Am I infertile: Things to do if you can't get pregnant
Infertility is more common than most people think. A person is said to be struggling with infertility if they can’t conceive after 6 months to 1 year of having unprotected sex in the hopes of getting pregnant. According to MedlinePlus, about 15% of married couples struggle with infertility. So, if you are wondering if you could have this problem, there’s nothing wrong with quietly wondering am I infertile.
Am I infertile: How can a woman know?
The answer to this question is obvious: a woman will know she’s struggling with infertility if she tries unsuccessfully to get pregnant. Outside this, a woman who gets pregnant but keeps having miscarriages is also suffering from infertility.
There are other signs that could point to problems with a woman’s fertility to include:
1. Menstrual and ovulation problems like
Period cramps and pelvic pain during or after periods
Irregular periods, sometimes going for months without menstruating
Too light or too heavy menstrual flow
2. Hormonal problems
These hormonal problems can make a woman wonder am I infertile when they manifest as:
· Hirsutism – the appearance of dark, coarse hair on the chest, back and face of a woman
· Alopecia or hair loss
· Weight gain
· Difficulty in losing weight
· Fluctuations in libido or sex drive
· Changes in skin appearance
· Discharge from the nipples or lactating without pregnancy or childbirth
· Painful sex
Signs of Infertility in men
These signs are more subtle in men than in women. Most times, a man may have struggled to get a woman pregnant without success before he starts to ask the question am I infertile. But men with the following symptoms should go for a medical examination to ensure everything is working in the right order.
· Erection and ejaculation issues
· Abnormal growth or lumps on the testicles
· Pain in the testicles
When should you stop asking am I infertile and get an infertility evaluation?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, you should go for tests if you experience the following:
· Failure to get pregnant after 1 year of regular unprotected sex
· Irregular menstrual cycle
· If a woman is above the age of 35 and has been trying to get pregnant for more than 6 months
· If you’re older than 40 and have been having regular unprotected sex for more than 6 months without conceiving
· You or your partner have struggled with infertility in the past
Diagnosing female infertility
It is not enough to just stay home and ask yourself am I infertile. Medical intervention is necessary if you still hope to conceive.
The US Department of Health and Human Services states that on your doctor’s visit, you will be asked the following questions:
· Have you experienced abnormal vaginal discharge or bleeding?
· Menstrual history including regularity and strength of flow
· Possible pelvic pain
· Have you been pregnant before?
· Have you ever had a miscarriage?
Possible tests during a fertility evaluation for women
The doctor may recommend a pelvic exam, a physical exam, an ultrasound, and other blood tests. The physical exam could be to look for signs of hormonal issues and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
You will also get a blood test to determine progesterone levels. The test will also check measure other hormones like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and the anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH).
The doctor may also check the fallopian tubes to rule out blockage and restriction of movement of the egg from the ovaries. The tests to track egg movement include:
o X-ray hysterosalpingogram
During this procedure, the doctor will inject a radiographic dye into the uterus. If there is no blockage, then the dye will flow without restrictions through the fallopian tube. The dye flow can be tracked using x-ray fluoroscopy.
This surgery requires the insertion of a laparoscope, a tiny camera-like instrument, into an incision in the abdomen. With this, the healthcare professional can view the woman’s reproductive organs.
o Hysteroscopy is when a small viewing device or camera is inserted through the vagina to get a view of the uterus.
Diagnosing male infertility
During a fertility evaluation for men, the doctor will ask the following questions:
· Did you have childhood diseases like mumps?
· Do you have a history of penile or testicular injury?
· What’s your libido like?
After these questions, the doctor may conduct a physical examination of the penis and testicles to check for:
Hormone deficiency which could manifest as lack of facial or body hair
Lumps or strange growths in the testicles
Abnormal veins in the scrotum
After the physical exam, the man will need to provide a sample of his sperm for further tests. He may need to provide this sample more than once, as sperm production may differ from time to time.
There may be other tests may be conducted to determine the levels on different hormones in the blood, genetic testing to rule out chromosomal abnormalities that could lead to birth defects in children, and a biopsy of the testicles.
Fertility issues can sometimes feel like an uphill battle. You should go in for a fertility evaluation if you’ve ever had a reason to ask yourself am I infertile. This article shines a light on things you should expect during your doctor’s appointment.