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  • Gain Comfort for Your Infertility- Understanding the Causes, Symptoms and How to Move Forward

    Not being able to get pregnant is one of the hardest things a woman or man for that matter could deal with. You wait, hope and cross your fingers that each month your pregnancy test reveals a positive sign. But if it doesn’t, a cycle sets off again that leads to feelings of anger, frustration, self doubt and isolation. These feelings surface and you feel like there’s nowhere to turn. Here’s where you’re wrong. Infertility is not the end all, be all- it’s simply a stumbling block. And with the right amount of knowledge and guidance, it’s also something you can overcome and accept. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. But first let’s look at some of the causes, symptoms to look for and how to move on.

    Causes of Infertility- Breaking Down Female and Male Infertility

    If you and your partner are struggling to have a baby first and foremost know you’re not alone. Studies have been shown that about 10- 15% of couples experience infertility in one way or another. So keep that in the back of your mind when you think it’s only you. It’s important to realize that there are others just like you going through the same thing. But you also need to understand that your journey is unique to you and your partner. It includes both of you. Infertility is not one-sided, let’s take a closer look.

    As a female, you probably already had the idea in mind that you’ll be married and pregnant by the time you hit the big 30! Well in most cases nowadays, that just doesn’t happen. Our lives are busier, we work more, travel often and fully engulf ourselves in way too many responsibilities and obligations. So, take a step back and look at your situation. When you take the time to understand what your life looks like and your individual case, you’re much more able to focus on the here and now and develop a plan for your journey. 

    There are many kinds of causes of infertility in women, some more common than others but in today’s day of age- they are much more understood and treatable. Let’s start with ovulation disorders. If you have trouble tracking your ovulation, then perhaps it’s time to talk with your doctor about a possible ovulation disorder. Ovulation disorders occur when an underlying issue affects the release of an egg, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Other disorders could also include hyperprolactinemia, which is a condition where you have too much prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that stimulates breast milk production and could potentially interfere with ovulation. 

    Also, take a look at your exercise and eating habits. Are you working out way too much and eating way too little to compensate for those workouts? If that’s the case it may be time to reevaluate what you put back into your body. 

    There are other reasons why you may have fertility issues but regardless of what you’re thinking might be happening in that wonderful body of yours, talk to your doctor. And even more importantly make sure that conversation is with a doctor you can rely on and trust. 

    Remember earlier when you read that infertility isn’t one-sided. That’s absolutely true. Men also have fertility issues so you can’t only assume it’s a female issue. Men can have abnormal sperm production or function due to-

    Undescended testicles

    Genetic defects

    Health problems

    Enlarged veins in the testes

    Men may also have problems delivering their sperm due to certain genetic diseases or other underlying issues. You also have to take a look at the type of environment you’re in. Is it possible that you or your partner work around pesticides, chemicals or radiation. Also, don’t slight the fact that smoking, poor eating habits and excessive use of alcohol also affect the reproductive systems. So go ahead, encourage your partner to get checked out. Neither one of you can assume it’s just you. You’re a team and both on this journey together. So make sure you advocate for yourselves, ask questions, don’t stop asking until you get answers and find comfort and support in the right places

    Symptoms of Infertility- What Does It Look Like

    Of course the main symptom of infertility is not being able to get pregnant. Sometimes women that experience infertility also have irregular or even absent periods. Again, make sure you examine your lifestyle, nourish yourself inside and out and stay positive. Make sure to keep up with your yearly gynecological screenings so you can rule out other underlying issues. You and your doctor should be working closely together, talking about any concerns you may have or monitoring your month cycle. Sometimes it’s just a matter of time, relaxation (yes, stress does affect your ability to get pregnant) and maintaining a healthy lifestyle but other times it may take a little more support to get you on your way. 

    If you’re male, perhaps you’ve experienced signs of hormonal problems like changes in sexual functioning or hair growth. Just be mindful, know your body and if something seems off, have an open and honest conversation with your doctor. There’s never a silly question or reason to be embarrassed. This is your life, dream and health we’re talking about here so advocate and put yourself and your partner first. 

    Moving Forward- When to See a Doctor and How to Seek Support

    Obviously waiting to get pregnant is very hard to do especially if you’ve already been diagnosed with fertility issues. Take it one day, and one step at a time. Give you and your partner a few months of actively trying to get pregnant before you decide it’s time to seek other support and guidance. If you’re a woman under the age of 35 and have been trying to get pregnant for a year, it’s most likely time to seek the advice of a fertility specialist.  If you’re older than 35 doctors recommend seeing a specialist after 6 months of trying, if older than 40, make sure you talk to your gynecologist without delay. 

    Aside from seeing a doctor there are also other supports in place that can help both you and your partner gain comfort and understand your journey together. This is a difficult time, and along with the struggle of not getting pregnant on your terms, the emotion and worry that surface can affect your relationship in a negative way, but please don’t let it. 

    You are just that, partners. You’re together for a reason, so as hard as it may seem to not push each other away, resist. Take comfort and solace in knowing that together you’ll come out of this obstacle stronger, maybe even more in tune with one another. 

    Seek guidance and support from a therapist. Therapists for instance can give you the opportunity to open up about your worries and emotions in a safe, judgment free environment leaving more room to grow together and get what you need from one another.

    Therapists also give you the opportunity to gain clarity and understanding for your unique situation. Talking with one another can also help you realize that once again, you’re not alone. You’re in a place that might feel lonely, but there’s a way to heal and move forward- one step at a time. 

    Believe in your journey and believe that together, anything is possible.