Infertility can be a devastating diagnosis when trying to conceive, especially after several months or years of trying to have a family. While an inability to conceive can sometimes be due to poor timing for sexual activity, in some cases, addressable underlying conditions and symptoms may exist. If you are thinking about starting a family and you notice any common signs of infertility, consider working with a fertility specialist and looking into fertility supplements that may help you on your family planning journey.
It is also important to note that many forms of infertility do not have any signs or symptoms, other than the inability to conceive after 6-12 months of regular, unprotected intercourse. Regardless of symptoms, talk to your doctor if you don’t get pregnant after 6 months of trying if the female partner is over 35; after 12 months if she is younger.
Signs of Infertility in Men
Painful or swollen testicles can interfere with the production of testosterone, a necessary hormone for men’s reproductive health. Swollen testicles can be caused by an infection, fluid build-up (hydrocele), swollen varicose veins, trauma and even cancer. Cancer can also cause your testicles to become small and hard, so any changes in your testicles should be addressed.
If you notice swelling in one or both testicles, you should see a doctor, especially if you notice swelling with no accompanying pain or if the swelling does not go away after a few days. If you want to conceive, you need to be in the best health for reproduction, so make sure you address any pain or swelling in your testicles as soon as you notice it.
Inability to ejaculate can make it very difficult for you and your partner to conceive. Psychological issues, such as past sexual trauma and even stress or depression, can cause problems with ejaculation. Work with a specialist to determine how best to address your ejaculation issues.
If you cannot keep an erection and are unable to deliver sperm to your partner’s egg, it makes conception difficult. It is important to visit with a doctor who can check your hormones and address issues related to erectile dysfunction to determine the extent of the problem and come up with a treatment plan.
For men who experience a change in their sexual desire, this could point to a hormonal shift affecting their ability to produce viable sperm. If you are experiencing a major shift in sexual virility and you want to conceive, it may be time to get your hormones checked to determine what may be causing the issue.
Signs of Infertility in Women
Signs of infertility in women center around reproductive hormones, especially those that affect a woman’s menstrual cycles. Additionally, signs of infertility are related to ovarian conditions and sexual health. The following are signs of infertility in women:
On average, a woman’s menstrual cycle lasts 28 days. It is common for cycles to vary slightly; for instance, you may have a 28-day cycle one month followed by a 31-day cycle, followed by a 29-day cycle. However, if your menstrual cycle is so irregular that you never know when your period will begin or end, you may be experiencing a hormone-related issue that can affect fertility. A period tracking app can help you monitor your cycle to check for any abnormalities.
Additionally, you may have an underlying condition like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) affecting your cycles. This condition causes a hormonal imbalance that does not allow your body to grow and release eggs normally. PCOS is a common cause of infertility in women; although it can’t be cured, the symptoms are treatable to increase your chances of conceiving.
Painful or heavy periods can indicate underlying conditions, like endometriosis, which can make conceiving difficult. Dysmenorrhea, or frequent severe menstrual cramps during a period, is experienced by 60 to 80% of women with endometriosis, and 30 to 50% of women with this condition experience infertility.
Your uterus sheds the lining built up during ovulation during your period because it is no longer needed. If you consistently do not have a period, that means your body is not ovulating. If you are not ovulating (i.e., not releasing an egg), then you cannot conceive. If you notice that you stopped having periods, see a doctor to determine the cause, which can often be due to extreme stress or hormone disorders.
Painful sex can be caused by several issues, such as endometriosis or a hormonal imbalance. It can also be caused by undiagnosed Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which is caused by bacteria that move into the reproductive organs. PID is commonly caused by undiagnosed and untreated STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia or non-sexually-transmitted conditions like bacterial vaginosis. One in ten women with PID can become infertile, so visit your doctor for treatment if you experience painful intercourse.
Since hormones play such a key part in the ovulation and pregnancy processes, any imbalance that affects your reproductive system and egg health can interfere with your ability to get pregnant after 35. If you notice any of the following signs of a hormonal imbalance, you may want to speak to your doctor.
- Facial hair growth
- Changes in your skin
- Lack of sex drive
- Weight gain
- Thinning hair
While hormonal issues may require additional treatments, it is a good idea to maintain your egg health with CoQ10/ubiquinol, a naturally occurring nutrient in the body, while you address other issues that affect your fertility.
While not every fertility issue can be fixed or reversed, the earlier you notice and address signs of infertility, the more likely you are to get yourself in the best health for reproduction. Many of the signs of infertility, such as irregular periods caused by endometriosis or swollen testicles, are issues that can be treated when discovered early, which means you may be able to conceive after you treat the underlying problem. Your best chance of success when it comes to conception is to pay attention to the signs of infertility and address them with your doctor as soon as possible.