Starting a new phase of your life and building a family can be both exciting and frightening. It’s a unique experience that has its merits and own set of challenges. Some may find it difficult to conceive even after years of trying, while others can easily get pregnant. However, there are certain health conditions you may not know of that affects your chances of having a baby.
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while yet to no avail, you may be suffering from a health condition that hinders your chances of getting pregnant. Determining the cause of your infertility as soon as possible will help you find the right treatment.
Here are some health issues that can prevent you from getting pregnant:
1. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder experienced by many women. Those who suffer from PCOS will have unusual menstrual periods and abnormal levels of male hormones (androgen). This results in the development of follicles in the ovaries and may cause irregular production of eggs.
What’s The Cause Of PCOS?
There are numerous factors that can cause this condition among women. Inflammation, genetics, or hormonal imbalances can affect a woman’s ovaries and may result to PCOS.
- Inflammation- Inflammation in the reproductive system can prevent a healthy ovulation cycle which may hinder fertility. Women with PCOS usually have low-grade inflammation that prompts polycystic ovaries to produce androgens, which can also lead to heart and blood vessel conditions.
- Hormonal Imbalance– Increased androgen production can result to difficulties with regular ovulation.
- Genetics- Certain genes inherited from a family member may be linked to PCOS.
The development of PCOS can vary for each person. Some may start experiencing symptoms during puberty, while some may have it later in life. Here are some symptoms that may indicate PCOS:
- Irregular Menstrual Cycle- A common sign of PCOS is erratic menstrual cycles. You may have this condition if you have abnormally heavy periods or have less than nine menstrual cycles in a year.
- Physical Signs- Excess facial and body hair, severe acne, and baldness.
- Polycystic Ovaries– Enlarged ovaries which can be determined through a medical examination.
2. Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
This condition occurs when ovulation stops or becomes irregular before the age of 40. Women in their late 40s to 50s will experience menopause which is the permanent halt in ovary production. Women in menopause can no longer get pregnant. Premature ovarian failure, on the other hand, causes irregular period cycles which lead to infertility. Those who suffer from POF can still get pregnant though not ovulating regularly. There are treatments available that can help restore the estrogen levels in women to help regulate the ovulation cycle.
What Are The Symptoms Of POF?
It’s important to detect POF early on as low estrogen levels, which is the primary cause of the ovarian failure, can lead to other complications such as osteoporosis if left untreated.
Symptoms of primary ovarian failure have similarities with menopause and estrogen deficiency. It’s important to visit a doctor if you’re experiencing any of the following conditions:
- Irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Hot flashes and night sweats
- Difficulty getting pregnant
- Inability to concentrate
- Low sexual drive
- Dry eyes
Getting medical attention will help you determine which condition you’re experiencing. Centers like Leavitt Women’s Healthcare have experts that can help provide the proper diagnosis and treatment for your health problem.
Another health condition that may hinder you from getting pregnant is adenomyosis. This happens when the uterus lining (endometrial tissue) enlarges and grows into the muscles of the uterus. The displaced tissue will thicken and breakdown during each menstrual cycle and may cause pain and heavy periods.
The enlarged uterus wall can block sperm and hinder embryo implantation and reduce the chances of conception.
What Are The Symptoms Of Adenomyosis?
Some women who are suffering from this illness might not even know they have the condition as they might not experience any signs or symptoms. However, adenomyosis can induce:
- Heavy periods
- Severe cramps and sharp pelvic pain during menstruation
- Pelvic discomfort
- Tenderness in the lower abdomen
- Painful sexual intercourse
4. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
An infection in the reproductive organ can also affect your attempt to get pregnant. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) happens when bacteria from sexual interaction spread from your vagina to the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.This condition can cause damage to the reproductive organ, resulting to infertility.
What Are The Symptoms of PID?
The signs of inflammation can be mild and difficult to detect. It can easily be mistaken as normal occurrence during menstrual cycle, so it’s advisable to see a doctor if you’re having difficulties getting pregnant and may be experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- Pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
- Abnormal vaginal discharge with an unpleasant odor
- Uterine bleeding during or after intercourse or in between periods
- Pain in the uterus during sexual intercourse
- Pain or difficulty urinating
Underactive thyroid or hypothyroidism is an illness in the endocrine system in which production of the thyroid hormone is insufficient. Low levels of the thyroid hormone can affect menstruation and ovulation. The imbalance in hormones can cause irregularities in the release of egg cells during ovulation and may cause difficulties in conceiving.
Hypothyroidism can also shorten the second half of your period. When this happens, a fertilized egg will not have enough time to attach to the womb. Other conditions such as low body temperature, ovarian cysts, and high thyroid peroxidase (TPO) caused by this illness can also result to pregnancy loss.
What Are The Symptoms of Hypothyroidism?
Some common symptoms of hypothyroidism include the following:
- Weight gain
- Muscle soreness and weakness
- Sensitivity to cold temperatures
- Thinning hair
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Irregular and heavy menstrual periods
There are other factors that may also affect your chances of getting pregnant. Certain medications, habits, or preexisting health conditions can impede your fertility, preventing you from having a baby.
- Medications-Birth control medications can deplete the necessary nutrients for fertility such as Vitamin C, B12, folate, and selenium. If you plan to discontinue your birth control medications, be sure to replenish by increasing intake of healthy food and taking a prenatal vitamin which can help restore the necessary nutrients needed for a healthy pregnancy.
- Immune Conditions– Autoimmune diseases such as endometriosis and diabetes can lower fertility rates.
- Caffeine– Consuming excessive amounts of caffeine products, such as coffee, energy drinks, or tea can lower the chances of getting pregnant.
- Smoking–Smoking can decrease your chances of getting pregnant and may also increase the chances of miscarriage.
- Alcohol– Drinking alcoholic beverages frequently can also contribute to lower conception rates.
Are There Treatments For Infertility?
There are treatments available that can help address the conditions that prevent you from conceiving. Most problems that cause infertility can be alleviated through the help of a medical expert. There are a number of treatments that can help address the root cause of your difficulties.
- Fertility Drugs– Difficulty in conceiving due to ovulation disorders can be addressed by fertility drugs. Medications work by stimulating hormones to trigger ovulation and regulate the production of better eggs.
- Surgery- In cases where the problem lies in the anatomical level such an obstructed uterus or blocked fallopian tubes, surgery is the most viable option to solve infertility. Laparoscopic or tubal surgeries are performed to correct abnormalities in the female reproductive organ.
- Reproductive Assistance- Helps women to conceive through assisted processes such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). These processes help make it easier for a woman’s body to get an egg fertilized and is usually monitored for weeks until fertilization occurs.
There are also other ways to increase fertility naturally. Aside from consulting a doctor to help address your condition, making changes in your daily health habits can improve your overall health and make it easier for the body to conceive.
A good diet is key to overall good health. If you’re trying to get pregnant, it’s best to pay attention to your meals as this can affect your chances of having a baby. Supplying enough nutrients to the body will encourage better hormone production and may help regulate menstrual cycles.
Add Antioxidant-rich FoodToYour Diet
Antioxidant rich food can help reduce free radicals that damage egg cells in the body. Food rich in vitamin E and C, folate, beta-carotene, and lutein like fruit, nuts, and grains can help boost your fertility.
Trans fat can negatively affect your ovulation levels. It’s best to skip food containing trans fat such as fast food, fried food, and processed food.
Watch Your Carbs
Carbohydrates are needed by the body to produce the needed energy to function correctly. However, eating carbs carelessly can affect your fertility. You should pay attention to the amount and type of carbs you’re consuming if you’re trying to get pregnant. Switching to a low-carb diet can help regulate your hormone levels, especially when you have PCOS.
The journey to becoming a parent is different for everybody. Some will have little to no trouble conceiving a child, while others will struggle for a long time just to be fertile. If you’re worried about your reproductive health, it’s best to consult a doctor, especially if you’re experiencing any symptoms that may affect your ovulation.