stressed woman staring at a pregnancy test

How do I know if I am infertile?

Dr. Muthoni Mwangi
What are the signs of fertility in women? It could be that you get your periods normally yet you are not able to conceive. What could be the problem?

In females, regular menses with pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms are usually an indicator that the woman is ovulating. But, what if you have normal menses but still can’t get pregnant?

Determining whether you are fertile or not requires a doctor to evaluate you. Evaluation for infertility should be done after 12 months of regular unprotected intercourse in women below 35 years of age and 6 months in women above 35 years of age.

It should be done earlier for women above 40 years or in women who have known risk factors for infertility, such as previous infection of the pelvic organs, known endometriosis, previous pelvic surgery, or abnormalities. In a couple trying to get pregnant, it is important to evaluate both partners as infertility can be due to male or female factors.

The doctor will try to understand your history—medical and surgical and signs of abnormal hormonal profiles, thyroid, testosterone, and prolactin can include excessive weight gain or loss, hoarse voice, excessive body hair, and milky breast discharge.

The doctor may also conduct a pap smear, pelvic ultrasound, analysis of the patency of fallopian tubes, and a hormonal profile. Different hormone level tests can be done to assess the ovary’s ability to release an egg. The presence of large fibroids or fibroids in the inner lining of the uterus can affect fertility. For males, semen analysis is done to check the quality and quantity of sperm.

How often you have sex affects fertility; for a couple trying to conceive, it should be at least 3 times a week. Alcohol, smoking, stress, and obesity also affect fertility.

Here are your treatment options:

  • Lifestyle changes: Weight loss, exercise, diet, and stopping alcohol or smoking can significantly improve fertility.
  • Medication: There are drugs available to stimulate ovulation. They should be used under the guidance of a physician as they can cause multiple pregnancies, which carry more risks compared to single-fetal pregnancies.
  • Surgery: This can be done for the treatment of endometriosis or the removal of fibroids. Women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) with infections extending to the fallopian tubes may need surgery to remove the fallopian tubes because when they are infected, they reduce the chances of a successful pregnancy.

For couples seeking fertility treatment, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Care and follow-up are tailored depending on how a couple presents, and treatment modalities take into consideration the patient’s preferences.

The fertility journey is a delicate one, and a patient’s psychological and emotional status is always taken into consideration.

Remember, the fertility journey can be challenging, but with the right support and treatment, success can be reached. In the current times, we are embracing surrogacy, egg donation, and adoption.

Also, it is always recommended to have your partner tested to determine whether the problem is on their end.

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