It’s generally understood that by age 35, women who are hoping to grow their families may need to see a specialist if they’re having trouble conceiving. Younger women, however, typically don’t think about fertility testing until they’re trying to get pregnant, unless they have a family history of early menopause or have had cancer treatment at a young age.
However, there are some specific symptoms that may indicate a medical condition that could negatively impact your fertility. The symptoms of several gynecological conditions overlap, and others go undetected because they can mimic an especially painful period, so it can be difficult to know which symptoms mean you should see a doctor, which mean you should consult with a fertility specialist, and which aren’t cause for any concern at all.
Here are some medical issues that impact fertility and which symptoms to look out for.
Ovulation Issues and Fertility
Irregularities in your period could be a sign of issues with ovulation, which could directly impact your ability to conceive naturally.
The types of irregularities to watch for include:
- Very light period
- Very heavy period
- Severe pain, or no discomfort at all
- Period that comes significantly early or significantly late
If you experience these symptoms, you should see your gynecologist, who will be able to determine whether an underlying issue is causing irregularities and whether it could impact your fertility.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition in which the body produces an unusually high level of androgen, a male hormone that is normally converted into estrogen in a female body. An overabundance of androgen can interrupt ovulation.
PCOS, which is a leading cause of infertility, often has the following symptoms:
- Irregular menstruation
- Pelvic pain both during and outside menstruation
- Dark patches of skin
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
- Thinning hair
- Unwanted hair growth (face/body)
Endometriosis is a disease that causes tissue that would normally grow inside the uterus to grow outside the uterus instead. This disease is frustratingly underdiagnosed, often because its symptoms can closely mimic those of other gynecological issues or even those of a painful or uncomfortable period. Women with these symptoms often assume that they must simply deal with their discomfort and therefore do not discuss them with their gynecologists.
The outer tissue that this disease produces can lead to scarring, pelvic inflammation, lowered egg quality, and other issues that can adversely impact your fertility.
Because endometriosis is so commonly overlooked, it’s important that you speak up if you believe your period is severe. If you have these symptoms, be sure to discuss them with your doctor:
- An irregular period
- A heavy period
- Painful intercourse
- Painful urination and/or bowel movements
- Pain and/or discomfort in your lower back, pelvis, abdomen, vagina, or rectum
If you’re unsure if the symptoms you’re experiencing could signal an issue that negatively impacts your fertility or if you have other questions about signs of infertility and your treatment options, make an appointment with Fertility Solutions today.