Infertility Symptoms

Infertility is the inability of the couple to conceive in spite of regular, unprotected sex for about 12 months. It can be due to reproductive problems in either the man or the woman or sometimes both. Read on to know more on infertility symptoms.
Most married couples wish to have children someday. After the initial euphoria of marriage subsides and the 'newlywed' status begins to fade, couples start trying for conception. About 85% of couples receive the good news within a year of trying, whereas the rest eventually get it within 36 months. However, anxiety begins to pile up when the couple fails even after months of regular, unprotected sex. Infertility is characterized by inability to conceive even after a year of unprotected sex. It is basically of two types, primary, wherein the couple has never conceived and secondary, wherein the couple may have experienced a pregnancy in the past. Infertility symptoms may not be always distinct and physical. Yet, there are some sure shot signs and symptoms of infertility, which are as follows.

Infertility Symptoms in Women

Irregular Menstruation
Infertility symptoms in women are mostly associated with menstrual cycle. Having unusually short (less than 24 days) or unusually long (more than 35 days) menstrual cycle indicates certain problems with ovulation. Extremely light or extremely menstruation also signal a reproductive malfunction. Heavy cramping during periods is also associated with fertility problems. A condition named anovulation, in which the woman may be menstruating but fails to release egg, is also one of the common female infertility symptoms.

Hormonal Problems
Hormonal problems in women are mostly characterized by increase in male hormones. The obvious symptoms of hormonal problems in women are excess growth of facial hair, chronic acne in absence of other stimulating factor and defects in menstrual cycle. PCOS (ovarian cyst) is a common cause of infertility amongst most older women.

Painful Intercourse
Women with fertility problems often experience pain during sexual intercourse. The problem is mostly due to endometriosis, which essentially means the dislocation of endometrial lining (mostly outside the uterus).

Infertility Symptoms in Men

Ejaculatory Dysfunction
Problems with ejaculation are the most obvious physical symptoms of being infertile in men. Retrograde ejaculation is one of the most common male infertility symptoms. It is a condition when the man experiences normal erection and climax, but does not ejaculate anything during climax. This is because the semen is transported to the bladder, instead of penis. Normally, the opening of the bladder is closed during sexual intercourse, so that the semen does not flow back to the bladder.

Impotency is a generic term that encompasses a range of sexual problems in men. Premature ejaculation, loss of libido, erectile dysfunction, poor quality of semen are some of the symptoms of impotency. Impotency has an adverse effect on the sexual life of the couple, thereby making conception very difficult. There are several reasons for impotency such as chronic illnesses, certain drugs and medications, stress or other psychological disorders.

Sperm Defects
Although, symptoms associated with sperm defects cannot be experienced physically, they certainly affect the fertility in men. Certain tests should be undertaken to confirm the possibility of sperm defect in men. Absence of sperms in seminal fluid (azoospermia), low sperm count or impaired mobility of sperms are some of the common sperm defects.

Other Symptoms of Infertility
  • Weight issues in women, such as underweight or obesity, have adverse effects on the fertility of a woman.
  • Previous miscarriages drastically reduce the chances of future pregnancies.
  • Chronic illnesses, addiction to drugs or excessive alcohol consumption can impair the reproductive ability of men and women.
  • Previous exposure to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), lessens your chances of conception.
  • Cancer treatments like radiation anywhere near the genitals may affect the reproductive function in men and women.
Infertility may not be always a reason if you fail to conceive within a year of trying. The frequency of sexual act and the physical and mental condition of the partners also matter a lot. You should start looking for infertility symptoms only when you fail to conceive after a year of gratifying sex life.
By Ashwini Kulkarni Sule
Published: 3/5/2010
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