Female Fertility Overview: Common Symptoms
While there are many factors to consider when it comes to the cause of infertility in women, some physical symptoms are associated with conditions that may affect female fertility. While in many cases, no symptoms of infertility are apparent, there are some common signs that may indicate a fertility issue affecting reproductive health. The following are some common fertility symptoms that may indicate an underlying reproductive health issue affecting a couple’s chances of getting pregnant.
Irregular menstruation or disruptions in the menstrual cycle are among the most common symptoms that may indicate an underlying fertility problem. These symptoms may indicate a variety of fertility conditions including those associated with ovulatory complications:
- absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)
- infrequent or light menstruation (oligomenorrhea)
- excessive bleeding
- erratic basal body temperature (BBT)
- reduction or absence of PMS symptoms
- unpredictable periods
- periods that are more than 35 days apart
- less than 9 periods per year
Some of these symptoms may be a sign of anovulation, in which a woman continues to menstruate but ovulation does not occur and an egg is not produced or released.
Menstruation and Infertility
Experiencing the symptoms of irregular menstruation could be a sign of one of the following fertility complications:
- hyperprolactinemia (high prolactin hormone levels)
- polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
- premature ovarian failure (POF)
- birth defects affecting reproductive organs
- fibroid tumour
- uterine damage
Hormones and Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalance is one condition that may be associated with an underlying infertility problem. The following physical symptoms may indicate that the levels of hormones in the body are abnormal:
- oily skin
- excessive hair growth that is not genetic
- unexplained, chronic acne
In addition, irregular basal body temperatures (BBT) that fluctuates in accordance to the menstrual cycle, could indicate a fertility complication that may require diagnosis.
Frequent infections of the female reproductive system can indicate an underlying female infertility problem. This is particularly true if the infections go untreated, as these can lead to further complications that may cause infertility. Infections affecting the reproductive system include frequent yeast infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs), and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as Chlamydia.
Physical Pain and Health Complications
Experiencing pain in the reproductive system can be a sign of infertility. This includes painful intercourse, which may be a sign of endometriosis or fibroid tumors. Experiencing lower abdominal pain or pelvic pain could be a sign of endometriosis, fibroid tumors, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine damage or uterine and vaginal birth defects.
A bulge in the abdomen can also be a sign of fibroid tumors. Suffering from a hernia can also affect fertility and may be signaled by bulging, pain, pressure or a burning sensation in the abdomen.
It is also important to take note of any fever that is experienced, as this may be linked with pelvic inflammatory disease or a urinary tract infection. In addition, fluctuations in weight or maintaining unhealthy weight (whether underweight or overweight) can lead to infertility and disruptions in menstruation.