Both men and women can have fertility problems. Get to know the numerous signs and symptoms of infertility in men and women to get the necessary treatment.
Infertility refers to not being able to conceive even after six to twelve months of unprotected intercourse, unless medical history, age, or physical findings suggest earlier diagnosis and treatment. It is a reproductive tract disease that prevents the body’s most basic function, the conception of children. According to the World Health Organization, 48 million couples and 186 million individuals have infertility worldwide. Half of the couples who get help can eventually conceive, either with or without medical help.
Debunking the myth
The misconception that only women are responsible for infertility issues is entirely false. It is necessary to debunk this myth as it leads to extreme psychological distress in women. Conception is a complex process, and there are a lot of factors contributing to it. The factors include the production of healthy sperm by the man and healthy eggs by the woman. Sperm’s ability to fertilise the egg, sufficient embryo quality and its ability to become implanted in the woman’s uterus are equally contributing factors. All the factors suggest that both men and women can have fertility problems. It is essential to know the numerous signs and symptoms of infertility in men and women to get the necessary treatment.
Indicators that you have fertility issues (men)
The signs and symptoms of every individual can vary greatly. Still, some of the most common indicators include:
- Testicular pain and swelling
- Small firm testicles
- Problems in ejaculating
- Inability to maintain an erection
- Significant change in sexual desires
Indicators that you have fertility issues (women)
It is relatively easier to observe infertility indicators in women than men. The most common signs of infertility are:
- Irregular and abnormal periods, where the gaps between the cycles keep changing and the flow varies (either is light or heavy irregularly)
- Hormonal changes: Symptoms include skin changes like acne, growth of hair on lips, chest and chin
- Being overweight
- Changes in sex drive/desire
- Discharge from nipples not related to breastfeeding
- Heavy periods with extreme cramps can also be a symptom of endometriosis. On the other hand, having no periods for months is a grave sign to get your fertility checked as well.
The indicators of infertility differ for men and women. However, the risk factors for infertility are common for both genders. Women’s fertility gradually decreases after turning 35, and men over 40 are relatively less fertile than younger men. Either of the gender smoking tobacco or drugs and drinking alcohol may reduce their likelihood of conceiving. Smoking may also reduce the possible effectiveness of fertility treatment. Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have issues in conceiving, whereas men who smoke have a higher chance of erectile dysfunction and low sperm count. Being underweight or overweight and not exercising puts the individual at risk of various fertility problems.
One can improve their chances of conceiving by getting proper consultation and changes in their lifestyle. It is always better to get a proper diagnosis done to rule out any serious issues like endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, etc that may hamper your fertility
What to do after the diagnosis?
Infertility has a significant negative social impact on the lives of infertile couples as they experience anxiety, emotional distress, deep feelings of grief and loss. The most important thing in this process is to know that you’re not alone. If you’ve been diagnosed, it is necessary to understand that infertility doesn’t always mean that one is sterile. With the advancement in the artificial reproductive techniques, various safe and effective fertility treatments significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant. It is advisable to visit your doctor and go over your concerns.
by Dr. Shaweez Faizi