What If Your Infertility Is Part of a Larger Health Problem?

mm   in Pregnancy - August 7, 2015

What If Your Infertility Is Part of a Larger Health Problem?

Experiencing infertility can be one of the most frustrating times in a woman’s life.  When her biological clock starts ticking, her sense of urgency can go into overdrive. If 3 months go by without the desired double line on the pregnancy test, she can begin to get worried. According to the National Institute of Health, 15% of couples can’t great pregnant even after a year of unprotected sex. American women are waiting till a later age to get pregnant. Fear of infertility is understandable, especially for a woman anxious to have her first child.

Whether you have spent many frustrating months or years trying to get pregnant or you are just beginning to consider conceiving, you need to be able to understand your menstrual cycle. This is no easy task for most people. Many women seek help deciphering the mystery of their reproductive health. A visit to the doctor is usually where many women start. The doctor may find a simple solution quickly. Yet, although a fertility problem may be as simple an issue as bad timing or a man’s low sperm count, it could also possibly indicate a female reproductive health problem that may take longer to diagnose. Diagnosis may likely require a record of a woman’s fertility pattern.

Signs to look for

There are multiple fertility signs that could indicate a reproductive health problem including:

  1. Lack of menstruation
  2. Irregular or prolonged periods
  3. Irregular ovulation or even a lack of ovulation (anovulation)
  4. Lack of or low quality cervical mucous
  5. Low estrogen
  6. Luteinizing hormone that precedes ovulation

Fertility apps with wirelessly connected monitoring devices are now being created that allow women to monitor all of the above. This makes fertility trackers more than simply “how to get pregnant” devices, it makes them important women’s health tools. Keeping track of your fertility signs is integral to understanding your reproductive and hormonal health. Yet, many women don’t know what to look for and don’t have the means or the knowledge to properly track their cycles or signs of fertility.

What your doctor wants to know

When we arrive at the doctor’s office, he or she will likely ask for a history of our individual cycle patterns. A doctor may ask, “When was your last period?”, “Are your periods regular?”, or even “How often are you ovulating”.

However, knowing only your period dates will not give the doctor a full picture of your fertility because you can still have a period and be infertile. Most women are unaware of this fact and still expect that they are ovulating monthly if they are having a monthly period. No one person is the same as any other and our cycles are all different. They even vary within an individual from month to month. If your periods seem to alternate from light to normal/heavy the next time, you may not be ovulating. The light period could be a phenomenon called “breakthrough bleeding”. This occurs when the estrogen in your body hasn’t been able to build up to the ovulation threshold that month. The lining of your uterus still sheds while your body continues to build the level of estrogen until you finally ovulate, leading either to pregnancy or a normal or heavier period.

This is where ovulation kits can be somewhat helpful. They can help you keep track of when you are actually ovulating. Unfortunately, they cannot give you any information about why you would not be ovulating regularly.

Advanced fertility apps, and their wirelessly partnered monitoring devices, can include information such as basal body temperature (bbt) and allow women to monitor their fertility hormones just as easily as taking a pregnancy test.. They are able to give more pieces to the fertility puzzle than routine ovulation predictor kits or many other fertility tracking devices and apps. As mentioned above, some fertility apps, Welltwigs for example, are app/device combos and will keep track of ovulation,  basal body temperature (bbt), and HCG (the hormone that tells you that you are pregnant)

Conditions that affect Fertility

Knowing some of these pieces of the fertility puzzle gives your doctor a much larger, clearer picture of your reproductive health. Fertility tracking apps like Welltwigs may be helpful in diagnosing many different health issues. According to the 2National Institute of Health, Here are some reproductive health conditions that can affect fertility:

  1. Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  2. Endometriosis
  3. Primary Ovary Insufficiency
  4. Uterine Fibroids

Below are some hormone related conditions that can affect fertility as well:

  1. 3Hypothalamic amenorrhea (caused by hypothyroidism) Hyperthyroidism
  2. Diabetes
  3. Cushing’s Syndrome
  4. Obesity
  5. Premature Ovarian insufficiency

Hormonal irregularities can also be caused by Benign Tumors or Cancers affecting the Glands involved in the reproductive process. These glands influence the production of or produce LH, FSH and estrogen among other hormones. They include:

  1. The Pituitary Gland – Tumors on the pituitary gland can cause, among other issues, an overproduction of the hormone prolactin, making your body think that it is pregnant and stopping ovulation.
  2. The Hypothalamus – Tumors of the hypothalamus can cause, among other problems, a lack of menstruation.
  3. The Ovaries – Ovarian tumors can cause, among several other health conditions, premature ovarian insufficiency (as mentioned above).

When tumors, whether benign or malignant, affect these glands, it can set off a cascade of hormonal problems that can affect fertility. Diagnosing fertility problems and having that special little one that you have longed for isn’t always a matter of a quick doctor visit. It can take several months to get into a fertility doctor’s office and months to years to diagnose a reproductive health concern.

Solutions do exist

Alternatively, when women educate themselves, taking advantage of newer medicinal practices and keeping track of their own fertility on a regular basis, they may very well be able to reduce the time it can take to have that precious baby they so desire. Women now have an alternative to this long, frustrating wait. They can use fertility apps to collect information from their own bodies while they are waiting to see the doctor. This can not only minimize their wait time for achieving that long-awaited pregnancy, it can do so by potentially allowing faster diagnosis of any health issues that may stand in the way.

While it may seem like a lot of complicated information to take in, mobile fertility apps, like Welltwigs, can do a lot of the thinking for you. The user need only to take their temperature, monitor cervical mucous and use the urine test strips. The app collects your body’s data and its logarithms read your body’s patterns to help you get pregnant.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/infertility.html
https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/infertility/conditioninfo/Pages/health-factors.aspx
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/female-infertility/basics/causes/con-20033618


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