If you’re having trouble getting pregnant, you’re not alone. Around 12 to 13 percent of couples in the U.S. experience infertility issues. That number jumps to 17 percent worldwide. While it may be difficult to detect infertility symptoms outright, here are some signs that may point to fertility issues:
- Irregular periods: The average woman’s cycle is about 28 days long. However, if the cycle lasts from 21 to 35 days, it’s still considered normal, as long it is consistent. With irregular periods, the cycle is so unpredictable that it’s impossible to know when the next one will come. This is caused by hormonal issues like thyroid hypo- or hyperfunction, hyperprolactinemia, or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) — all of which can lead to infertility.
- Absence of periods: Temporary life stress or overexercising may cause you to occasionally skip a period. However, if you haven’t had your period in months, it might be a good idea to seek medical advice.
- Heavy and/or painful periods: Periods that hamper your daily activity may be a symptom of fibroids in the uterus or endometriosis. In fact, endometriosis accounts for roughly 20 to 40 percent of women’s infertility issues.
- Pain during sex: Painful sex for women is so normalized that many think it’s just a part of life. But it may actually point to an underlying condition, such as endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Symptoms of hormonal imbalance: Sudden weight gain, hair loss, constant fatigue, edema, headaches, nipple discharge, facial hair, or severe acne are all signs of possible hormonal disorders. These conditions, in which the body’s hormones are imbalanced, make conceiving more difficult.
- Vaginal soreness and/or itchiness: Soreness or itchiness, especially in combination with discharge, could mean a vaginal infection. If left untreated, infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea, and mycoplasma can eventually lead to infertility.