Infertility

caring couple dealing with infertility.

Pregnacy test.

When a couple is unable to achieve pregnancy over the course of a 12 month period of regular unprotected sexual intercourse, the condition is referred to as infertility.  Clinically, infertility may be diagnosed when either the male, female or both reproductive systems fail to achieve pregnancy.

Symptoms  

The most obvious and main symptom of infertility is the inability to become pregnant and in most cases, there are no additional symptoms.

In some occasions, women with infertility may not have menstrual periods and men may have hormonal problems which can be observed by abnormal hair growth or sexual function.

Causes

There are a variety of causes of infertility thus it may be difficult to determine the exact cause.  In many cases, the cause may include inadequate levels of hormones in either the male or female partner which is why our endocrine specialists at Rocky Mountain Diabetes can be helpful in the diagnosis and treatment if infertility.

The following chart outlines other potential causes of infertility.

Male Infertility Causes

  • Abnormal sperm mobility/function
  • Low sperm production
  • Medications/ cancer treatments
  • Overexposure (pesticides, smoke, alcohol)
  • Sexual problems (ejaculation disorder)
  • Testicle abnormalities (blockage or injury) 
  • Underlying health problems (like diabetes)

Female Infirmity Causes

  • Early menopause
  • Endometriosis 
  • Fallopian tube blockage/damage
  • Medications/ cancer treatments
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Pelvic adhesions
  • Uterine or cervical abnormalities

Once the underlying cause is determined, treatment options can be discussed with your doctor.  

Risk Factors

The following factors increase the risk of infertility in both men and women:

  • Age
  • Anabolic steroid use
  • Chemotherapy
  • Diet issues or eating disorders
  • Illegal drug use
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Exposure to chemicals like pesticides
  • Extreme exercise
  • Mental stress
  • Smoking tobacco or marijuana
  • Sulfasalazine anti-inflammatory drug use
  • Weight issues (over or underweight)

Understanding these risk factors, and avoiding all that can be avoided, may improve the possibility of conception.

Diagnosis 

The most common way to diagnose infertility is through an infertility checkup which includes a physical exam for each partner.  Each partner’s health and sexual histories will be reviewed and additional tests will likely follow.

Our providers will test the man’s semen to review the number, shape and movement of the sperm.  For women, ovulation tracking will commence and a home ovulation test kit may also be ordered to document various physical conditions like body temperature and cervical mucus inspection noting appearance, color and texture.

Additional blood tests will also be ordered to assess hormone levels and potential hormone irregularities.

Treatmentcouple meeting with a doctor.

The good news is that most couples will eventually conceive even without treatment.  To increase the chance of pregnancies, couples are encouraged to have regular sexual intercourse several times around the time of ovulation.  Timing intercourse to begin at least five days prior to and until a day after ovulation will also improve the possibility of conception.

When treatment is deemed necessary, there are many safe and effective treatments that significantly improve the probability of becoming pregnant.  Once the cause of infertility has been determined, your doctor will prescribe appropriate treatment which may include medication, surgical procedures or psychological care.

Endocrinology Specialists

The doctors at Rocky Mountain Diabetes Center are endocrinology experts and highly trained to identify and effectively treat infertility.

If you or someone you love is experiencing any of the symptoms or conditions above, call Rocky Mountain Diabetes for an appointment or fill out the form below.

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