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While getting pregnant can sometimes take a little time, lengths of time greater than one year may indicate fertility problems. While infertility is typically associated with difficulty getting pregnant, those who are unable to reliably carry a pregnancy to term may also be infertile. According to the CDC, in the United States alone, 6.1 million women between the ages of 15 and 64 experience difficulties conceiving or carrying their children to term.

Why am I struggling with infertility?

There are many reasons that you may be experiencing infertility, but the most common reason is problems with ovulation. If you are not ovulating, it will be impossible to get pregnant as there will be no egg to impregnate. The most common sign that you’re experiencing ovulation issues is absent or irregular menstrual periods. Known causes of problems with ovulation are:

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – An imbalance in hormones that impedes normal ovulation.
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI) – When the ovaries cease operating normally prior to age 40. POI is a different condition than early menopause.
  • Blocked Fallopian Tubes – Often the result of endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, or surgery to address an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Uterine Fibroids – Growth of muscular tumors within the uterine walls.

What can increase my risk of experiencing infertility?

In addition to the above medical concerns, there are a host of issues that can increase the likelihood that you’ll experience issues with infertility. These conditions are often lifestyle-related, including:

  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Athletic training
  • Malnutrition
  • Smoking
  • Being obese or excessively thin
  • Sexually Transmitted Infections

Being careful to get proper nutrition and lifestyle choices can help alleviate many of these concerns. Speak to your practitioner if you’d like help addressing these or other concerns that may be causing additional concerns with infertility.

When is it time to speak to my doctor about infertility?

Women under 35 should speak to their physician after a year or more of trying to get pregnant. Women who are over 35 should begin exploring the possibility of infertility after six months. Every year a woman ages past 30 drastically reduces the likelihood they’ll be able to get pregnant. There are a number of medical concerns that can increase the chance that you’ll experience infertility, and consulting your physician is advised if you have:

  • Periods that are irregular or absent
  • Excessively painful periods
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Experienced multiple miscarriages
  • Endometriosis

In general, it’s advisable to speak to your physician prior to attempting to become pregnant even if you are in otherwise perfect health. They can provide guidance on preparing to have a healthy pregnancy and give you tips on improving your chances of conceiving.

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