Trouble Keeping An Erection
Erectile dysfunction , also called impotence, is a condition where you have trouble keeping or getting an erection hard enough for sex. While impotence can be emotional or psychological, it’s usually caused by other health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, stress, and hormones. Low testosterone can cause infertility, so it’s a good idea to have erection problems assessed.
How Do I Know If My Partner Or I May Be Infertile
Infertility is defined as the inability to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse. If you or your female partner are over the age of 35, you should see a fertility specialist after six months. After age 40, we recommend seeking help right away because we know fertility declines as age increases.
Why You Can’t Have A Period While Pregnant
A true period is blood loss that occurs at the end of a menstrual cycle as a result of your egg not being fertilized by sperm. When an egg goes unfertilized, hormonesthe ones that control the release of the egg into your fallopian tubes and cause your womb lining to thickendrop in levels at the end of the month. Your womb lining then disintegrates and is shed in what we commonly refer to as a period.
If you’re pregnant, an egg has already been fertilized and is growing as an embryo within the walls of your uterus. Since your womb lining is not being discarded at the end of each month, you no longer have a period. This is why one of the early signs of pregnancy is a missed period.
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Pelvic Pain And Fertility
Pelvic pain can also occur when you are not expecting your period. For example, some people experience ovulation pain. Ovulation pain is common: Up to 50% of women report they’ve had it at least once in their lives, and 20% say they get it every month.
Pain during ovulation is not normal if it interferes with your daily life and causes painful sexual intercourse, or if it is sudden and severe. Ovulation pain can be so severe in some women that it prevents them from having sex when they are most likely to conceive. If you’re trying to get pregnant, and pain is preventing you from having sex, that can certainly lower your odds of conception.
However, some people experience painful intercourse no matter what time of the month it is. Sex should not hurt. If you have recurrent, persistent, or severe pain with sexual intercourse or during ovulation, talk to your doctor.
Ovulation pain and painful sex can be symptoms of a reproductive health condition, such as endometriosis.
When To Call A Doctor
Doctors recommend that you see a doctor about your fertility if
- You’re 35 years or older and have been trying for at least six months
- You’re younger than 35 and have been trying for at least one year
If either of these fit your situation then see a doctor, even if you have no symptoms of a fertility problem.
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How Long Should Women Try To Get Pregnant Before Calling Their Doctors
Most experts suggest at least one year. Women 35 or older should see their doctors after six months of trying. A woman’s chances of having a baby decrease rapidly every year after the age of 30.
Some health problems also increase the risk of infertility. So, women should talk to their doctors if they have:
- Irregular periods or no menstrual periods
- Very painful periods
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- More than one miscarriage
It is a good idea for any woman to talk to a doctor before trying to get pregnant. Doctors can help you get your body ready for a healthy baby. They can also answer questions on fertility and give tips on conceiving.
What Are The Most Common Causes Of Infertility
Infertility can be a result of many different factors even in one person or couple. The most common causes include problems with ovulation, structural issues in the uterus or fallopian tubes, or abnormalities in sperm.
In females, medical conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome , uterine polyps or a history of pelvic infections are often associated with infertility.
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Can You Still Be Infertile If You Have A Period
Yes. Having regular predictable periods is a good indicator that you ovulate regularly. In other words, it means an egg is being released from your ovaries on a regular basis. But, ovulation alone does not guarantee that you can get pregnant. Sometimes there can be an issue with egg quality, how the egg is fertilized, its ability to be transported to the uterus, or how it becomes implanted in the uterus. There may also be a problem with the sperm. If youre having a period and regular intercourse but have not conceived, it is important to talk to your health care provider about whether a referral to a fertility specialist is warranted.
A Curious Case Of Anovulation
Irregular periods may also be a sign of anovulation. During the menstrual cycle, a mature egg releases. When ovulation does not occur, the cycle is anovulatory. Though not a disease, research shows consistent anovulation indicates an underlying fertility or hormonal issue. In most cases, doctors prescribe fertility drugs or other treatment to improve ovulation and regulate the period.
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Can I Get Pregnant Just After My Period Has Finished
Yes, although it’s not very likely. If you have sex without using contraception, you can conceive at any time during your menstrual cycle, even during or just after your period.
You can also get pregnant if you have never had a period before, during your first period, or after the first time you have sex.
There’s no “safe” time of the month when you can have sex without contraception and not risk becoming pregnant.
But there are times in your menstrual cycle when you’re at your most fertile, and this is when you’re most likely to conceive.
What Is A Menstrual Cycle
Hint, it is more than just your period. The menstrual cycle is a series of changes a womans body goes through each month whereby the ovary releases an egg and the uterus prepares for pregnancy. The cycle can be divided into two phases: the follicular phase and the luteal phase.
The first day of your menses or period is day 1 of your cycle and the start of the follicular phase. During this phase, follicle stimulating hormone , is released from the brain to stimulate the development of a single dominant follicle which contains one egg. During its maturation, the follicle releases estrogen which stimulates growth and thickening of the uterine lining. The follicular phase concludes at the start of ovulation the process of releasing a mature egg from the dominant follicle. The length of the follicular phase is variable between individuals, resulting in most variations of total cycle length.
The luteal phase starts after ovulation and continues until the onset of the next menses. During this phase, the ovary releases progesterone which changes the uterine lining and opens the window of implantation the time during which the embryo can attach to the uterus. If pregnancy does not occur, the progesterone level drops and bleeding occurs. The luteal phase is usually between 12-14 days.
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You Don’t Have Periods At All
Dr. Douglas says another culprit of irregular or absent menses could be Premature Ovarian Insufficiency . “POI occurs when ovaries cease functioning before the age of 40, and when you stop ovulating, it can be very challenging to get pregnant,” she says. Dr. Douglas tells Bustle if you have POI, you experience perimenopause much earlier in life than average think hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and decreased libido.
People with POI have options for getting pregnant, though, Dr. Douglas says. “That said, it’s very important to consult an OBGYN and check in on your hormones to see if you might have the conditions, since the symptoms are sometimes hard to detect without further information.”
While the majority of people with ovaries can expect to experience reduced fertility when they reach 40, the US Department of Health and Human Services states that reduced fertility and irregular periods can happen in people with POI as early as their teen years. It’s also important to know that the condition can be hereditary: about 10% to 20% of people who suffer from POI have a family history of the condition.
What Will My Doctor Ask During An Appointment To Diagnose Female Infertility
Your healthcare provider will need to know about your menstrual periods, any past pregnancies, miscarriages, pelvic pain, unusual vaginal bleeding or discharge. You may also be asked about any past pelvic infections or sexually transmitted infections . Some questions may include:
- Have you had any previous pregnancies or miscarriages?
- Is your menstrual cycle normal and regular or painful and irregular?
- Do you have heavy bleeding or abnormal discharge?
- Do you have any pelvic pain?
- Have you had any abdominal surgeries in the past?
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It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
While many women feel that their monthly cycle is mysterious, some also struggle with it being completely unpredictable. If you have irregular periods , its likely that you arent ovulating or youre ovulating irregularly. Around 30 percent of infertility problems are caused by not ovulating, or to use the technical terms: oligo or anovulation.
What Medicines Are Used To Treat Infertility In Women
Some common medicines used to treat infertility in women include:
- Clomiphene citrate : This medicine causes ovulation by acting on the pituitary gland. It is often used in women who have polycystic ovary syndrome or other problems with ovulation. This medicine is taken by mouth.
- Human menopausal gonadotropin or hMG : This medicine is often used for women who don’t ovulate due to problems with their pituitary gland. hMG acts directly on the ovaries to stimulate ovulation. It is an injected medicine.
- follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH : FSH works much like hMG. It causes the ovaries to begin the process of ovulation. These medicines are usually injected.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone analog: These medicines are often used for women who don’t ovulate regularly each month. Women who ovulate before the egg is ready can also use these medicines. Gn-RH analogs act on the pituitary gland to change when the body ovulates. These medicines are usually injected or given with a nasal spray.
- Metformin : Doctors use this medicine for women who have insulin resistance and/or PCOS. This drug helps lower the high levels of male hormones in women with these conditions. This helps the body to ovulate. Sometimes clomiphene citrate or FSH is combined with metformin. This medicine is usually taken by mouth.
- Bromocriptine : This medicine is used for women with ovulation problems due to high levels of prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that causes milk production.
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Possible Causes Of Infertility Despite Regular Menstrual Periods
- Male Factor Infertility – An estimated one third of infertility cases can be traced to male infertility. If the woman is having regular menstrual periods but is not conceiving, one first step is for the male partner to get a semen analysis.
- Age – The quality of womenâs eggs begins to deteriorate from the age of about 35. Even though she still has regular periods, the eggs and hormones each month may be less than ideal. A doctor can discuss options.
- Structural Infertility – Some women have structural problems which mean that ovulation or fertilization cannot take place, despite the appearance of a regular menstrual period. Possible causes include a blockage of the fallopian tubes or endometriosis. In some cases there are other symptoms . Often, though, there may be no external symptoms to indicate a problem. Doctors typically use a hysterosalpingogram to diagnose these problems. Dye is injected into the cervix and the pelvic area is x-rayed, allowing doctors to chart the flow of the dye. Surgery may be required to correct the problem.
- Thyroid Problem – Thyroid problems can go undiagnosed for years, but one of the symptoms may be a failure to ovulate, despite regular menstrual periods. A thyroid imbalance can be easily diagnosed by a blood test, and then treated with prescription medication.
- Sexually Transmitted Disease – Some STDs can cause infertility, but may produce no external symptoms. A doctor can diagnose and treat an STD with a simple blood test.
How Rare Is It To Be Pregnant And Have Your Period
Despite numerous claims, it isnt possible to get your period while pregnant. Once the body starts the production of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin , your periods stop.
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What Does Your Menstrual Cycle Say About Your Fertility
One of the most common questions OB/GYNs have for their patients is When was the first day of your last period?. The answer to this question may feel like part of the usual routine at your annual OB/GYN appointment. If you have been trying to conceive without success, the answer could provide important insight into factors central to the menstrual cycle and conception such as hormonal imbalances and ovulation.
Medical contribution by Isaac E. Sasson, M.D., Ph.D.
Isaac E. Sasson, M.D., Ph.D., FACOG, is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and reproductive endocrinology and infertility. He has expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility, including in vitro fertilization, donor egg treatment, endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, and preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Dr. Sasson sees patients at SGFs Chesterbrook, Pennsylvania, office.
What Are Other Signs And Symptoms Of Infertility In Females
Aside from having trouble conceiving, symptoms can vary significantly from one person to another. Depending on the reason for infertility, sometimes women may experience pelvic pain, heavy periods, skipped periods or unpredictable vaginal bleeding. Its important to discuss any unusual symptoms with your doctor. Some of these symptoms may represent underlying hormonal conditions that should be addressed even if you are not trying to conceive.
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