Infertility is a difficult subject for patients to talk about, and people going through infertility may feel very alone.
It is important to be informed of gynecologic problems that may indicate you are more at risk for infertility. Women with these conditions may need different pre-conception care or treatment from a reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist (REI). The good news is that knowledge of these issues can Below are some of the conditions that can increase the risk of female infertility.
Periods that are very heavy and long could be due to fibroids. If fibroids are large enough, they can cause pain during periods as well. Painful periods can also be due to endometriosis-when tissue normally found in the uterus is found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and sometimes even in the bowel/bladder. Pain and heavy bleeding can be managed by our gynecologist, but fibroids and endometriosis can contribute to infertility as well.
Dyspareunia, the medical term for painful intercourse, is not normal. Common issues that can cause pain during sex (which could affect fertility) include pelvic infection, endometriosis, and fibroids.
It can be normal to have some variation in the length of your menstrual cycle due to stress or illness. If you never know when to expect your period, or have months go by without a period (and you are not pregnant), you may have more difficulty conceiving. Common issues that contribute to an irregular menstrual cycle include sudden gain/loss in weight, being underweight, thyroid problems, and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Some women without these conditions may not ovulate regularly,and may need assistance in stimulating ovulation to conceive.
Hormones that are produced by the thyroid, ovaries, and pituitary glands can contribute to infertility when they are very low or high. Abnormal hormone levels cause a wide array of symptoms aside from changes in a woman’s periods, including:
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Severe acne breakouts
- Poor circulation (cold hands)
- Loss of interest in sex
- Milky discharge from the nipples
- Thinning hair
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a gynecologist even if you are not trying to conceive; if these symptoms are present with infertility, identifying and abnormal hormone level can guide treatment.
Obesity and being underweight can both contribute to difficulty conceiving; as women with these conditions sometimes do not ovulate as regularly and have irregular or absent menses. In addition to addressing other reasons that could be causing infertility, meeting with our Nutritionist may be helpful for these patient to assist with weight loss or gain.
At Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates, we know how devastating the impact of infertility can have on patients who want to have a child. Our gynecologists can address the medical and gynecologic issues that lead to infertility; and when necessary, refer our patients to reproductive endocrinology and infertility practices for further treatment. Schedule an appointment with a gynecologist today by calling our office or contacting us online today.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!