Thinking About Infertility Long Before It’s Baby Time
When a woman thinks ahead to one day meeting Mr. Right and becoming a mother, that exciting vision doesn’t likely include the possibility of infertility. As wonderful as it is to dream of being a mom, it’s unrealistic to think that it’s just something that you should be able to just wake up one day and decide to do just like that. Simply turning to your partner and saying, “Let’s make a baby today!” may be a romantic dream but it isn’t realistic, not in this day and age.
Women who want to be mothers one day would be smart to consider their fertility and reproductive health long before Mr. Right ever turns up! Being fertile isn’t just a given like so many of us still think it is. As unromantic or heartbreaking as the thought of infertility is, you need to be realistic and realize that it is a possibility. Women need to start by finding out the causes of infertility and treat them sooner rather than later.
Let’s have a look at infertility causes in women that need to be considered long before you’re even ready to start trying to get pregnant.
Possible Infertility Causes
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: PCOS tops the list because it is something that can start to affect you almost as soon as you ever get your first period. PCOS is a condition that still has doctors somewhat baffled because there is no known cause or cure for it. The condition got its name from the many little cysts found on the ovaries of the women who have it, but in recent years it has come to light that many women can have most of the symptoms of PCOS without the token cysts! This condition isn’t just one problem but rather a myriad of issues all combined. These can include irregular periods or no periods at all, weight gain and obesity, excess hair, male pattern baldness, severe cramping and irregular bleeding. Girls as young as 13 suffer from these symptoms yet few ever bother to see a doctor about it. Without persistence, PCOS often goes untreated until infertility is a problem and a woman is having trouble getting pregnant.
Endometriosis: This is a painful condition that affects approximately 15 percent of women in their reproductive ages. During a period the endometrial lining of the uterus is shed through our vaginas, but for those with endometriosis some of that lining grows outside of the uterus and doesn’t leave the body during the period. With each period the blood in that leftover lining causes cysts and scaring as well as a thickening of the lining. These are all infertility causes and need to be treated, often with surgery. Again the signs are often there as early as in your teens but the heavy cramping and irregular bleeding are often brushed off as a ‘bad period’.
STDs: This is the most surprising of infertility causes. HPV, for instance, causes damage to the cervix and puts women at high risk of developing cervical cancer and often causes no symptoms. Just as startling is the fact that 80 percent of sexually active women have a strain of HPV! Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are also common sexually transmitted diseases that often cause no symptoms leaving them untreated, which can cause infertility in both men and women. They are also not seen as the ‘big deal’ that they are because they are treated with a round of antibiotics leaving people to think that it’s over and done with—until they try to conceive that is.
Connect with other women about infertility, its causes and its emotions, in our womens-health forum.