Symptom

Infertility: Can It Be A Symptom Of An Underlying Condition?

The conception journey is expected to be an exciting one! However, when difficulties arise, we understand both the physical and emotional toll they can take. It’s important to know you’re not alone: the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that the distressing struggle with infertility impacts millions of men and women worldwide. 

The inability to conceive is a multifaceted issue that can be influenced by various factors and can also be a symptom of an underlying medical condition. If you’re experiencing problems conceiving for any reason, including dealing with a chronic illness or other health issues, we hope to provide you with helpful knowledge and guidance on this intricate and sensitive topic.

This article serves as a comprehensive guide on infertility, where we’ll explore its complexities in both males and females, discuss the potential underlying conditions, and shed light on how medical professionals go about diagnosing it. 

Most importantly, we’ll discuss the various medical and surgical treatment options that may help manage infertility, whether a direct concern or a symptom of an underlying condition.

Additionally, we will discover how Neurofunctional Pain Management is revolutionizing the way we tackle the pain and inflammation associated with common causes of infertility, like endometriosis. It’s a ray of hope for those seeking practical, long-lasting symptom relief from their chronic pain condition without the use of harsh pharmaceuticals or invasive procedures. 

Before we get into the causes of infertility, let’s begin by clarifying its definitions and exploring some of the key symptoms commonly seen in both men and women.

Primary Vs Secondary Infertility

Did you know that infertility can manifest in two different ways? There is primary infertility and secondary infertility. So what’s the difference?

  • Primary infertility: This form of infertility affects those who have never been able to conceive despite regular, unprotected sexual intercourse. Usually, diagnosis occurs after 12 months of attempting conception. 
  • Secondary infertility: Occurs when individuals have previously achieved at least one successful pregnancy but now face challenges conceiving again after 12 months of trying. 

Understanding these two distinctions will help you and your doctor better identify the underlying reason for your infertility issues and seek the most effective therapy. 

It’s important to note that infertility is not solely a women’s issue: men can experience it as well. In the next sections, we’ll explore some of the accompanying symptoms and possible medical conditions that can lead to infertility for both genders.

 

Associated Symptoms In Women Facing Infertility 

In females, many symptoms can serve as indicators of an underlying condition affecting their fertility. One of the challenges women often face is the misconception that some of these symptoms are attributed to “normal hormonal changes” or “side effects of hormonal medications like birth control.”

Because of this view, symptoms such as the ones below may occasionally go unaddressed.

Menstrual Irregularities

Menstrual irregularities are not uncommon for many women. Stress, diet, and hormonal contraception are just a few factors that may alter the length of your regular cycle. 

However, menstrual irregularities, or anything outside of the normal 28-29 day cycle, could indicate a deeper problem that may also contribute to infertility. Conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and uterine fibroids are known to lead to such irregularities.

Painful Or Abnormal Periods

Many women also endure symptoms of painful or unusual periods. These can include intense uterine cramping, a painful vulva, or irregular bleeding patterns from month to month. These signs and symptoms are frequently linked to conditions like endometriosis, which can go on to hinder fertility.

Changes In Hormonal Balance 

Hormone imbalances can interfere with the many complex reproductive processes, making it challenging to conceive. 

For instance, anovulation, which accounts for over 30% of female infertility, occurs when the ovaries fail to release an egg during ovulation due to imbalanced hormones. The primary symptom of anovulation is irregular periods, where months may pass between menstruations.

Painful Intercourse 

Pain during intercourse is medically known as dyspareunia and is another symptom that can be associated with conditions that impair fertility. While painful intercourse can be a barrier to conception in and of itself, it is also a known indication of chronic conditions such as uterine fibroids and endometriosis. 

It is crucial that women who are experiencing any of these symptoms seek a comprehensive medical assessment. Book an appointment with your doctor to ensure that you can rule out any underlying medical conditions that could be impacting your fertility.

 

 

Associated Symptoms in Men Facing Infertility

Infertility in men can be more difficult to diagnose because there aren’t always obvious signs. This means many men may not know they have fertility issues until they are actively struggling to conceive. However, the warning signs below should be taken seriously, as they can be brought on by various medical issues that affect fertility.

Erectile and Ejaculation Dysfunction 

Erectile dysfunction and problems having complete ejaculation are both common indications that something is wrong and may be interfering with contraception. These symptoms could be a sign of hormonal imbalances, structural concerns such as irregular growths, or even innate stress causing impairment.

Changes In Libido And Performance 

In most cases, low libido is a temporary issue that can be improved once external factors are addressed, such as stress or relationship problems. However, a reduction in the hormone testosterone may contribute to a man’s low sex drive, potentially accompanied by fatigue and reduced sexual performance. 

The production of sperm relies heavily on normal testosterone levels, and fertility may suffer if these levels drop.

Testicular Problems And Their Impact On Fertility 

Conditions that impact the testicles, such as infections, structural abnormalities, growths, or injuries, have the potential to affect male fertility significantly. Many delicate parameters, including temperature regulation, proper blood flow, and normal hormone production, must be met to promote the optimal production of healthy sperm. 

Just as it is for women, it is important for men who have any untoward symptoms to get a thorough medical evaluation. Take a trip to the doctor to ensure that you can rule out any underlying medical concerns that may negatively impact your fertility. After all, it takes two to tango.

Now, let’s go on to familiarize ourselves with the medical issues that are related to these troubling symptoms in both men and women, as well as how they may impair fertility.

Conditions Associated With Female Infertility

There are a variety of medical conditions that can influence a female’s fertility. And while they commonly involve gynecological conditions, it’s important to acknowledge that other health conditions may also influence fertility concerns. 

Here, we’ll go over the specifics of the most prevalent medical conditions of the female reproductive system.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

According to WHO, PCOS affects millions of women worldwide and is associated with a variety of long-term health problems, such as infertility. PCOS is characterized by the presence of small, fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries, known as cysts, that can cause irregular periods, inadequate ovulation, and hormonal imbalances. 

Egg fertilization is one of the main concerns in women with PCOS who struggle with infertility. The effects of this troubling condition often lead to many symptoms that impact a woman’s physical and emotional well-being.

Uterine Fibroids

These are noncancerous growths that develop in the muscular layer of the uterus wall. Fibroids are suspected to impact approximately 80% of females at some point in their lifetimes. However, not all women will experience symptoms, which can include heavy menstrual bleeding, increased pain, or sensations of pressure in the pelvis. 

In particular, problems with conception may arise if the fibrous growths impede on the uterine cavity or fallopian tubes, blocking the passage or implantation of eggs.

 

Conditions Associated With Male Infertility

Male infertility can also be linked to a range of underlying medical conditions. Just like in women, these conditions may or may not influence the reproductive organs. The medical conditions below can impact the male reproductive system and, in turn, can lead to difficulties in conception:

Varicocele

Did you know that the temperature of the testes is typically five degrees cooler than the rest of the body? Varicocele is a condition characterized by an enlargement of the veins within the scrotum, causing testicular temperature to rise. This testicular overheating can lower sperm production, quality, and movement. It is a condition that affects approximately 15 out of 100 men.

Hormonal Disorders

Conditions like hypogonadism or pituitary gland disorders can disrupt the delicate hormonal balance required for optimal fertility. Fluctuations in the normal level of hormones such as testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) can lead to reduced sperm count and poor sperm functionality.

Testicular Trauma 

Sustaining significant trauma to both testes at some point in a male’s reproductive lifespan can negatively impact the ability to produce optimal testosterone levels and well-functioning sperm. This is not generally caused by a nasty hit to the testicles. 

It is more often associated with big incidents that cause irreparable damage to all testicular tissue, such as traumatic accidents, work injuries, severe sport-related traumas, or trauma that leads to significant infections. Sadly, the symptoms of testicular damage can cause a wide range of problems with a man’s physical and mental health.

 

Does Endometriosis Cause Infertility? 

Endometriosis is a complex condition known for causing women significant pain and inflammation. If you have endometriosis, you may experience difficulty conceiving for several reasons. 

Neuragenex offers innovative techniques to effectively address the discomforts associated with endometriosis. Our aim is to break the damaging cycle of pain and inflammation to improve the many associated symptoms of this debilitating condition. 

For more information about endometriosis and how Neuragenex manages its pain, please visit our dedicated endometriosis blog.

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When To Seek Medical Attention 

It’s critical for those dealing with infertility to know when to get medical help. Here are some critical indications to help you determine when it’s time to visit a healthcare professional about your fertility and discuss your concerns about potential underlying conditions.

For women:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles or the absence of menstruation
  • Painful or unusually heavy periods
  • Pain or discomfort during intercourse
  • Known or familial conditions such as PCOS or endometriosis
  • Multiple miscarriages or difficulty carrying a pregnancy to full term
  • History of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

For men:

  • Changes in libido or erectile and ejaculation dysfunction
  • Pain or discomfort in the testicles
  • Known conditions like varicocele or previous severe testicular trauma
  • Previous surgeries on the groin or reproductive organs
  • History of infections that have affected the reproductive system
  • Concerns about the quantity, quality, or motility of sperm

It’s important to keep in mind that the situations mentioned here are instances when clear signs call for further medical evaluation and care. However, some individuals may not experience symptoms or have any apparent reasons to seek medical attention regarding their fertility until they face challenges in conceiving. 

While this may lead to a delayed diagnosis, it’s crucial to understand that it can be an unavoidable part of the conception journey, and it’s absolutely not your fault.

 

 

Fertility Tests And Evaluations

Here’s an overview of some fertility tests and evaluations a doctor may prescribe for both men and women:

For women:

  • Hormone tests: To assess levels of hormones like FSH, LH, estrogen, and testosterone to evaluate ovarian function and egg quality
  • Ultrasound: This examines the ovaries and uterus for structural abnormalities, like ovarian cysts or uterine fibroids. Both an external and internal ultrasound of the vagina may be performed.
  • Hysterosalpingography (HSG): Checking the fallopian tubes and uterus for blockages or abnormalities using contrast material and X-rays
  • Laparoscopy: A surgical procedure to directly visualize and potentially remove abnormal growths from conditions like endometriosis or pelvic adhesions

For men:

  • Semen analysis: Evaluates the sperm count, motility, morphology, and other factors to assess overall sperm quality
  • Hormone tests: Hormone tests assess levels of testosterone, LH, and FSH to identify hormonal imbalances
  • Scrotal ultrasound: Examines the physical structure of the testicles and scrotum, assessing for abnormalities, such as varicoceles or masses
  • Genetic testing: Rules out potential genetic factors that may impact sperm production and quality
  • Testicular biopsy: A procedure used to examine the testicular tissue and assess its functionality

By identifying probable reasons for infertility in both men and women, these tests and examinations can assist in determining the best course of therapy.

Common Treatment Options For Infertility

There are numerous treatment options currently available to address the challenges of infertility. Here, we’ll go on to provide insights into each of these conventional therapies and when in the conception journey they might be utilized.

Hormone Therapy

Hormone therapy is a first-line treatment for an identified hormonal imbalance associated with infertility. Both men and women can benefit from hormone therapy since maintaining the appropriate hormone levels is crucial for reproductive health in both sexes. Hormonal-based treatments aim to re-regulate levels back to normal and enhance the chances of conception.

Ovulation Induction

The process of ovulation induction is used to promote the release of a woman’s eggs, with the aim of increasing the chance of conception. Special medications are used to stimulate ovulation and are typically used after or in conjunction with hormone-based therapies.

Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Assisted reproductive technologies may be suggested if all previous treatments have been unsuccessful. These technologies encompass advanced procedures designed to address and facilitate all aspects of contraception in order to encourage a successful pregnancy.

  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): IUI is a procedure that involves the direct placement of sperm inside the uterus using medical tools to facilitate fertilization.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF): IVF is a comprehensive process where eggs and sperm are combined outside the body and then artificially implanted into the womb.

Endometrial Scratching

Endometrial scratching is a relatively new technique that aims to improve the chances of embryo implantation. The treatment entails “scratching” the womb lining in the expectation that hormones and chemicals will be released to optimize the uterine environment for fertilization and implantation. 

Depending on the underlying cause of decreased fertility, this process may be used on its own or as an adjunct therapy with most other treatment options.

The Neurofunctional Pain Management Protocol

Neuragenex specializes in groundbreaking Neurofunctional Pain Management (NFPM) techniques, offering effective relief for challenging symptoms of various medical conditions. 

We focus on individualized care with therapies that are specially designed to address pain and inflammation, which are common in disorders that might affect fertility, such as endometriosis. Our non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical methods feature innovative therapies such as:

Electroanalgesia

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IV Therapy

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Lifestyle Counseling

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Take Control Of Your Reproductive Health

Fertility and contraception are complex issues that can be associated with a multitude of underlying causes and factors for both men and women. When you gain valuable insights into these causes and their commonly presented symptoms, and explore available treatment options, you can better understand your own reproductive health and fertility journey.

We encourage you to take your symptoms or fertility concerns seriously and seek the necessary professional medical evaluation. With an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management, you could find options that improve your overall well-being and encourage you to embark on a path toward parenthood with renewed hope and confidence.

Remember, your reproductive health is valuable; don’t let medical conditions hold you back from optimizing your fertility. Contact Neuragenex to learn how they may help alleviate the pain and inflammation associated with conditions that could lead to fertility challenges.

Prioritize your reproductive health.

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