Identifying the signs of infertility can allow couples to seek medical assistance with these issues early. This can allow older individuals to correct these conditions while there is still time to achieve a healthy pregnancy and can help younger couples to start their families earlier. Dr. Shahryar Kavoussi and Dr. Parviz Kavoussi of Austin Fertility and Medicine/Westlake IVF weigh in on some of these factors and early signs.
Signs of Female Infertility
Some women do not exhibit any signs of infertility other than the apparent inability to become pregnant. According to Dr. Shahryar Kavoussi, a leading expert in the field of infertility in women, these warning signs should prompt a visit to a reproductive medicine specialist:
• Irregular, irregular or absent menstrual periods: These symptoms can be caused by hormonal imbalances, emotional stress, physical illness, low body weight or excessive weight gain or loss.
• Pelvic pain, specifically painful periods and/or painful deep penetration intercourse that affects quality of life may indicate the presence of endometriosis, a condition that occurs when the uterine lining grows within the body but outside of the uterus and the symptoms of pelvic pain may also indicate the presence of pelvic adhesions.
• Intermenstrual spotting: This may be an early warning sign of endometrial polyps, which are grows of the lining of the uterus.
• Heavy, prolonged menstrual periods: These can also indicate the presence of uterine fibroids.
• Weight gain and excess hair growth on chin or lips: These visible symptoms may indicate hormonal problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), that could affect fertility in women.
• Increase in facial acne: Hormonal issues, usually polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can cause adult acne as well as infertility in some women.
Furthermore, Dr. Shahryar Kavoussi indicates that these general health problems can affect female fertility:
• Polycystic ovary syndrome (POS)
• Thyroid hormone abnormalities
• Chemotherapy and radiation therapy for cancers
• Autoimmune conditions, including Type I diabetes and systemic lupus erythematosus
• Ruptured appendix, which can cause pelvic adhesions or tubal occlusions
By consulting with experienced fertility specialists in Austin, patients can often receive guidance and treatment to increase their chances of achieving a healthy pregnancy.
Signs of Male Infertility
As with female patients, men suffering from infertility may not show any obvious symptoms at all. According to reproductive urologist, Dr. Parviz Kavoussi, the most common signs of fertility issues for male patients include the following:
• History of male hormonal issues
• Use of testosterone, testosterone products or body building supplements
• History of having an undescended testicle
• History of trauma to the genitalia
• A previous diagnosis of a varicocele
• History of testicular infection
• Previous history of sexually transmitted disease
• Ejaculatory dysfunction
• History of mumps
• History of testicular torsion
• Erectile dysfunction
• History of chemotherapy or radiation treatments
• Family history of cystic fibrosis
• Small testicles
• Failure to develop secondary sexual characteristics, including pubic or underarm hair
Dr. Parviz Kavoussi also notes that these medical issues can interfere with reproductive functions in men:
• Low testosterone
• Genetic abnormalities to include Klinefelter’s syndrome
• Spinal cord injuries
• Multiple sclerosis
Seeking Professional Help for Infertility
Most fertility experts recommend that younger couples seek medical advice after one year of unsuccessful attempts at achieving pregnancy. For older men and women, however, time is of the essence. Experts suggest women who are thirty-five and older should seek medical help after six months of trying. The right treatment plan can provide added help for couples and can greatly increase their chances of conceiving a healthy baby. Be sure to check the credentials and board certifications of the physicians involved to ensure the highest quality care and the most appropriate treatment plan.
Scheduling an appointment with a specialist to determine the causes of infertility can often provide insight into the most effective treatments for these issues. Dr. Shahryar Kavoussi advises, “Consulting with a reproductive endocrinologist will help women identify the reasons for not conceiving and begin the process of correcting these problems to achieve the best chance at a healthy pregnancy.”
Likewise, men should consult with a male fertility specialist to determine if a male factor is involved. “Twenty percent of the cases of couples experiencing infertility are due solely to a male factor. If we consider that thirty to forty percent of cases have both female and male factor involved, then fifty to sixty percent of the time there is a male factor at play,” states Dr. Parviz Kavoussi.