yet since the pituitary gland sits directly on the optic chiasm, prolactinoma can push down on the chiasm and push the cells that make FSH together.”
4. Excess and unwanted hair
If you suddenly find that you are growing too much hair, it may mean that you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal imbalance. It is also a common cause of infertility. Other symptoms of PCOS include irregular periods, weight gain and acne.
5. Loss of libido and sexual function
If a man is suffering from painful ejaculation, loss of libido, trouble getting and maintaining an erection, or if there is a lump in his testicles, it could mean that he has a problem with fertility.
6. Weight gain
As per the Centers for Disease Control, carrying extra pounds makes it more difficult for mothers to conceive. In fact forty-five, percent of women are overweight or obese before they get pregnant. On the other hand, if a mother is underweight and over-athletic, it can also cause irregular periods.
7. Painful sex
There are ways to ease painful sex, especially with the help of a lubricant. But pain is also a sign of vaginal dryness, which is caused by a lack of estrogen. Lack of estrogen, in turn, is a sign of menopause.
8. Thinning hair or hair loss
One sign of a hyper active thyroid is hair loss and thinning. This thyroid dysfunction can also affect ovulation.
In fact, in a study in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, researchers found that 2.3 percent of women with infertility also had an overactive thyroid. Some additional symptoms to pay attention to include anxiety, weight loss, rapid heartbeat and fatigue.
9. Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D contributes to bone health, heart health, and immunity. It also helps both male and female fertility. According to a CDC study, 41.6 percent of people are deficient in vitamin D, which may be associated with infertility. However, experts say that more studies need to be done in order to link Vitamin D deficiency to infertility.