For many people, an abundant amount of time is spent preventing unwanted pregnancies from happening. After all, middle school health textbooks and afternoon TV specials lead us to believe a minor slip is guaranteed to result in a baby.
Imagine your surprise when you finally start trying to get pregnant, and the process isn’t as straightforward as you thought it would be. However, when conceiving isn’t happening as easily as expected, what’s the difference between infertility and the status quo?
Before you start comparing the differences between fresh and frozen donor eggs or pursuing an IVF cycle, it’s crucial to figure out what’s going on inside your body.
As you navigate your conception journey, be on the lookout for the following six signs which could indicate there’s a problem.
1. Irregular Periods
Studies show the average menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days long. However, this estimate doesn’t apply to everyone. In fact, reports show between 9-14% of people with uteruses struggle with irregular periods.
While irregular menstrual cycles can be caused by medications, excessive exercise, or stress, this is also a common indicator of fertility issues. Not only can irregular periods signify a more significant fertility-related problem, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS,) but it can also disrupt ovulation cycles, which makes it more challenging to conceive.
2. Heavy Periods
Just as unreliable periods can convey there’s a problem, so can increased bleeding during menstrual cycles. When someone notices they’re having a heavier flow than normal, they could have a serious condition, such as:
- Thyroid dysfunction
- Uterine polyps
- Uterine fibroids
3. Reoccurring Miscarriages
Out of every pregnancy, approximately 10-15% will end in miscarriage – many of which occur before the person even realizes they’re expecting. While this experience is devastating, it’s usually not caused by any one factor, and the person will be able to have a healthy future pregnancy.
However, in other cases, there’s something larger at play. A small portion of people will have what’s known as recurrent miscarriages, or two or more in a row.
When this happens, it could signify further infertility issues, which might require treatment from a doctor or fertility specialist.
4. Smoking & Alcohol Usage
Many of us go through drug and alcohol-related classes which spell out the dangers of using illicit substances as a part of our school curriculum. Yet, what these lessons often fail to mention is that heavy smoking and excessive alcohol use can also lead to infertility.
Drinking and smoking can cause impaired ovarian function and poor sperm quality, reducing the chances of getting pregnant naturally.
5. Being Older Than 35
Turning 35 certainly isn’t a reason to start searching for fine lines and gray hairs. That being said, your mid-thirties can wreak havoc on your fertility.
Not every person who hits 35 is going to have trouble conceiving. If you’ve reached this age and have concerns, though, it might be time to make an appointment with your doctor. They can run various tests and screenings to determine whether there are any problems at hand.
While infertility isn’t an automatic side effect of endometriosis, it does happen in many individuals with this disease. If you’ve previously been diagnosed with this condition and are having a hard time getting pregnant, it’s always a good idea to ask your doctor to learn more.
What’s The Next Step In Solving Fertility Troubles?
Once you realize you might be dealing with a fertility-related issue, it’s challenging to figure out what comes next.
While many healthcare providers want their patients to try getting pregnant naturally for at least a year before looking into fertility issues, when there are other contributing factors, there is a greater need for information.
That’s when making an appointment with your healthcare provider is essential. They will run tests and request lab work to pinpoint a precise diagnosis. After they have an idea of what’s going on, they will work with you to create a treatment plan based on your unique situation.
Infertility Isn’t The End Of Your Family Dreams
Whether you’re dealing with conditions like PCOS, low ovarian reserves, or endometriosis, infertility isn’t an unbeatable opponent.
Thanks to increasing technological advancements, doctors and healthcare providers have more options than ever before to help their patients overcome fertility-related issues and become the parent they dream of being.
From frozen donor eggs to IVF, there are many alternative ways to start your family. Those choices might not look like the “natural” conception you’ve imagined, but when you’re holding your baby in your arms, how they were created doesn’t matter.
If you are interested in even more lifestyle-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.