Infertility is one of those things that most don’t think about until they’re actively trying to conceive; most of our sexual health concerns are focused on trying not to get pregnant that we may never even think about whether we can get pregnant or not.
However, there are 6 early signs that you may be dealing with infertility.
While it’s normal to have irregular periods during your adolescence, experiencing them when you’re older can be a sign that you may not be ovulating normally. There are several possible reasons for having irregular periods, or for your period to unexpectedly stop, from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome to your weight, so it is necessary to speak with your doctor to make sure you can properly identify the problem.
Heavy or Painful Periods
Periods that are suddenly much heavier than normal may also be a sign that something is off. Again, there are a few possible culprits when it comes to heavy or painful menstruation, but two—uterine fibroids and endometriosis, respectively—may spell trouble when it comes to trying to conceive.
Pain During Sex
Intercourse should never be painful, and while there is nothing wrong with requiring a personal moisturizer for more comfortable sex, decreased vaginal lubrication may be a sign of dropping estrogen and perimenopause.
Excess Body Hair
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of infertility and comes with a host of effects. This condition involves an overproduction of androgens from the ovaries, and can lead to cysts, irregular periods, sudden weight gain, and an excess of dark body hair.
While hormonal acne—that is, acne you experience at around the same time every month just before your period—is fairly normal, sudden severe acne after you’ve left adolescence can be another sign that you have PCOS. There are a host of other benign reasons you may be breaking out, but with somewhere between 1/10 and 1/20 women of childbearing age experiencing PCOS, it’s worth talking to your doctor to be sure.
Thinning Hair/ Hair Loss
Female hair loss can happen for a few reasons, several of which may be related to fertility. Again, PCOS can affect hair growth, but thinning hair may also be caused by anemia or thyroid issues, which can negatively affect your ability to get pregnant.
Experiencing one, or even several, of the above symptoms does not necessarily mean that you’re infertile, however they are reason to visit your doctor even if you don’t plan on getting pregnant in the immediate future. And, even if your ability to conceive has been affected, your doctor will be able to talk you through lifestyle changes or other fertility treatment options that may be available to you.