Fertility is defined as the natural capacity to conceive a child. Infertility is the opposite of fertility, and both men and women can have fertility issues. Fertilization occurs when the egg and sperm fuse in the fallopian tube after sexual intercourse. One can take certain steps to improve one’s fertility and reduce the risk of being infertile.
Signs of Fertility Problems
It is sometimes not easy to detect fertility problems because some causes of infertility are not obvious. Couples tend to realize that either or both of them have fertility issues after they must have tried to have children together for a while. One may detect fertility problems when one of the following is noticed:
- inability to get pregnant at age 35 or older after trying for about 6 months,
- inability to get pregnant if younger than 35 after having unprotected sex for a year,
- inability to carry a pregnancy to term,
- having risk factors for infertility.
Generally, there are specific symptoms associated with fertility problems. Some of these are:
- abnormal light or heavy bleeding,
- excruciating menstrual cramps,
- irregular menstrual cycle,
- pelvic pain or pain when having sex,
- sexual dysfunction such as erectile dysfunction, low libido, etc.
- Unusual menstrual bleeding.
Causes of Fertility Problems
Although the causes of infertility may be silent until an individual is examined, some factors cause fertility problems such as smoking that can be controlled. Smoking can be controlled because one can decide to stop smoking and thus altogether avert that causative factor of infertility. Other factors, however, can not be controlled. Some of these uncontrolled factors are noted below.
- Age – At age 35 and below, the chances of conceiving a child reduce in women. Men also suffer the same fate but not as strongly. After menopause which mainly occurs at age 50 in women, women become entirely infertile.
- Chronic diseases – Even though they are not related to the reproductive system, some chronic diseases, and their treatments can cause fertility problems for people. Some of these chronic diseases are diabetes, hypothyroidism, etc.
- Reproductive system hormonal imbalances or diseases.
- Reproductive tract infections.
- Side effects from medications.
- Unhealthy lifestyle.
If concerned whether or not one is having fertility problems, a woman is advised to see a gynecologist, and a man should see a urologist for a test.
If discovered that one has fertility issues, one would be referred to see a reproductive endocrinologist. A reproductive endocrinologist has been specially trained as a fertility specialist.
Treatment of fertility problems depends on the cause of the problem, and they include:
- assisted reproductive technologies,
- injectible fertility medicine,
- oral fertility medicine,
- surgery, etc.
Changing one’s lifestyle can help improve one’s fertility. Lifestyle routines such as exercising more often, eating a healthy diet, getting adequate sleep, taking folic acid supplements, etc., can help prevent infertility and help increase fertility.