Infertility is defined differently, depending on your age. Women under the age of 35 who have been having unprotected sex at least twice a week for a year may be considered infertile, while women over the age of 35 who haven’t become pregnant after six months of trying fall into the same category.
Dr. Parisa Pourzand and her staff have treated many women who were dealing with infertility. Several health conditions can impact your ability to get pregnant, and in this post we talk about three very common issues. In most cases, there are options to treat infertility.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is a hormonal issue in which your body produces more male hormones or androgens than you need. Scientists don’t fully understand why some women develop PCOS. Some common PCOS symptoms include:
- Irregular periods
- Missed periods
- Hair on your chest, stomach, or back
- Skin tags
- Dark or thick patches of skin on your neck, underarms, or under your breasts
- Unexplained weight gain
You may develop fluid-filled cysts on your ovaries, as well, though not all women do. The hormonal imbalance can disrupt your ovulation and that can cause infertility.
Even though scientists don’t completely understand PCOS, there are effective, inexpensive treatment options. When PCOS is controlled, rates of infertility are lower.
Each month, through your menstrual cycle, the lining of your uterus — your endometrium — grows and thickens, then sheds away during your period. If you have endometriosis, that lining grows in places it shouldn’t, such as outside your uterus. When that happens, there’s nowhere for it to go when it’s time to shed away.
Endometriosis can be mild to severe. If your endometrium grows on your bladder, intestine, or other organs, it can cause serious issues. For many women, endometriosis means having painful, irregular, or very heavy periods.
Some of the treatments for endometriosis aren’t conducive to pregnancy. For example, hormone therapy can prevent pregnancy, and having a hysterectomy also means no pregnancy.
However, if Dr. Pourzand knows you may want to become pregnant in the future, or you have endometriosis and you’re trying to become pregnant, she may be able to offer more conservative treatment options.
Most women have uterine fibroids, and many never even know they do. Fibroids are muscular tumors that are nearly always non-cancerous. Although you may have them and be completely asymptomatic, you may also experience uncomfortable symptoms like painful periods, heavy bleeding, and infertility.
Since fibroids can cause symptoms or not, can grow in varied locations, and can be very small or quite large, the best treatment depends on many different factors. Your symptoms play a big role in what treatment is likely to work best for you, but whether or not you want to become pregnant may make a difference, too.
If you want to become pregnant, whether or not you’ve passed the threshold that defines infertility for your age group, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pourzand. She can help you understand what to expect based on your medical history. In this post we discussed only three of many conditions that can impact your fertility. It’s always a good idea to get advice based on your specific circumstances.