Infertility means a couple’s inability to conceive naturally, even after one year of unprotected sexual cohabitation. It affects many couples around the world, but there also are treatment options available.
According to Dr Sudip Basu, gynecologist and infertility expert at Srishti Infertility Clinic, Kolkata, the causes of infertility in women can be many, like ovulation disorders, damage in the fallopian tube, endometriosis, uterine or cervical causes and so on. “It can be detected and treated at an early age by monitoring the symptoms. The earlier it is detected, the sooner it can be cured,” he said.
The doctor explained some major symptoms which could indicate infertility. Read on.
* Heavy, long, or painful periods: Some women have mild periods for a few days, while others have heavy periods and terrible cramps regularly. Endometriosis, a disease in which tissues normally located in the womb are found elsewhere in the body, may be prevalent in women who have heavy, painful periods. Some other symptoms of endometriosis include irregular periods and spotting, chronic pelvic pain (not only during menstruation), bowel problems or pain with bowel movements, pain during sex, back pain, fatigue, nausea etc.
* Irregularity in menstrual cycle: An irregular cycle, which includes missed periods, may lead to infertility since it indicates that one is not ovulating on a regular basis. Ovulation irregularities can be caused by a variety of factors, including polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), obesity, underweight, and thyroid problems.
* Hormonal problems: Some signs of hormonal fluctuation are severe acne, cold feet and hands, reduced sex drive, loss of sexual desire, nipple discharge, growth of facial hair, thinning hair on the top of the head, unexplained weight gain and more. A doctor can do tests to see whether you have any hormonal problems.
* Pain during intercourse: Dyspareunia, or pain during sex, might be an indication of an underlying health condition that can affect a woman’s fertility. Infections, endometriosis, and fibroids are examples of such health problems.
* Dark or pale menstrual blood: Menstrual blood is generally bright crimson at the start of a period and may darken over the next several days. If your menstrual blood is consistently lighter than normal or if it is very dark at the beginning days of periods, this might be a sign.
* Obesity: Obese women have a reduced chance of conceiving and are more likely to experience problems during pregnancy than others.
* Underlying medical conditions: Medical conditions like PCOS, premature menopause, cancer, cancer treatments, damage to ovaries or fallopian tube, endometriosis, etc., can be a cause.
“Tests like hysterosalpingography, endometrial biopsy, laparoscopy, hormone check-up can be done to find the cause of infertility, following which, suitable treatment options can be chosen like surgeries in case of any blockade in fallopian tube or ovarian cyst, IVF (in-vitro fertilization), intrauterine insemination, ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection), egg donation, GIFT (gamete intrafallopian tube transfer) and ZIFT (zygote intrafallopian transfer).
“A healthy lifestyle can act as a great preventive measure for infertility. Limiting caffeine, avoiding alcohol and smoking, maintaining body weight and reducing stress can help to a great extent,” the doctor concluded.