Trying for a baby? Usually, inability to get pregnant after a year of trying is the first red alert that you might have one or more issues. However, there are other early signs that may suggest you are at risk of infertility. If promptly spotted, these signs will help you seek help before the six month or one year mark.
Find 7 common signs to help you and your partner assess your risk…
1. Recurrent STDs. If either you or your spouse have a history with STDs, have an infection left untreated or not properly treated for a long time, your efforts to conceive may be abortive. Sometimes, men get an infection or disease from an ex-marital affair and end up infecting their wives. They treat the disease but get reinfected by their wife, who may not even know she has an infection as often times, women don’t have noticeable symptoms on time. The infection then turns into a vicious circle, with the man unwilling to spill.
STDs such as gonorrhea and Chlamydia may cause blockage of the fallopian tubes, preventing conception or making you prone to having an ectopic pregnancy.
You and your spouse should get screened for possible STDs.
2. Irregular cycles. An irregular cycle may suggest problems with ovulation, so talk to your doctor if your period comes at unpredictable intervals, usually less than 24 days or more than 35 days.
3. Excessive cramps accompanied by heavy or light periods. If you usually suffer from severe menstrual cramps and bleed for less or more than 3 – 7 days, this is not normal, especially if bleeding duration, colour and consistency changes from month to month.
4. Your spouse experiences ejaculatory problems. Though infertility is often blamed on the woman, your spouse may very well be the culprit. You can’t tell if he has a low sperm count by looking at him but having ejaculatory problems or any obvious sexual dysfunction may be a red alert. Convince him to get prompt help.
5. Your weight. Being under or overweight can compromise fertility. It is said that obesity or being too skinny may contribute to poor quality semen in men. In skinny women, studies show being too skinny may set the body into starvation mode. This sends a signal to the reproductive system, which may, as a defence mechanism, disallow conception because the body lacks essentials to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
Obesity, on the other hand, may cause a surge in insulin levels. This can affect reproductive hormones leading to ovulation problems.
Check your BMI to find out if your weight is in a range appropriate for your height or ask your doctor for help.
6. Recurrent miscarriages. If you’ve had two or more miscarriages in a row, ask your doctor to investigate underlying causes thoroughly.
Often times, women who have had up to three successive miscarriages may need help with getting pregnant.
7. Chronic diseases, including diabetes, thyroid problems or hypertension. These and their treatments may impede fertility. For instance, experts say insulin, antidepressants, and thyroid hormones may lead to irregular cycles while some hypertension medications may cause problems with sperm production, ability to fertilize the egg, among others.
Talk to your doctor if you’re undergoing treatments for any chronic illness.