For many women, infertility can be a scary and confusing concept. Whether you’re hoping to start a family soon or are just curious about what factors could impact your reproductive health in the future, it’s important to understand which risks can increase your chances of experiencing difficulty when trying to conceive.
While this can cause plenty of understandable anxiety, know that you are not alone. Many women struggle with infertility, but this does not mean that treatment is not available to help increase your chances of conceiving successfully.
Today, we’re going to highlight some infertility risk factors and also some signs that you may want to seek help from your doctor. Let’s begin by diving into some common risks that you should be aware of.
Common Risk Factors for Infertility
Over 35 Years of Age
As women get older, fertility naturally begins to decline. Women aged 35 and over have a significantly higher risk of experiencing difficulties conceiving, with the chance of conception declining a full 1 percent for every year beyond age 35.
This is due, in part, to hormonal changes that occur in the body during this time which can lead to fewer eggs being released from the ovaries. Additionally, evidence suggests that women’s eggs tend to deteriorate more quickly as they age, making it harder for them to attach to the uterus and become an embryo.
While some women are able to conceive into their 40s, this is an exception to the norm. In most cases, medical intervention is recommended to help women over 35 conceive successfully.
Both smoking and drinking are known to reduce a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. Smoking decreases the production of female hormones responsible for maintaining healthy ovulation cycles, which affects the fertility window for conception. Additionally, it is thought that consuming alcohol in excess can decrease ovarian function, leading to fewer eggs being released from a woman’s ovaries each month.
Thirdly, obesity can also negatively affect the chances of conception. Obesity can create hormonal issues, leading to ovulation problems, infertility, and a decrease in the overall health of reproductive organs. Obesity also puts an additional strain on the heart and cardiovascular system of a pregnant woman, influencing their risk for pregnancy-contraceptive issues like preeclampsia, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
With some lifestyle adjustments, such as quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and losing weight while trying to conceive, could help increase the chances of conception. Ultimately, many healthcare professionals would advise prospective mothers-to-be to plan ahead: quit smoking, cut down on drinking, and create an optimal environment for conception in order to maximize their chances of having a healthy baby.
There are many types of medical conditions that can impede a woman’s chances of conceiving. Someone could experience one or more that could impact their fertility.
Endometriosis, fibroids, physical anatomies such as blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, and ovarian cysts are among the most common issues that can pose a challenge for women who want to conceive. Other conditions, such as hormonal imbalances and age-related infertility, also play a role in a woman’s ability to get pregnant.
Fortunately, many modern treatments can help increase a woman’s chances of conceiving, even if one or more of these conditions are present. However, if you’re having difficulties conceiving due to a medical condition, it is best to consult your doctor so they can create an individualized treatment plan catered to your specific situation.
When Should You See a Doctor?
If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for more than 12 months without any success (or 6 months if you’re over 35), it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor or specialist. They can help diagnose any potential underlying causes of infertility and discuss treatment options with you—including medications and lifestyle changes that could improve your chances of becoming pregnant.
Remember that, if you do see a doctor, this does not guarantee that something is wrong. Some reproductively healthy people can also struggle to conceive. Having an examination can help to put your mind at ease and also assist your doctor with determining how to best help you reach your goals.
Get Help with Infertility in Idaho Falls
Concerns over infertility can feel isolating and impact your quality of life. Thankfully, you do not have to continue enduring these concerns alone.
At OBGYN Associates of Idaho Falls, we strive to provide the most complete, comprehensive, and compassionate women’s healthcare possible. Whether you are planning to grow your family in the near future, are concerned about infertility, or are currently expecting, we are here to help you.