Learning About the Causes and Symptoms of Infertility
Infertility is generally defined as not being able to get pregnant after a year, which can be difficult emotionally for individuals and couples to experience. The issue is becoming increasingly common, but luckily there is a steady rise in fertility treatments.
Both women and men can experience infertility; the total fertility rate worldwide has dropped by nearly one percent per year from 1960 to 2018! Some reasons women may experience infertility include blocked fallopian tubes which would prevent sperm from reaching the egg, poor egg quality, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, environmental factors, and early menopause. Male infertility can be a result of low sperm count, inadequate sperm mobility, untreated sexual transmitted disease, among other possibilities. Hormone-altering chemicals – which include phthalates, bisphenol A, and flame retardants, among others – may also play a role.
Consulting with a fertility specialist can help you figure out what may be causing your fertility issues. If you’ve been having irregular periods, have a thyroid problem or a pelvic inflammatory disease, you should visit a doctor before a year’s time. For men, if there are any problems ejaculating or there’s been any injury to the scrotum or testes, a visit to the doctor should be made sooner rather than later.
A gynecologist or fertility specialist can test you for potential problems. Initial tests for women may include a pelvic exam and ultrasound to check the ovaries and uterus. A blood test may also be given to check hormone levels. For men, testing may begin with a physical exam and semen analysis.
Thankfully, there are treatments that can help with conception. Less invasive treatments include lifestyle and diet changes, medication, and hormone therapy. More invasive treatments include intrauterine insemination (IUI) in which the sperm is placed directly into the uterus, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) in which the egg is fertilized with sperm in a lab and then the fertilized egg is transferred to the uterus.
Having difficulty getting pregnant can be an emotional rollercoaster. Infertility can also put a strain on relationships. Being cognizant of your emotional health, as much as your physical health, is important. Along with seeing a gynecologist or fertility specialist, it might be just as important to see a counselor or therapist if you’re feeling stressed or depressed.
If you are experiencing trouble getting or staying pregnant, please give our office a call. We can help guide you to assess what may be the problem or refer you to a specialist who can provide treatment.
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