a woman holding a pregnancy test and wondering if she is pregnant

Many couples become pregnant within the first 3 months of trying, and for many women, the biggest indicator of infertility is if you are not pregnant after a year. However, there are a few early warning signs that indicate that you may have an underlying condition that can cause infertility. South Jersey Fertility Center works with many patients who are dealing with infertility, so read on to learn more about early signs that suggest that you may have an issue with fertility.

Irregular Periods

For many women, it is completely normal to start your period a few days early or late. For example, a woman may have a 28-day cycle, but her next period may arrive 35 days later. When a woman’s cycle is so irregular that she cannot even predict when her next period will be, this may be a sign of a hormone imbalance or endometriosis. Both of these conditions contribute to infertility. Irregular periods may also be a sign that you are not ovulating. In a normal menstrual cycle, the ovaries release an egg and stimulate the production of the hormone progesterone, which is responsible for keeping periods regular. When an egg is not released, an insufficient amount of progesterone is produced, which can cause irregular periods.

Heavy and Painful Periods

Aside from irregular cycles, a woman’s period suddenly changing and becoming heavier than usual is also a sign of infertility. The lack of progesterone that causes irregular periods also causes extremely heavy flows. Menorrhagia (heavy period flow) and other instances of abnormal uterine bleeding, such as spotting in between periods and during sex, can be a sign of a deeper problem other than infertility and should be addressed with your gynecologist.

Dysmenorrhea, or extremely painful periods, can also be a sign that something may be wrong. If you suddenly feel extreme menstrual cramping that is more severe than what you normally experience, it may signify endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), all of which contribute to infertility.

Chronic Vaginal Infections

Vaginal infections are more common than you think – according to Harvard Medical School, yeast infections affect 75% of women at some point during their lifetime. However, if you find yourself frequently getting yeast infections, urinary tract infections, or bacterial vaginosis, this is a definite sign that your vaginal microbiome is off-balance, which can prevent the fertilization of eggs. Before you begin trying to conceive, it is a good idea to get tested for any undiagnosed problems or illnesses.

Hormone Imbalance

Hormones have the powerful ability to govern and control many aspects of the human body – including the ability to become pregnant. A serious hormone imbalance can have many symptoms aside from an irregular menstrual cycle. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is the most common hormonal disorder, and often presents with a variety of symptoms. If you experience a decreased or nonexistent sex drive, worsening acne that won’t go away, sudden weight gain, or facial hair growth, you may have a hormonal imbalance. However, it is important to note that all women are different, and these symptoms should only be a cause of concern if they are new or worsening.

Get an Infertility Consultation in New Jersey

If you or your partner are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with South Jersey Fertility Center to discuss and address your concerns. South Jersey Fertility Center offers comprehensive fertility testing and therapy in New Jersey, and we are proud to be the only multi-physician practice in South Jersey where all specialists are board-certified in infertility. We take all of your concerns and symptoms into account when creating the best fertility plan for you, and we offer a variety of services aimed towards making your dreams of starting a family come true. Contact us today to schedule a visit, or to ask any questions you may have about the early signs of infertility.